Ryman Division One South
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
By Darren Pasley
Pictures: Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals put Saturdays last gasp FA cup defeat firmly behind them as they continued their fine start to the season with an impressive showing against Guernsey.
Dave Hodges returned to the side after missing the weekend’s match and Steve Goddard made his second appearance of the season. Mason Turner-Welch continued at left back.
On a beautiful late summers evening there was a lovely early high tempo to the match. Jamie Byatt had the games opening effort with a run and shot that whistled past the post.
The visitors took the lead in the 15th minute with their games first effort on target. Rhys Jordan collecting the ball midway in the opposition half drove on goal and from the edge of the box his low effort rebounded in off the post past the fully stretched Bracken. It was a great finish and one in keeping with the early stages with both sides playing well.
The goal seemed to give the Green Lions increased confidence and they quickly settled down and dictated play. Casuals were grateful to Danny Bracken on 26 minutes when Jordan nearly replicated his opening goal but this time the Casuals custodian tipped his effort onto his right hand post.
The chances continued to come for Guernsey with Luke Winch next to be denied by Bracken when his right footed shot from the angle was palmed over. From the resulting corner Jordan smashed wide after connecting fully on the volley.
Casuals rocked by the goal had seemed to lose their momentum and only threatened in rare attacks. Most of which involved Hodges as he continued to torment Hutton.
For all their play Guernsey were lucky to go into the break a goal up, when as half time approached Danny Dudley up from the back was clipped inside the box by Angus Mackay. To the surprise of most of the 150 strong crowd the referee waved away the penalty claims.
By his own admission his side emerged for the second half fired up by the strong words of Matt Howard. Inside the first 5 minutes they had their reward when Hodges cut inside and smashed home a rocket into the roof of Thomas Creed’s net from 20 yards.
A Guernsey backline which seemed so composed first half was being put under increasing pressure as Casuals squeezed up pushing on the full backs. In turn the majestic Bettache was finding space to weave his magic and with the opportunity was feeding either Byatt ,Goddard, or Hodges down the left. It was the latter that nearly created a second for Casuals with another low cross that Creed unorthodoxly flapped away.
The inevitable second arrived on the hour. Mahrez Bettache again showing great skill to knock the ball out wide to Hodges and his low cross was swept home in trademark fashion by Byatt on his 222nd appearance for Casuals.
Two quickly became three. Bettache once again with a clever ball into the box which Byatt knocked off to Goddard who on a plate smashed the ball into Creed’s bottom corner.
Casuals were on the rampage and it was nearly three in as many minutes when Goddard after linking with Bettache poked the ball through the keeper’s legs. This time the assistant’s flag came to the rescue of the visitors.
Hodges continued to give Nigel Hutton the run around and his left wing crosses were causing panic. On the other side full back Nial Wright strode forward and had a left footed opportunist effort just off target.
Corinthians were racking up the chances with Hodges denied by the outstretched boot of Creed and then Byatt having a header flashing just wide. Byatt thought he had added a 4th with a great finish following a flowing move but once again the linesman’s flag had risen to deny what would have been a wonderful goal.
To their credit Guernsey kept going for the final 10 minutes but found Casuals defence solid and they saw the game out to continue their unblemished midweek record.
Matt Howard spoke to Stuart Tree after the match
“To be fair, it's the story of the season so far. First half we were poor. Luke (Garrard) and I got them in at half time and I wouldn't say I was shouting at them, but we let them know we weren't very happy. I constructively said “this is the way to go and play” and we always thought if we could score one, we’d go on and win it, and lo and behold, we did.
“Second half we were outstanding. As soon as we got the first goal – and what a goal that was – both fullbacks really drove on and pushed forward and I think they won us the game tonight.
“Third in the table, but it’s only September 2nd. If we’re there in April then I’ll start getting a little bit excited.”