Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 1st October 2016
Match report and photos: Stuart Tree (full set of pics here)
Corinthian-Casuals Boss James Bracken rued his side's missed chances as a solitary Herne Bay strike separated the two sides in the Ryman League Division One South.
Casuals hadn't drawn a blank in 27 games in all competitions. Despite key striker Shaun Okojie failing a late fitness test and in-form Shaun Brown unavailable, Bracken was still confident of getting a result against a side that sat nineteen places lower in the table.
With Warren Morgan also not available, Kojo Apenteng filled in at right-back, with Jack Strange and Niall Wright cementing their centre-back partnership that had seen two clean sheets in two games. The hosts were without key man Sam Hasler through suspension.
Casuals, looking to repeat their 1-0 win at Winch's Field last season, started the brighter of the two sides and began to craft chances. Maz Bettache's cross found Jamie Byatt ten yards out and his looping header was cleared off the line by a Bay defender. Less than a minute later, Jack Strange's powerful nod flew just over the bar.
Despite turning 35 a few weeks ago, Byatt continued to dog the defence and Jack Delo in goal saved well from the striker following a searching pass from Brandon Johnson. Delo was to deny Byatt again, coming out to claim well. The two Joshes combined to create an excellent chance. Gallagher, who's penetrating passes were excellent all afternoon, found Uzun on the left and the winger's strike narrowly passed the far post. The chances kept on coming; a parried shot by Delo led to a scramble in the six yard box with Gallagher and Byatt having real chances.
After the break, Bay looked to get into the game more and looked far more assertive than they had in the first half. Despite this, the Amateurs continued to push forward and more chances went begging after Bettache failed to convert a Byatt cross from ten yards out.
If it had felt like it was going to be 'one of those days' for the visitors, those thoughts were cemented when Juevan Spencer, picked out by Gallagher, found himself in a prime position to put his side ahead, yet dragged his shot past the near post when it seemed easier to score. A vital miss.
The inevitable happened; Herne Bay probed more and more, using the wide men to deliver dangerous crosses. First, the header that caused those in attendance to gasp as it whistled just over Danny Bracken's crossbar. Then the knock-out punch...with little over ten minutes remaining, Mark Lovell on the right, found Adam Woolcott who's shot was smashed in via the back post. It was Bay's only shot on target for the whole match but one that counted the most.
Casuals continued to get something out of the game but late chances for substitute Kevant Serbony and Maz Bettache failed to level the game and Casuals came up short for the first time since early March. Despite dominating most of the possession and creating the better chances, it's goals that win games and Herne Bay's one trumps Casuals' nil.
“We just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. That sums it up really,” said Bracken after the match.
“Their goalkeeper has got man of the match and rightfully so. But we've missed crucial chances at pivotal points in the game.
“I thought we were good with the ball throughout the ninety minutes. Defensively we looked good and limited them to one shot on target for the whole game, which unfortunately for us, went in.
“We're disappointed, but not with the performance... only the result.
“We have to remember that these boys aren't professional footballers and sometimes they're going to miss their chances. It's not a problem though. We'll come back next game and if we create the same amount of chances, we'll probably score two or three and win comfortably.
“So there's been no problems with the lads today. In previous games, we've had a lot to look at post-match – formation, defensive shape and balance between attack and defend, but today, there's nothing really to analyse. We've missed a few chances and that really is it. There's no blame to lay on anyone today. I thought they all grafted well. It's just one of those days.
“Missing Shaun Okojie is always going to be a blow; he's our top goalscorer but I thought Busy (Jamie Byatt) led the line fantastically. He competed for everything and worked his socks off.
“We'll bounce back just fine. This is a competitive league and anyone can beat anyone. We just need to brush ourselves down, approach the next game positively and get the win.”
Herne Bay move up a place to 21st in the table whilst Casuals sit in fifth.