Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 26th December 2015
Match report and photos: Stuart Tree (photos here)
Additional photos by Andy Nunn
Corinthian-Casuals suffered a Boxing Day home defeat as neighbours Molesey came from behind to snatch the points deep into injury time.
But Casuals’ Boss James Bracken insists it was “No hangover from Christmas Day” and that “the better side lost.”
Molesey travelled the short distance to King George’s having only won once in the last seven league outings, however a morale boosting win in midweek at Met Police in the Surrey Senior Cup was a welcome sight for manager Steve Webb.
In contrast, Bracken’s Casuals had only lost once in the last five league outings and were looking to replicate their 1-0 win over Molesey on the August Bank Holiday. But as is often seen, form guides go out of the window around the Christmas period.
It was a welcome sight to see both Niall Wright and Stef Joseph back on the bench and although both suffering injuries, it’s clear they’re not far from full fitness. Josh Uzun had to fill in at right-back as Warren Morgan was struck with illness. In form Sekou Kaba was also absent from the squad – a blow considering his recent displays.
Molesey began the livelier of the sides and Danny Bracken was called into early action saving well from Staff Palmer. Ollie Robinson looked to have gone even closer when his header from a deep free kick shaved the post.
Corinth soon grew into the game and Juevan Spencer began to create problems on the wing. Constantly cutting in on the byline, he was unlucky not to find Emmanuel Akokhia at the back post – Luke Elliott just pipping the strikier to the ball. Casuals had a few chances to go ahead in the first period and Moles Keeper Liam Allen looked decidedly shaky when trying to collect crosses. However, the sides went into the break level.
Casuals had the strong wind behind them in the second half and coupled with their pace, began to impose themselves on the game. The deadlock was broken in the 67th minute. Josh Uzun whipped a corner ball into the box and not for the first time, Allen in goal spilled the cross and Danny Dudley was on hand to tap home from five yards.
The lead wasn’t to last a minute. Caught napping at the back, the dangerous Reis Stanislaus was given the time and space to slot past Bracken and level the scores.
Corinth pushed on for a winner once again and had a big shout for a penalty turned down after Spencer was upended in the box on another of his dangerous runs. Akokhia’s cross come shot bobbled inches wide of the post with Spencer closing in and Mendy and Serbony looked to have broken free of the Molesey defence but much to the protestations of the management, was adjudged offside.
For all of Casuals’ forward play, they look exposed at the back and was about to get worse for the home side. Dave Hodges was shown a red card for his foul on ex-Casual James Cottee inside the penalty box. James McShane stepped up to take the spot kick but was brilliantly saved by Bracken, who also gathered up the rebound. It appeared to be a massive let off for the Amateurs.
But there was one final twist. Deep into time added on, Substitute Dre Grobler fired low past Bracken to seal the victory much to the delight of the four travelling Molesey fans. Casuals have had their fair share of injury-time winners but on this day, it was to go against them.
After the match, James Bracken spoke to Stuart Tree.
“No hangover from Christmas day. The better side lost. That’s my honest opinion.
“We went into the wind for the first half, kept it tight and went into the break without conceding.
“Second half we played most of the football around their box, though not created enough chances. That’s my biggest criticism of the day. For all of our play, we never had any real clear cut goalscoring opportunities which forced their keeper to make saves.
“We’ve conceded a couple of sloppy goals in my opinion.
“After Dave’s sending off, they’ve got the man advantage and they’re a good side. So it was obvious they felt with the extra man that they could go on and win it.
“We tried to stay positive and win it ourselves. We had a lot of forwards on the pitch at the time. Perhaps we could have shut up shop and take a point, but that’s not really my style or of the players we have. We tried to push the ball forward, nick a winner and the three points. But in the end, we’ve lost a point. That’s the way I look at it… not three points. And we’ll get those back on Saturday.”