Robert Dyas League Cup 2nd Round
Tuesday 6th October 2015
Match report: Darren Pasley
Pics: Andy Nunn (view full set here)
‘We’re in it to win it’ was the message from Manager James Bracken after seeing his side win their 4th match in a row with a 3-1 home win over Carshalton Athletic in the Robert Dyas League Cup.
It was a very wet night at King Georges Arena with both sides making a three or four changes to their regular line ups. Despite the fine surface, it looked to be a tricky night in store as several players lost their footing in the opening stages.
This was not just restricted to the outfield competitors with keeper Danny Bracken nearly fumbling a long range effort from Bobby Price in the 7th minute but the skipper was relieved to see the ball drop the other side of the post and out for a corner.
Kingsley Aikhionbare was the apparent threat to the hosts early on and he had a 30 yard effort just over as the visitors seemed to settle and press forward.
Casuals first foray into opposition waters saw Cherno Mendy skip past Hamilton-Downes but the low cross was excellently handled by keeper Matt Willard.
Aikhionbare continued to cause problems and in the 24th minute after slipping inside Ross Defoe, his goal-bound effort beat Bracken but not the covering Danny Dudley who cleared to safety off the line.
Ex-Casuals midfielder Lee Hall popped a low skidding effort just past the far post as the Robins seemed the much more likely to open the scoring in the early stages. Indeed it was Aikhionbare again who came even closer this time seeing his 32nd minute effort come back off the post after he had spun his marker inside the box.
Out of nothing Casuals took a 34th minute lead. Kevant Serbony being brought down on the right wing and the resulting free kick from Josh Uzun wasn't attacked by the defence and Danny Dudley lofted a side-footed effort from 10 yards into the top corner.
The lead was quickly doubled 4 minutes later when after Stef Joseph chased down a clearance his physical presence un-nerved visiting skipper Sinclair and after powering through he rounded Willard and slid home left footed into the net.
Carshalton hit back almost immediately and on the balance of play it was the least they deserved although the goal came in fortunate circumstances. Debutant Rommel Hunte-Christie who has been promoted from the academy saw a cross-cum-shot on the right deflect off Defoe and loop into the top corner for a 40th minute reply.
Barely 3 minutes after the restart Casuals were handed the chance to go two goals back in front. Luke Pigden handling inside the box and although he was unlucky, with his arms out wide, the referee was left with no choice.
The trusty Josh Uzun emphatically smashed home his 3rd penalty in 4 days to put the hosts back in the ascendancy.
The second period saw a much more controlled display from James Bracken's side and Stef Joseph was unlucky not to add to his tally with an hour gone as a low left footed effort flew across goal and out of play.
Niall Wright was unlucky with a 67th minute drive from the edge of the box that brought a great handed save from Willard before Bracken at the other end was well placed to foil Aikhionbare when it seemed the striker was through on goal.
Former Casuals manager Matt Howard threw on Josh Phillips and Ricky Korboa in a bid to get back into the tie and his changes did have an impact with the latter a threat down the flanks. It was Phillips that saw a 77th minute shot charged down by Terry Murray and the game had its second spot kick. This time however there was no goal as Danny Bracken foiled his teammate from last season Lee Hall with his legs after the midfielder had blasted straight down the middle.(pic below)
This seemed to knock any remaining hope out of the visitors and it was a comfortable ending to the game with both sides mustering up a couple of half chances but no serious threat on goal.
James Bracken commented after the match.
“We made a few changes tonight. A few of the boys were due a run out and it gave us an opportunity to look at those who’d been on the bench for a few games. They didn’t do themselves any harm at all; Stef (Joseph) has come in and done what I know he can do. He’s different to Mani (Emmanuel Akokhia) but in good ways. It was nice to get him out there and get him a goal for his confidence.
“I didn’t go with a weakened team tonight – just a changed side. We’ve got a good squad and we can afford to leave one or two out and it doesn’t weaken us, just changes our style slightly.
“First half I thought we were a bit sloppy and we were probably fortunate to be leading at half time. That was the only real positive to take from the 45 minutes.
“But second half, we’ve played well and been in control. It could’ve been one or two more goals with the possession we had and overall we deserve to be in the next round and that’s what counts.
“Danny (Bracken) will beat himself up with the start that he had. He can make ten one-on-one saves yet make one little error and he’ll punish himself for that. He’s very critical of his own game because he wants to be the best that he can be. One or two slips tonight didn’t cost us any goals and the pitch was slippery and it isn’t easy for any keeper.
“But he’s done well on the penalty save. He had to wait a little while for the penalty kick to be taken – probably a little while longer than he’d want to. But Lee Hall hasn’t stuck it in the corner… he’s planted it straight down the middle and Dan’s done well to stop it.
“We want to win this competition. I want to win everything. We showed in pre-season that we can compete with teams from the league above. I feel like we’re getting stronger with every performance. We’ve won six out of the last seven including four on the bounce and we’re on a nice little run.