Ryman Division One South
Saturday 19th December 2015
Match report: Darren Pasley
Casuals recorded their third successive league victory with a sold enough display to see off bottom side Whitstable on the windy East Kent coast.
Emmanuel Akokhia returned to the starting line up as James Bracken made one change to the side that emphatically thumped Walton & Hersham in midweek.
The volunteers at Belmont Road had worked wonders to get the game on but it made for a heavy and difficult surface which impacted the afternoons play.
The hosts who ended a run last weekend of 12 straight defeats after defeating Peacehaven started the better of the sides and Sam Conlon headed over early on after good work from Harry Stannard on the left hand side.
Casuals struggling to adapt to the surface mustered their first shot on 18 minutes as Emmanuel Akokhia fired at keeper Dan Eason from the edge of the box. Shortly afterwards Sekou Kaba had an effort that flew over the bar as the visitors started creeping into the contest.
The 24th minute saw the hosts spurn a golden chance. Stannard again the instigator, this time sending over the perfect cross for Dean Grant who free 6 yards from goal completely fluffed his header. It almost proved costly as Juevan Spencer at the other end side stepped in between two markers and shot at Eason who did well to parry. Josh Uzun on the follow up seeing his effort blocked.
Corinthian Casuals took the lead in the 41st minute from the spot.Spencer outpacing Cameron Hefferman and this time from the byline sent the ball back to Kaba who was bundled over inside the area. The trusty Josh Uzun duly dispatched for the games opener.
It was so nearly 2 in as many minutes. Ben King from a free kick trying his luck from fully 40 yards. The pint sized Eason in goal defying gravity to pluck the effort out of the top corner.
After dominating the 2nd half of the first period Casuals were back defending as the Oystermen once again started the half on the front foot. That being said Josh Uzun had a great chance to grab a brace as he met Dave Hodges cross. His header on this occasion lacked power and direction.
With an hour played Charlie Smith hit a snapshot from 25 yards onto the upright , possibly via Danny Brackens fingertips. Smith again headed into Brackens arms following a long throw and Grant was not for the first time off target with yet another header despite rising well to a cross from the right.
Just as it seemed the hosts were building up a head of steam Casuals struck the all decisive second to seal the points in the 71st minute. Ben King out on the wide, curled in left footed and Danny Dudley at the back post side footed on the volley back across the goal into the bottom corner.
Grant continued his miserable afternoon hooking over after a free kick had dropped kindly and then blasting wide after being played clean through. His strike partner Smith faired little better although it took a great Bracken save to keep out his close range effort on 85 minutes.
Smith again deep into stoppage time summed his sides afternoon up by skying anther great chance into the houses behind the goal as Casuals maintained their record of being unbeaten away from home in Saturday League matches this season.
After the game assistant manager Joe Davies fresh from getting down on one knee and proposing in New Year spoke to Darren Pasley
“It was a good result considering the conditions of the pitch which was a bit of a leveller. When you go to places like these the result is far more important than the performance. Everybody done their jobs today and Dave Hodges and Ben King stood out for me in a solid team performance,”
Speaking about Tuesdays London Senior Cup tie at home to Dulwich Hamlet Joe commented “It will be a good test and Dulwich may well give a chance to a few of their highly rated youngsters who will play the Dulwich way which is to play good football.”
“It was important to get the two wins this week to keep us in that play off pack but the real hard work starts post Christmas with games against Molesey, Carshalton and then Guernsey who are flying right now,”
“We are playing with a lot of confidence and maximum points is the target even though we know it wont be easy.”
Joe who was also part of the previous coaching regime also praised manager James Bracken.
“James had brought in a lot of new players , many of them though have played for him for a number of years and they are used to the way he works. These things sometimes take time to gel but they have blended in well with our current players . Those players from last season James has installed a new confidence as well. Juevan Spencer for example who at times is unplayable this season and our current top scorer.
Our first aim is to defend and then leave the footballing side to the players up the pitch and its worked well for us so far this season, There is a good balance to the side and we are looking forward to the second half of the season.”