Ryman Dicision One South
Saturday 7th January 2017
Match report:Cameron Smith. Photo: Paul Downs (Full set HERE)
Corinthian Casuals’ first home fixture of 2017 was one to forget as the clinical
Lewes left Tolworth with a 2-0 win and three points on a bitter Saturday afternoon.
Following on from the lacklustre display at Tooting & Mitcham last week, Casuals looked to
secure their place in the play-offs with a victory over Lewes, who were hovering just
outside the top five. The Rooks, who are based in East Sussex, succumbed to a
disheartening 2-1 loss to Horsham last week. Previously gathering points from Tooting and
Cray Wanderers, Lewes have been a consistent side this season thanks to midfielder and
top scorer Jamie Brotherton, who has been delivering the all-important goals.
James Bracken implemented two changes from the 3-1 defeat at Tooting as Warren
Morgan was benched ahead of the versatile Juevan Spencer, who happily shifted into
right-back whilst Max Oldham was introduced on the wing. Josh Uzun was selected in
attack as Jamie Byatt was dropped.
The light blue away attire of Lewes faced the classic chocolate and pink of Corinth as the
referee began proceedings. Vocal, Lewes’ starting XI were superior from the off, with
possession and opportunities edging in the visitors’ favour. In only the seventh minute, the
dominance was satisfied by the opening goal. Charlie Coppola’s space in the area allowed
him to simply dispatch a low cross from the by-line as the travelling Lewes fans celebrated.
The dangerous Jamie Brotherton engaged in a 50/50 challenge with solid Danny Dudley
minutes later, which resulted in the Lewes player screaming in pain after Dudley left his
studs up. The Casuals centre-back received a yellow card. Brotherton was stretchered off
with the help of Corinth fan favourite and substitute Jamie Byatt, who helped carry the
Lewes player to the sidelines.
Stephen Okoh, the replacement for Brotherton, superbly doubled the away side’s lead in
the fifteenth minute. With the defence out of position, Okoh moved to the edge of the area
where he unleashed a superb curling effort into the top corner; leaving Danny Bracken for
dead. Lewes were 2-0 up versus the complacent Casuals.
Approaching half-time, Corinth had improved their game with two outstanding saves from
Lewes’ terrific no.1 Adria Munoz Fernandez. Lobbing the ball back into the busy area,
Uzun nearly gave Casuals a lifeline with a pinpoint assist for Dudley, who headed the ball
back for Okojie at the back post. ‘Super Shaun’ was unable to convert as the heroic
reflexes of Fernandez denied the striker. During stoppage time, it wasn’t Fernandez who
saved Lewes- it was the woodwork. Oldham’s darting drive into the area saw the winger
cross for Uzun, who deftly targeted the ball onto the post. Brilliant play from Corinth was
not rewarded with the essential goal as half-time began.
A quiet start to the second-half, Corinth were unable to break the well organised back four
of Lewes. Opportunities on goal were a rarity. In the 65th minute (following a spell of
predominant Casuals set-pieces), a corner was nodded towards goal by Terry Murray but
the fantastic looping header was parried away by the gloves of Lewes ace Fernandez.
Disbelief echoed around the ground. Next, Shaun Okojie’s effort slammed against the bar,
only for the linesman’s flag to cancel it out.
The visitors populated the edge of Corinth’s box whilst searching for the third but their
sustained pressure resulted in a drought. Byatt switched his temporary ‘physio’ duties for
his usual footballing job late on and nearly nicked the consolation goal Casuals had been
aiming for all afternoon. His powerful volley flashed just wide of the post in the 80th
minute. Danny Bracken dived to save a low shot from a Lewes counter attack in the dying
minutes before three blows on the referee’s whistle concluded events.
The devastating 2-0 loss was drowned out by the Casuals contingent, who sang until
every player exited the field. With Hythe Town losing 3-0 and Carshalton drawing, Casuals
were able to maintain their play-off position for another week. A midweek clash versus
Molesey at home is next on the cards for James Bracken’s pink and brown army.