Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 22nd August 2015
Match report and Pics: Stuart Tree (all photos can be seen here)
Corinthian-Casuals came from behind to continue their unbeaten start to the season and reach the summit of the Ryman League Division One South.
Two second half goals from Emil Salama and Juevan Spencer were enough to combat Ramsgate’s opening penalty in what was a lively encounter in the August heat. It could’ve been more; Josh Uzun saw his spot kick saved and Matt Reece missed a golden opportunity to wrap it up.
James Bracken made a few changes from the 4-0 win against South Park in the week; Kevant Serbony and Emmanuel Akokhia once again started. Diego Maradona was the notable exclusion due to other commitments.
Ramsgate’s preparations were hampered by the breakdown of the team bus. Having to swap with the supporter’s coach, the players and officials made it in time, but thoughts were spared for the travelling Rams army stuck on the side of a motorway for the afternoon.
The early tempo wasn’t tempered despite the sweltering conditions, which was set to test both side’s fitness levels. Early chances fell to Emmanuel Akokhia and Danny Dudley who could only head high and wide of the Ram’s goal.
The game’s first real chances fell to the visitors; finding himself through on goal, Ian Pulman was only denied by the fine feet of Danny Bracken in goal. Minutes later, Ramsgate’s Luke Girt crashed one against the crossbar. It was evident that the Kent coasters weren’t intending on losing their own unbeaten start.
At the other end, Sekou Kaba’s fine header looped over Luke Watkins but the tall midfielder found himself in an offside position. Emil Salama produced a brilliant run which left his markers for dead but couldn’t quite convert the chance. It would’ve been a goal of the finest individual quality had it not narrowly missed the post.
After the break, The first turning point came; a high ball into the Casuals’ box wasn’t met cleanly by Serbony and the resulting bounce was adjudged to have hit his arm on the rebound. Penalty! The spot kick was calmly tucked away Pulman and the Rams had the lead.
Much like the Hythe Town game just a week before, Casuals showed that they were going to fight for the points. Akokhia narrowly headed wide from a corner and had a glorious chance to equalise after he was felled in the box by Nick Humphrey. However, Josh Uzun couldn’t make it three successful penalties in three successive games as his spot kick was saved by Watkins… the rebound not quite falling to Akokhia.
However, the screw was turning and it wasn’t long before Casuals had their equaliser. Pace started to be a real problem for the Ram’s back four and Salama found himself through on goal and slotted home much to the delight of the fans. And on 78 minutes, Juevan Spencer found himself in a similar position which ended in the same result. 2-1.
Substitute Matt Reece came close to making it three but Watkins, who was excellent all game, denied the striker. Ramsgate pushed forward in order to get an equaliser, but with a defence that’s only conceded one goal in open play this season to contend with, the Casuals comfortably held out for the win.
Casuals have now won four and drawn one of their league and League Cup campaign, resulting in the top spot for James Bracken’s side. Afterwards, he spoke to Stuart Tree;
“This was similar to our first game of the season where it was feisty at times. Maybe one or two decisions both ways were a bit unjust but when you win 2-1, you forget about all of those things. Of course, if you lose 2-1, it’s the thing on the front of your mind.
“You’ll never hear me blaming referees for results unless it’s really bad; we’re out there for 90 minutes and we should be able to win a game in that period.
“On the balance of the game, we didn’t deserve to go behind but we gave away a penalty, which happens and it was an unfortunate one. It’s not as if they’ve really worked the ball well and stretched us where we’ve committed a foul… it was just clumsiness.
“I said to them at half time that the last twenty minutes, it’ll be all us, whatever happens as the opposition will out on their feet. And to be honest, it could’ve been a lot more… four or five if we took our chances, but 2-1 is a win.
“We try to play back-to-front so you end up with a lot of the lads in advanced positions and when you get the ball around the box, you’ve got a variety of options. All of the boys are technically good enough to finish. That’s the way we want to play and it’s working at the moment so we’ll continue to do it.
“It’s a good feeling… who doesn’t want to go home top of the league? But I’ve said it for the last few games – we’ve played four league games and got forty-odd to go.
“It was a different obstacle again today. We’ve gone behind again but we found a way to come back and win. Considering the young lads we’ve got, we seem to be finding a way of turning games and getting something out of it.