Wednesday 4th March 2015
Ryman League Division One South
Match report and pic: Stuart Tree
Jamie Byatt scored for a third consecutive league match to earn Corinthian-Casuals a hard-fought point at Waterside Drive but Manager Matt Howard issued an apology to anyone watching their performance.
Speaking after the match, which ended one apiece, Howard said “I apologise to anyone who paid to watch that tonight… it was dire. That’s probably the worst game of football I’ve ever seen in my life. It was awful.
“I’ll state now that we will never ever play that bad ever again. We were shocking tonight!”
Corinthian-Casuals travelled the short distance with a depleted squad, having both first choice centre-backs unavailable. In their place were the extremely green replacements of Jake Downs and Andy Mills – the number of first team appearances between them could be counted on one hand.
There was also a return for Steve Goddard who hadn’t donned the Casuals’ shirt since October. Jamie Byatt once again took on the Captaincy in place of the missing Joe Hicks.
Walton Casuals came into the match on the back of two league defeats but had recently climbed out of the relegation places. This wasn’t going to be as easy a task to get three points as the previous league meeting between the two back in August – Corinth winning 4-1.
And so it proved; Walton took the early lead through Scott Day. Goalkeeper Danny Bracken was unable to hold onto a vicious shot and the resulting fumble fell to the number 10 who stabbed home from close range.
Corinth were unperturbed by going a goal down and good interlinking play between Jamie Byatt and Dave Hodges saw the latter’s shot curl just wide of the far post.
Minutes later, neat forward play from the visitors saw a penalty awarded and Byatt immediately stepped up, looking to make amends for the saved spot kick on Saturday. With his trademark long run-up, Byatt placed it to the left of Tom Wellham and levelled the scores.
In what can only be described accurately as ‘scrappy’, chances fell to both sides who could’ve capitalised better on the misfortunes of either defence. Byatt and Spencer had excellent chances in a goalmouth scramble (a common theme for the evening) and Danny Green’s 20 yard effort screamed over the bar. Walton did have the ball in the net on the stroke of half time, but the referee adjudged the Stag’s forward to have committed a foul on Bracken in the process.
The second half began with Charlie Carter replacing Goddard to make his debut for the club. Walton pressed for a second goal and came close when the ever-dangerous Day struck the crossbar. The Stags almost bundled another goal in similar fashion to the first, but this time Bracken was there to turf the ball out of play.
The only real notable chance for Corinth fell in the dying minutes as Charlie Carter had a chance to cap his debut with a goal, but his excellent effort was matched by Wellham in goal.
Afterwards, Matt Howard spoke of the performance.
“Before the game I’d have said that was two points dropped but after the match, that’s a point gained. I apologise to anyone who paid to watch that tonight… it was dire. That’s probably the worst game of football I’ve ever seen in my life. It was awful.
“Six or seven weeks ago, we’d have lost that, but we’ve mustered a draw. With the players that we have out, if you’d have said before the game against Whyteleafe that we’ll take four points from there and here, I’d have been happy.
“But I do feel we’ve dropped two points here after getting the win on Saturday. It’s a good point but I’ll state now that we will never ever play that bad ever again. We were shocking tonight!
“Walton Casuals will win games for sure. They’ll be livid though… that’s two points dropped for them.
“Our situation in the league is a strange one. We’re still looking over our shoulder at the teams below but we’re also thinking ‘how far can we push up the table’?”