Surrey Senior Cup 2nd Round
Tuesday 25th November 2014
Match report: Darren Pasley
Casuals mini recent revival continued as they progressed through to the next round of the Surrey Senior Cup.
Although a tie against the side propping up the division on paper looked comfortable enough the home side now under the management of Liam Collins had certainly improved of late although they still await their first win on home soil this season in the league.
The game was in serious doubt in the 24 hours leading up to the match and despite the pitch being past fit by referee Paul Johnson the floodlights failed 2 hours before kick off. Thankfully an electrician was on hand to fix apart from one set but with the officials happy enough with the remaining light the game went ahead.
The home side full of confidence following away draws at Hastings and leaders Faversham attacked with intent early on and in the 3rd minute Billy Dunn went close to a spectacular opener when after cutting in from the left he fizzed a shot from 20 yards just over Danny Brackens bar.
The hosts came close to capping off their strong opening to the match when Gabriel Odunaike slotted the ball home but thankfully the referees whistle had long gone for offside against the Stags dangerman.
For all their attacking promise the home side looked vulnerable at the back and Casuals looked to expose this. With gaps appearing especially in the full back areas the visitors looked to utilise the space. Juevan Spencer the first to nearly profit from this when he was inches away from Car Wilson-Denis’s centre following a superb ball pitched up by Jamie Byatt.
The first effort on target arrived in the 20th minute when a short corner was rolled out to Merrick James-Lewis who’s fierce drive stung the palms of Danny Bracken.
Within two minutes and the game had its opening goal. After working the ball well Spencer was allowed space to fire in a shot from the edge of the area, which was blocked. The rebound fell invitingly to Joe Robson and despite Chico Ramos making a flying block the rebound fell to Jamie Byatt who smashed home low left footed from 12 yards into the corner of the net.
Walton’s best chance of the half arrived in the 34th minute. A long ball over the top seemed routine enough for Bracken to clear but with the ball holding up on the increasingly heavy surface, Scott Day managed to arrive before and knock the ball past the keeper. However despite an unguarded net his effort lacked the direction and conviction and Mason Welch-Turner was able to retrieve from the byline and carry the ball out.
The home side were struggling to deal with Casuals releasing the ball early into the wide areas which left them exposed and it was from this route the visitors took a firm grip of the match.
With 4 minutes remaining of the half a quick goal kick from Bracken saw Abiola-Daramola misjudge the ball allowing Vidal down the left wing. His low cross was perfect for the arriving Byatt who clinically finished past Ramos from a central position to double the lead.
The home side responded after the break with a couple of substitutes and it seemed to do the trick as they heaped the pressure on Casuals from the start.
On 55 minutes James-Lewis fired off a warning when his shot was inches wide of Bracken's left hand post and a minute later the Stags were back in the tie.
A goal kick was headed back towards the visiting defence and Odunaike, goalside of his marker raced clear to sidefoot home.
Five minutes later and the home side should have leveled matters when Scott Day stooped low to head against the post and having reacted quickly to the rebound he blazed wildly over from 6 yards out.
The pressure continued and Ben Bowra who was superb throughout survived a handball shout from a cross which struck his arm inside the area.
Substitute Jordan Johnson went close twice in as many minutes firstly with a shot from distance that skidded just wide. A minute later again with his left foot he curled just wide of Bracken's left hand up-right.
Walton thought the pressure had finally told in the 82nd minute when James-Lewis who was outstanding throughout curled an effort from just inside the area around Bracken but Welch-Turner made a spectacular block on the line. It was an incredible piece of defending and typified the resolute attitude of the visiting backline all evening
Scott Day again nearly benefited from a right wing cross but this time was inches away despite flinging himself at full length as the game entered its final minutes.
Casuals only serious attack at goal came in stoppage time when Bamoussa Cisse rode through the heart of the hosts defence but saw his effort blocked by Ramos. There was still time for Jordan Cheadle to have a last gasp free kick drop just over the bar.
Summing the match up Matt Howard commented afterwards
“It was a proper cup tie – We controlled the first half and they the second.
"It was a good win for us and also gave me the opportunity to give some game time to the lads that haven’t had as much of late.”
“Walton are a good side and they will be no where near the foot of the table come the end of the season. I hope we can take this form into Saturday and get a much needed three points.”