Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 8th August 2015
Report by Darren Pasley
Pics: Stuart Tree (click here for full set)
Video: Steve Wigg (click here for goals)
Corinthian Casuals opened the new campaign in fine style as an brace from debutant Emannuel Akokhia was sufficient enough to see off Worthing at King Georges Arena
With new manager James Bracken at the helm the ex Sutton United Reserve manager fielded 9 new debutants with only Danny Bracken and Dave Hodges starting from last seasons squad.
After a very encouraging pre-season Casuals flew out the blocks and inside the first minute Diego Maradona played the ball into the path of Akokhia who rolled his marker Matt Hurley and fired off a shot inside the box which was beaten away by the legs of keeper Rikki Banks.
The early warning fired to the visitors came back to haunt them as in the 4th minute Hurley again found himself on the wrong side of the lively striker and this time Akokhia fired left footed across Banks into the bottom corner for the opening goal of the season.
The pressure continued as the home side’s pace and movement time and time again took apart the Sussex sides backline.
Diego Maradona was denied by keeper Banks in the 7th minute as the ball broke to him on the edge of the area but the visiting stopper got down well to divert for a corner.
Banks continued to keep his side in it as a slick move resulted in Sekou Kaba driving into the box and his cut back met by Maradona whose effort was blocked by the keepers legs on the line. Moments later Akokhia picked up the ball on the right and his curling shot was tipped over.
Dave Hodges operating in a full back role saw whipped cross volleyed just over by Josh Uzun but in the 27th minute the lead was deservedly doubled.
A routine ball over the top should have dealt with by the experienced Gary Elphick but his attempted back header lacked the necessary purchase to reach Banks and the ever alert Akokhia nipped in to round the keeper and slot past the the covering defende on the line as Casuals took a two goal lead.
Banks prevented a 3rd yet again with his legs, this time Kevant Serbony denied after yet more good work from Maradona down the left.
Worthing for all the pre-season hype after a number of highly impressive and high-scoring performances rarely had an answer to their opponents desire and paid the price in the final third for poor decision making.
That being said they did come into the game during the latter stages of the half and right on half time Omar Bugiel should have levelled the match as his header from a corner hit the inside of the post before being clawed off the line by Bracken.
The Sussex side started the second half well with a series of early corners and in the 47th minute Ben Pope arrived unmarked at the back post but attempted a flying volley when perhaps a header would have caused Bracken more problems.
In truth Casuals seemed rarely troubled despite seldomly offering a threat of their own. Their opponents continued to disappoint in the danger areas with many overhit crosses and no real conviction inside or around the box.
With 6 minutes reaming Bugiel again went close with a headed effort from a corner which seemed to be his sides only real threat of the contest.
With Worthing pushing forward more gaps appearing as the game reached its concluding stages, striker Sekou Kabba was denied a debut goal by the flying Banks with a spectacular save.
The win marked a superb first day at the office for Danny Bracken and after the match he spoke to Stuart Tree of his delight
“I thought we were fantastic from the first whistle. We never let Worthing settle into any style of play. They’ve tried to change it three or four times throughout the game but whatever they did, it didn’t work. It’s come down to the fact that we wanted it that little bit more.
“Some of the boys have been focused on this first team opportunity for three or four years and now they’ve got it, they’re hungry to grasp hold of it.
"Obviously, it’s about maintaining it now. This is just one game. We won’t get carried away but it’s a great start.
“Was it a bit feisty at times? It was a hot day… the first game of the season and no-one’s fitness levels are at their maximum. When you’re tired and you get a little nick, on another day you just get up and get on with it. But often on a hot day things can flare up a little.
“I felt they instigated it a little towards the end of the first half. They were just trying to break the game down and stop our rhythm. However, we need to make sure that we don’t react and be professional, which we were second half after a little chat. From there, we remained in control and played well.
“You always worry when you go in at 2-0 because if they score at the start of the second half, it’s game on and all of your hard work in the first half can come undone. You certainly want to kill the game off. That said, we’ve taken two good goals in the first half hour and then never really looked in trouble. I’m happy with that.
“Worthing are a good side… but today, we were just a little bit better.”