Ryman League Division One South
Tuesday 28th October 2014
King George's Arena
Report by Darren Pasley
Corinthian Casuals ended their recent run of poor results as they turned in a solid display to beat an ever-improving Hastings United.
On paper it looked a tough prospect with an out of sorts home side coming up against a Hastings side unbeaten in the league under new manager Dominic Di Paola recently recruited from East Preston.
With injuries and suspensions still playing a key part Matt Howard was once again forced to shuffle his pack with Lee Hall filling in at right back. Young defender Dan Bedford retained his place and there was a first start for Jake Gill. Carl Wilson-Denis also made a rare mid-week appearance.
On a pleasantly mild late October evening Jamie Byatt had the games first effort in the 3rd minute when he wriggled free of veteran centre back Marc Pullen and fired off a shot from 20 yards that was gathered low down by Josh Pelling.
The first real chance of the match arrived after 9 minutes when Bettache turned neatly on the right hand touchline and swung a delightful cross-field pass that eluded covering defender Richard Rose. Dave Hodges arrived before Pelling on the edge of the area but his heavy touch lifted the ball over the bar.
The visitor’s first opening came after a quarter of an hour when Archibald outfoxed Vidal down the right and cut back for Taser Hassan who blazed over with his left foot from 15 yards.
Both sides continued to keep the ball well in what was an absorbing contest. Byatt next to go close but he headed Hodges cross wide.
Hastings continued to offer a threat going forward and Sam Adams played in Evan Archibald whose low shot was superbly tipped round the post by Danny Bracken.
The games opening and ultimately deciding goal arrived in the 36th minute and in truth it was one worthy to win any match. Bettache volleying the ball back into the box saw Byatt superbly bring the ball under control. He showed great composure to turn and play in a reverse pass to Hodges who appeared round the back of his marker. From the byline the left-wingers low cutback was met by Wilson-Denis who arrived before his marker to poke home into the roof of the net from close range. It was a wonderfully crafted goal.
Leading at the break is not a position Casuals have found themselves in too many times this season. The U’s set a good tempo to the second half but the home side continued to work as hard shutting down the supply and defending from the front.
Young centre back Dan Bedford so impressive came close to doubling the lead after an hour when he connected with Bettache's cross from the left but his header was just wide of Pelling’s right hand post.
Danny Bracken so commanding throughout was called into serious action for the first time in the half after 71 minutes when he scooped down low to collect captain Sam Adams low drive from the edge of the box.
For all their possession the visitors were struggling to break down an organised home defence. When they did breach the defence in the 75th minute Bracken was out to palm away Archibald’s effort after being chipped in by Adams.
With 10 minutes remaining Jamie Byatt went close to wrapping up the points when after exchanging passes with Hodges and Wilson-Dennis his fiercely struck left footed effort was brilliant turned away by Pelling at full stretch.
With the home side standing firm there was to be no way more clear cut chances for the visitors although on 82 minutes substitutive Sam Cruttwell saw his deep left wing cross hit Brackens upright before bouncing clear.
Casuals held to record their first clean sheet since the 1-0 win at Carshalton on the 9th September.
After the match a delighted Matt Howard spoke to Stuart Tree
“I needed that win personally after the run that we’d been on. The team worked their socks off tonight. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them.
“Every single one of the lads gave everything they had. On another day, we’d have probably scored another couple of goals. It’s very pleasing to keep a clean sheet too.
“They’re over the moon in the changing room. That meant a lot to them, but as I said, for me personally, I needed the win because you end up questioning yourself a little. “Is this right? Am I doing this right or wrong?”
“As a management team, the win was a blessing.
“We had changes forced upon us. The injury list is growing. With Niall Wright, Danny Dudley, Reece Placid, Jason Turley all out and Danny Green not available tonight but the boys that come in put a real shift in. I thought Jake Gill was outstanding.
“Luke Garrard and I said before the game that if they put the effort in, the rewards will come. We’ve got 27 points from 17 games and sit 7th in the league. That’s not a fluke or luck. If you’re prepared to work, you’ll get the pay off.
“I think we deserved that tonight. Hastings had a lot of the ball but Danny Bracken has made one great save in the first half, but other than that, he hasn’t been troubled all night. He marshaled his defence well and hasn’t had to make a save.”