Ryman League Division One South
Tuesday 18th October 2016
Match report: Cameron Smith. Pics: Andy Nunn (full set here).
On a brisk Tuesday evening at King George’s, Corinthian Casuals succumbed to a narrow 1-0 loss versus the gritty South Park in a rough Ryman Division One South clash.
Hungover from the unsatisfactory 0-0 draw against Faversham on Saturday, Casuals returned home for a Surrey-based rivalry in midweek. The opposition were South Park, who sat in ninth place in the table. The Sparks successfully took four points from Casuals last season in a 1-1 draw in Reigate before a 2-1 win in Tolworth. South Park possess a squad which has become familiar in the past few years of competition. They include: a trio of former-Corinthians (Ben King, Jake Gill and James Cottee), veteran goalkeeper James Wastell, centre-back Dylan Merchant (goalscorer in last season’s game) and Kieran Lavery, a clinical number 9.
Despite the neutral score-line, James Bracken has kept ten of the players who faced Faversham on Saturday, replacing one. Jordan Clarke was benched for Jamie Byatt.
Early warning signs flashed in the face of Casuals in the form of red shirts as they dominated the penalty area from the off. An ambitious thirty yard effort from Ben King tested Danny Bracken but it was a relatively easy save for the keeper to make. Casuals also experimented in attack, Josh Uzun forcing a low save from Wastell.
However, the visitors remained superior in possession and created a goal out of it. The dangerous Lavery superbly weaved in and out of defenders before efficiently finding the net with a neat shot. It was 1-0 to the away side on the 20 minute mark. Nevertheless, Lavery wanted more. Taking advantage of the overwhelmed Casuals defence, the striker would have scored a second if it weren’t for the staggering reflexes of Bracken, who tipped the ball over the bar. Failing to create any note-worthy chances into goals, Casuals left the pitch at half-time a goal down, lacking of creativity.
As the temperature continued to drop, the quality of the game dropped too as both sides struggled to attack. Finally in the 66th minute, Casuals were brought to life again via Mahrez Bettache. The referee awarded the hosts a free-kick on the edge of the area and despite having usual free-kick taker Uzun on the pitch, Bettache stood over it. A curling, accurate free-kick slammed against the crossbar as the chocolate and pink shirts put their hands on their heads in unison. Jack Strange’s header flew over the bar late on during many inconclusive set-pieces as the final whistle blew.
It was a deserved victory for South Park who advance a position higher in their charge for a play-off spot. A trip to Chatham is on the cards before the FA Trophy game at Chalfont St Peter. Will James Bracken’s pink and brown army bounce back on Saturday?