London Senior Cup 1st Round
Tuesday 10th November 2015
Match report: Darren Pasley
Pics: Stuart Tree
Goalkeeper and skipper Danny Bracken was the hero but at the other end of the pitch for once as Casuals overcame a tricky tie against AFC Croydon Athletic.
Their hosts after promotion to the old Kent League via the Combined Counties have made a decent start and lie mid-table and their robust but committed approach made it uneasy at times for their hosts.
Before the match, played on the eve of Remembrance Day, players of Corinthian-Casuals paid tribute to the Corinthians who fell in battle in World War One, as commemorated on the club War Memorial which recently returned from being displayed in the National Football Museum. Combined, Corinthian-Casuals hold the tragic and unwanted record of being the football club that lost the most men in World War One.
James Bracken rotated his squad handing starts to Ben King, Ross Defoe, Ben Cotton and Stef Joseph whilst Charlie Girdler made his debut.
The visitors started on the front foot and 40 seconds in Louis Blake was allowed time and space to fire off a shot from just inside the area which was parried away by Danny Bracken.
13 minutes into his Casuals career and Girlder was booked for an off the ball altercation with his opposite number Fred Fleming. It was just one of a series of niggly incidents which blighted the half and prevented the game developing into any sort of a free flowing contest.
It was a slow start from Casuals who appeared to holding onto the ball individually for too long but the first sign of quality opened up their opponents in the 33rd minute.
Kevant Serbony choosing the right time to feed Cherno Mendy and bearing down on goal the intervention of keeper Daniel Burnett kept the scores level. From the resulting corner Josh Uzun curled just over.
Although not offering a major threat going forward the commitment and tough approach from the Southern Counties East side was disputing their opponents but Danny Dudley was inches away from getting on the end of Ben Cotton’s free kick as half time approached.
There was still time for Blake to be denied by Bracken again, this time a tame show easily saved before Cotton fired wide in stoppage time after Burnett had punched clear Joseph’s cross.
Casuals took the lead 5 minutes into the second half after Josh Uzun went down under the challenge of 2 defenders. Having been injured winning the penalty and forced to leave the field it was left for goalkeeper Danny Bracken to step up and duly convert to open the scoring.
The Step 5 side nearly replied immediately when Blake headed over from a right wing cross and again threatened with an hour gone as Josh Smith latched onto a long goal kick but despite reaching the by-line his cut back failed to find a team mate and Ross Defoe cleared.
Although Casuals seemed in control they still had to be alert defensively and only a fine Ben King block denied substitute Raheem Sterling-Parker whose shot appeared to be goal bound.
The game was wrapped up in the 76th minute when Stef Joseph shrugged off the attentions of Jamie Pearson and his low left footed effort crept under the body of Dan Burnett to double the lead.
Other than a cross from Callum McLean which looped onto the top of the net it was a relatively comfortable closing stages for the home side who booked a date with Dulwich hamlet next month.
Speaking to Stuart tree after the match the Casuals Captain spoke of his intent to score more goals.
“We’d discussed me taking penalties after the Worthing result, seeing as we’d missed the last two spot kicks by putting them over the bar,” said Bracken.
“Being a goalkeeper, I’m confident that I know what the other goalie is thinking, so I go the opposite way and hopefully will score every time.
“I’ve taken two in a penalty shootout before today and I’ve scored all three. I’m comfortable in putting the ball wherever and I don’t think I’m predictable in how I take one.
“If Josh [Uzun], our regular penalty taker isn’t on the pitch, then yes… I’ll be taking them. I’m confident that I’m going to score, so why not continue.”
“But the most important thing for me is to keep a clean sheet. That’s two in a row now. We’ve gone quite a long time without one previous to that. But I play to keep clean sheets first and foremost… not score goals.”