Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 19th March 2016
Match report: Darren Pasley
Pics: Paul Downs (here) and Terry Buckman (here)
Video below by Daniel Sacha
As perhaps would have been expected, Corinthian-Casuals bounced back from their defeat at Folkestone with a 4-2 win over Whitstable Town at King Georges Arena.
Whilst the side who lie bottom having conceded over 100 goals in the league already this season are seemingly doomed, one can’t fault their desire and application in the second period which made for an exciting game in which Casuals could never relax.
With Kevant Serbony having departed for playoff rivals Hastings United in the week Shaun Okojie and Jamie Byatt started a game together for the first time.
Early exchanges saw plenty of possession for Casuals but they were kept at bay by a well drilled offside trap before out of nothing in the 20th minute the deadlock was broken. Okojie out on the left received the ball and after powering into the box he skipped past Ives before calmly finishing low past Dan Eason into the bottom corner. It was another goal to add to his growing reputation in what has been a magnificent 2016 so far.
The former Sutton U18 frontman doubled the lead 7 minutes later when chasing onto Sekou Kaba’s lofted through ball he arrived before Eason and despite two covering defenders on the line showed great composure to roll home his second.
The Oystermen were struggling to stay in the match and their cause wasn’t helped by the loss of Collado who was injured whilst attempting a clearance. James Cottee linked well with Warren Morgan and only Eason’s intervention thwarted the oncoming Jamie Byatt.
The visitors only two efforts of the half both came from distance with the half time whistle approaching. First skipper Bewick hitting just wide with an opportunist effort from 30 yards before Yianni fired over a free kick from similar range.
To their credit the visiting management’s half time words had the desired affect and the Kent side came out a much tougher proposition second half with the backline pushed up restricting the space Casuals enjoyed so freely in the first period. Thompson first to have an effort which he hooked over Danny Bracken’s upright.
Casuals Okojie came close to a spectacular third when he was on the end of Eason’s header after rushing out of his box but his chest and volley saw the ball spin just wide.
Thompson again went even closer for the Oystermen this time spurning his side’s best chance slicing a volley from 6 yards out but in the 71st minute his team were back in the match. Blanchard sending over a free kick from the right and for once the Casuals defence were caught napping as full back Wraight arrived at the back post to tap home unmarked.
As expected this galvanised the visitors but Casuals reacted well and started to create chances of their own for the first time in the half. Danny Dudley heading Cottee’s corner just wide before the former sent over a cross which just evaded everyone including the back post.
In the 83rd minute Okojie completed his hat-trick. Niall Wright feeding the big man who slipped his slot low under the advancing Eason for his first hat-trick in senior football and 10th since the turn of the year.
Whitstable weren’t finished however and after Bracken did superbly to keep out Thompson’s header Smith lashed home only to be denied by the raised assistant’s flag. Moments later though with two minutes remaining they were back in the match as Blanchard this time from the left saw his free kick sail over everyone including Bracken and nestle into the top corner.
With the game into injury time Cottee set off on one final run down the right and into the area he appeared to be clipped by the covering defender. Despite stumbling to the floor he managed to poke the ball past Eason from an acute angle to wrap up the win for a relieved James Bracken.