Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 16th November 2016
Match Report - Cameron Smith
Goals from the sublime Juevan Spencer and the marvellous Mahrez Bettache
secured a hard-earned three points for resilient ten-man Corinthian Casuals against
a direct Herne Bay side.
Tiring midweek clashes plagued both teams’ fitness with Casuals travelling to West
Sussex for an away day extravaganza against Three Bridges. The visitors made light work
of the opening forty-five minutes; Byatt, Clarke and Uzun scored to leave Casuals 3-0 up
at half-time. However, the second-half was arduous as the Bridge scored twice to set up a
terrific finale. The game ended 3-2 in favour of Casuals as James Bracken’s side took
three points from Three Bridges.
Adam Woollcott’s 78th minute winner separated the sides last time Corinthians and Herne
Bay locked horns. A horror start to the season, Bay were deep inside the relegation zone
at the start of October before there was a turning point. After conceding a monstrous
seven goals versus Hastings, Bay have snatched thirteen points from a possible eighteen
to rise out of the bottom three and establish themselves in a respectable eighteenth place.
Would the Seasiders would make it 2/2 in Tolworth?
Bracken implemented only one change to the starting lineup- Warren Morgan was
replaced by the flexible Juevan Spencer at right-back with trickster Maz Bettache filling the
empty slot in midfield.
Silky midfield play often resulted in distribution to the left flank where the darting runs of
Jordan Clarke and Dave Hodges lurked- causing havoc for the Bay full-backs. Inches from
connecting, a diving header from Jamie Byatt was created by the dangerous Clarke as
Casuals controlled the opening ten minutes. Herne Bay also generated chances as Danny
Bracken was forced to use his legs after a shot from Joe Nelder, which rolled out for a
corner to the away side. From the following corner, Casuals engaged in a goal-mouth
scramble as the set-piece eventually resulted in a goal for Bay; no.10 Danny Williams
side-footed the ball into the roof of the net in the 13th minute.
Instantly, Corinthians replied. In style. Spencer, who was tucked away at right back,
decided to edge towards a Casuals attack. Finding himself just inside the penalty area with
a yard of space (thanks to a super pass from Bettache), Spencer unleashed a remarkable
effort into the top corner and the ball satisfyingly nestled past Jack Delo into the net. A
well-deserved equaliser, Spencer had converted his third goal of the season so far and
what a goal it was!
For the rest of the half, Casuals and Bay exchanged opportunities on goal with Brandon
Johnson firing a powerful effort comfortably over the bar whilst Bay threatened the gritty
Casuals centre-backs. With minutes until half-time, drama wriggled its way back into the
match in the form of a dismissal. A scuffle at a Bay corner, the referee halted play to have
a chat with Casual defender Danny Dudley. Dudley was then shown a straight red card for
reasons unknown to most of the ground. Substitute Jack Strange replaced Johnson for
backup in defence. Luckily for the hosts, the score-line at half-time was 1-1.
As both teams emerged for second-half action, King George’s was bathed in a beautiful
sunset; the pink sky of Tolworth matching the colour on the Casual shirts. Re-ignited, the
game advanced into the latter stages with both sides giving their all. In the 63rd minute,
ten man Casuals did the unpredictable and took the lead thanks to a classy passage of
play. Josh Uzun, who had an unusually quiet match, cheekily slipped the ball to the
oncoming Bettache with a powerful assist. Bettache’s run split the defence as the
midfielder nudged the ball past the keeper before slotting into the empty net. Super Maz’s
name echoed around the ground whilst he punched the air jubilantly. Ten man Casuals
were in the driving seat.
Energetic and always keen to grab a goal, Josh Gallagher powered a shot towards the
near post of Jack Delo’s net but the shot was saved by the alert keeper. Bay were unable
to break the strong Casuals defence. Half-chances came and passed for both sides but
the score was not adjusted despite a late open goal missed by the unlucky sub Callum
McAllister. As the final whistle blew, Casuals nicked the victory whilst Herne Bay made
their journey back to Kent.
Herne Bay are on the road again on Tuesday with the on-form Sittingbourne their next
opponents. Meanwhile, Corinthians are awarded another home fixture against the
struggling East Grinstead Town on Tuesday evening.