Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 3rd December 2016
Match Report Cameron Smith
An exhilarating Saturday afternoon at the seaside, the fast and furious Corinthian
Casuals edged unfortunate Ramsgate 4-3 with Josh Uzun bringing the match-ball
home following a terrific hat-trick.
After the disappointing mid-match abandonment on Tuesday, Casuals still sat in the
lucrative play-off positions with a game in hand. It is the other situation for Ramsgate. In
17th at the bottom of the table, the Rams have had a mixed campaign in terms of form as
twelve defeats cancel out the six victories. One of many defeats featured the previous
fixture versus Casuals in September where Shaun Okojie’s late winner separated the
James Bracken incorporated three changes from the fifty-nine minute game in midweek as
the hungry and versatile Jamie Byatt happily shifted into a familiar left-back position, with
Dave Hodges absent. Receiving a straight red card against Herne Bay last week, Danny
Dudley sat out- resulting in Jack Strange being appointed in centre-back. Kevant Serbony
returned to the first-team in style; his name was included on the team-sheet ahead of Ben
White shirts and navy shorts, Corinthians walked out onto the slightly uneven Southwood
Stadium surface alongside the red shirts and white shorts of Ramsgate. Mirroring Tuesday
evening’s events, both sides stood for a minute’s silence around the centre circle to
remember the lives lost in the Chapecoense plane crash. Impeccable, the game was then
kick-started on the referee’s whistle.
Both sides possessing desire and grit, the tempo was set high early on. So when a penalty
was given in the seventh minute, it was not a surprise for the neutral. It was a surprise for
Casuals as protestors swarmed the man in black. Swiftly converted to the bottom left
corner, (Bracken was an inch from preventing it) Aaron Millbank notched his sixth of the
season with a powerful penalty.
Two minutes. It only took two minutes for Casuals to reply as Josh Uzun was in the right
place at the right time to glance the ball into the empty net after a corner was kept out by
Watkins. Low-key celebrations, Uzun grabbed the ball and ran to the other side of the
pitch; raring to edge ahead. In the 17th minute, Casuals did find the net via the lively Josh
Gallagher as Uzun played a neat through ball to Gallagher before the midfielder finished.
Brief celebrations were halted as Casuals gazed towards the flag of the linesman, which
was in the air to signal offside.
A few moments later, the visitors were finally in the driving seat for the first time as
Ramsgate’s Watkins had a nightmare. Routine, the keeper (in a fluorescent green shirt)
swallowed a dead ball and was ready to distribute. He aimed the throw at a red shirt out
wide and launched it towards his team-mate, unaware of the predator Uzun in-front of him.
Uzun was also unaware of the keeper as he turned his back to him. Accidentally belting
the ball at Uzun’s back, the ball cushioned perfectly for the attacker to slot into the empty
net comically. Hilarious to the Casuals, deflating to the Rams.
However, both sides contained grit and the hosts showcased that in the 34th minute.
Oliver Gray, one of many red shirts in the crowd surrounding the six yard box, latched onto
a free-kick and stabbed the ball into the empty net as the oncoming Bracken missed the ball.
The Rams’ previous passage of play resulted in a remarkable save from Bracken but
the strong presence in the Casuals net was broken by Gray as he equalised to make it
2-2. With the tempo depleting, Clarke’s effort, which comfortably found Watkins’ gloves, was
the only highlight before half-time.
Darkness descended onto Southwood in the second half as Jordan Clarke nearly scored
straight from a corner kick; Watkins tipping the ball over. Casuals dominated the
opportunities on goal as Shaun Okojie’s capitulation from a yard caused groans and
support from the away end and a sigh of relief from the home end. Eventually, Casuals
took the lead. A first-half brace, Uzun was full of confidence as he swaggered into the
penalty area to join yet another Casuals invasion. With Okojie being denied by the keeper,
the ball bounced towards the open Uzun in the area as the midfielder secured a classy
hat-trick with a beautifully-executed shot, which flew into the top corner, prompting crazy
celebrations from the travelling Casuals fans. It was 3-2.
Morale was high in the Casuals camp but their celebratory instincts shouldn’t have got the
better of them as the see-saw match progressed into the final twenty minutes. Joseph
Kane, who had controlled the Rams midfield, wrote his name on the scoresheetdispatching
past Bracken as Casuals were pegged back for the second time.
Back and forth, the game had a highly entertaining script but there was one more twist in
the tale… In the 74th minute, the red shirts of Ramsgate looked on in fear as Josh
Gallagher squared the ball for Mahrez Bettache. This time, Watkins was able to keep the
ball out of the net and avert a goal from Bettache. Poaching at its finest, Okojie jabbed the
rebound into the goal as Corinthians took the lead- again! Three agonising stoppage time
minutes for Casuals ended- the game had concluded with a very happy ending for the
Manager James Bracken spoke to Cameron Smith after the game:
“It always feels good to come away with three points and it’s great to get four league wins
on the spin at a difficult place on a cold, windy day. It was very sweet especially because
of the nature of the game, going back and forth. It’s always great to come out on top in
“I think we started quite well. The penalty was soft especially after five minutes, which was
a bit harsh but it was given, we moved on. We’ve responded well like we’ve done in the
past few games: conceded then replied straight away, which is nice.
“I said to the lads in the second-half that we have the advantage as Ramsgate would be
coming into the wind, which is good in a management point of view. They got a goal
against the run of play and I think we were worthy by winning it more than one but three
points is three points. The second-half was mad but the lads did exactly what I instructed
them to do. We were professional and kept them out in the last five minutes, which was
brilliant. Overall, I’m pleased.”