Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 4th March 2017
Match Report: Cameron Smith: Photo Stuart Tree (Full set HERE)
Reyon Dillon’s lethal strike in the 67th minute frustrated a shell-shocked Dorking Wanderers side as the visitors’ title-hunting campaign was dealt a large blow when Corinthian Casuals secured three points with a 2-0 victory.
Loitering just below the play-offs, Corinthians replied to two consecutive losses (a devastating 3-0 loss to Faversham and a 2-0 defeat to Horsham) with a spectacular 4-3 result at Cray Wanderers on Wednesday. A deadly strike partnership matured at Hayes Lane; Dillon and Okojie notched three combined goals against Cray.
Sitting three points behind league leaders Tooting & Mitcham, Dorking Wanderers were seven games unbeaten and had claimed points versus Greenwich, Lewes and Faversham. Youthful Dorking boss Marc White has pioneered his team to an impressive position in the Ryman Division One South thanks to the experience of former-Woking striker Guiseppe Sole, the goalscoring abilities of James McShane and the trickery of Matthew Briggs. The previous encounter was at Dorking’s Westhumble where the 10 man Wanderers edged Casuals 1-0. Corinth would be placed as the underdogs as James Bracken’s resilient army hosted the favourites Dorking.
Slick possession from the red and white stripes of Dorking dominated the first half as Corinth (in pink and brown) took a relaxed approach. However, drama was injected into the game when confusion rippled across the sunny King George’s inside the first five minutes. After an injury break concluded, Dorking volleyed the drop-ball from the halfway line and, perhaps accidentally, beat Danny Bracken and bounced in the net. The referee correctly disallowed it and play continued.
Briggs, who was sent off versus Casuals in 2016, was causing havoc on the wing and leftback Hodges was kept busy throughout the game. The midfielder fired the ball into the side netting early on. Then, Bracken was forced to take a blow to the face- the boot of Tom Tolfrey hit the Casuals goalkeeper when the Dorking player attempted to turn in a cross. After the twenty minute mark, the Wanderers’ possession was futile as clear cut chances were hard to come by. In the 37th minute, Jordan Clarke’s dipping free-kick from the left flank was nodded towards goal by the daring Danny Dudley, but the effort was wayward. Half-time saw both sides walk into the dressing rooms without a goal.
Casuals and Dorking continued their inactivity in-front of goal in the first ten minutes of the second-half. Okojie nearly took advantage of complacent Dorking defending when the super striker pounced on a loose ball but the shot plummeted into the gloves of keeper Huk. Half-chances for both sides were not dispatched until the 59th minute.
Hodges, who was assuming the role of set-piece taker following Josh Uzun’s absence, was ready to challenge the Dorking back-four with a free-kick on the familiar left flank. Squeezing the ball past the wall and towards the near post of Huk, everyone failed to make contact with the ball as it sailed into the net. The perplexed Dorking keeper had his head in his hands whilst Hodges wheeled away celebrating- Casuals had taken the surprise lead! An eight minute period was packed with cheers of encouragement from the Casuals contingent; the home side were searching for the essential second goal. Punching the ball away from a Dudley cross, Slavomir Huk also had to keep out a delicious shot from Clarke before the 67th minute arrived.
Right-back Juevan Spencer fed the ball to the open Dillon, who was located on the edge of the penalty area, and the striker caused chaos behind the goal with a terrific, rifling shot that beautifully nestled in the bottom left corner. Poetry in motion, Dillon leapt into the air and punching in celebration whilst the jubilant Bettache, Spencer and Clarke ran to the home support. An incredible strike deserving of the ecstatic celebrations. Dorking had around twenty minutes to claw themselves back into the game.
Despite trailing, it wasn’t the visitors who were threatening. It was Casuals. Coskun Eskim, who added another brilliant performance to his record, hammered a low piledriver just wide of the post from 30 yards. Dorking substitute Sole had one chance from a free-kick outside the area. The striker took a deep breath and slammed the ball straight into the well-constructed Casuals wall before blazing the rebound over the bar. Fellow substitute (this time for Corinth) Dan Summers side-footed the ball into the gloves of Huk as Dave Hodges’ pinpoint cross was to no avail.
Following six, agonising minutes of stoppage time, Dorking were unable to break the Casuals defence as the referee blew the whistle for full-time. Goals from Hodges and Dillon had sealed three points for Corinthians who moved into fourth place. Tooting are now six points at the top following Dorking’s stumble. Corinth travel to Greenwich next.
Stuart Tree spoke to the proud Casuals boss James Bracken after the match:
“That was probably our most professional performance this season. Maybe not the most fluent or exciting, but we have to take into account the opposition today. We’re coming into the tail end of the season and there’s a bit of pressure telling on everyone.
The top eight or nine sides need those wins. So to approach it the way we did, the performance, keeping a clean sheet… all in all, that was our most professional performance of the season.
We’ve scored another two goals today against a side that doesn’t often get beaten. That’s a great result and a good performance.
Today, we approached the game slightly different to our usual plan and it showed in the way we played. We stuck to that plan and to be fair to the lads, if they can execute my instructions to that level and get a positive result, then credit must go to them.
It’s easy for me to show them tactics on a board and tell them what I want, but for them to go out and do it both individually and as a team is another matter altogether. They did that today so I’m very happy.
The belief is massive. I’m always confident. I always believe we’ll win. That never changes and the moment that does, I’ll need to take a look at myself and go and do something else.
I knew we could make the playoffs but now I believe we will make the playoffs. I’ve just said to the lads, if you can beat Dorking – and let’s set this straight; that was their best side out. They had no players missing. It wasn’t a case of having a few regulars missing… and we’ve won 2-0 and deserved it.
If that doesn’t give us confidence and belief going into the Greenwich Borough game next week, I don’t know what will. Hopefully, when we get enough good results to get in the playoffs, we’ll have this as a reminder that we can go out and beat anyone if we perform to our best.”