Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 10th October 2015
Match report and pics: Stuart Tree (photos can be viewed here)
Corinthian-Casuals maintained their good form with a hard fought 2-1 win away at Sittingbourne courtesy of goals from Josh Uzun and Juevan Spencer.
The result now means that Casuals have won seven out of eight games and are unbeaten in five. In contrast, their opponents, Sittingbourne have now suffered six defeats in a row.
The hosts were hampered by the suspension of their first choice goalkeeper, Adam Molloy who’d been excellent in the reverse fixture just ten days before. The Brickies had to call upon 16-year old Adam Wallace to be their last line of defence.
Casuals lined up with a full strength side. Stef Joseph claimed a place in the starting XI after his good performance in the league cup in midweek.
On what can be described as a ‘tricky’ surface, play was never going to be fast and free flowing and the early exchanges came to little. It was therefore unsurprising that the deadlock was broken from a set-piece. Josh Uzun was fouled just outside the Sittingbourne area and the midfielder took it upon himself to place the ball over the wall and leave Wallace flat footed.
Minutes later, Juevan Spencer turned his defender and his shot managed to beat Wallace but struck the base of the post.
Bourne grew into the game and Danny Bracken was forced into making a fine stop from Harry Smith.
All the light-heartedness of a supporter’s half-time crossbar challenge soon went by the wayside as the second half began and decidedly turned feisty. Casuals felt aggrieved that they weren’t awarded a penalty after Stef Joseph latched onto a ball before Wallace could intercept and the goalkeeper appeared to hold back the forward before the Brickies could recover.
Sustained pressure from Sittingbourne soon paid off. A free kick from Hicham Akhazzan struck Dave Hodges in the wall and the resulting deflection sent Bracken the wrong way, with the ball sailing into an empty part of the net. Though cruel, the equaliser was perhaps deserved.
With quarter of an hour to go came a real turning point; Sittingbourne’s Stefan Wright clashed in a challenge with Hodges. Although Wright won the ball, the two-footed tackle was adjudged dangerous and left Hodges with a nasty injury. Referee Mr R Wells sent Wright packing with a straight red card.
Down to ten men, the Bourne found themselves a goal down just two minutes later. An incisive pass from Warren Morgan through the penalty box found Juevan Spencer at the far post and the in-form winger had no hesitation in slotting the ball home to the delight of the small travelling band of Casuals’ supporters behind the goal. It was to prove decisive; Casuals held their composure to play out the time and return to Tolworth with three points and second place in the league table.
Well done to Sittingbourne FC on raising over £100 for Prostate Cancer UK on the day.
After the match, James Bracken spoke about the result.
“It’s the worst pitch we’ve played on this season and so we’ve had to change our game plan today which perhaps wasn’t the prettiest but three points was the priority and that’s what we’ve got.
“I said to the boys before we started ‘if you’re going to be near the top of the league, you’ve not only got to win when the pitches are good and everything is flowing nicely, but you’ve got to show you can scrap and win that way.’ That’s what we’ve done today.
“There were a lot of incidents in the game. I personally thought we got nothing. I felt we moaned less than the other team but I’m not too concerned when you win. We’ll forget about it and concentrate on the next game.
“It’s important that we were clinical in our chances today. A few weeks ago, we were scoring three or four but missing a further eight or nine chances. I’m telling them that they’ve got to be more clinical because in games where we might only get two chances, you have to take them. I hope they’ve taken that on board and it’s worked out this afternoon. We’ve had two chances, kept our composure and come away with a result.
“Team spirit is fantastic since I took over in the summer. But we’re level; you won’t see me or the lads change. If we’re two-up, two-down… won four in a row, it stays the same. If we lose one or two, of course we won’t be happy but you won’t see us down in the dumps and we’ll soon get back on another run.”