Ryman Division One South
Saturday 4th February 2017
Match Report Cameron Smith: Photo Stuart Tree (Full set HERE)
Gloriously glancing the ball beyond the helpless goalkeeper, centre-back Jack
Strange’s winner in the 78th minute secured three vital points to overcome a
courageous Whyteleafe side at Church Road.
Following last week’s devastation versus Carshalton Athletic, Casuals travelled to their
second away game of the new year in East Surrey, home of Whyteleafe FC. The Leafe
were situated in 15th place and were also recovering from a loss- 2-1 versus Molesey left
them hovering in the bottom half of the table. Whyteleafe are a unique club that boasts a
3G surface, which has established Church Road as a fortress with impressive results
against Dorking Wanderers, Hythe Town and Chipstead this season alone.
Corinthians’ first eleven was littered with changes. Juevan Spencer’s dismissal left a space
in Casuals’ defence and James Bracken inserted Dave Hodges at left-back, causing
Warren Morgan to revert to right-back. In the final third, Jamie Byatt and Jordan Clarke
returned to the starting XI with the two Joshes (Uzun and Gallagher) benched. The white
shirts of Leafe and the chocolate and pink shirts of Corinth started the match.
The first half was filled with wasted potential and close calls, Corinth were the side that
started the brightest as Jordan Clarke’s flair and trickery was showcased when he squared
the ball for Morgan, positioned on the edge of the area. The adventurous full-back
attempted to guide the ball past keeper Bridle-Card’s near post but a strong save kept the
scores level. Then, an unfortunate injury sustained to Jamie Byatt resulted in an early
subsitution- Josh Uzun was the replacement. Sam Clayton’s wayward effort and Scott
Day’s audacious header were the main opportunities for the home side, who lacked a
crucial attacking edge. Casuals’ Shaun Okojie kicked the astro turf as the best chance of
the half was narrowly missed; the frustrated striker nodded just over the crossbar. It was
0-0 at half-time.
In the second 45, Okojie had a vengeance to defeat Bridle-Card after missed chances in
the first half. Cuskun Eskim curled a terrific through ball that landed brilliantly at the feet of
Okojie minutes after the referee began proceedings. Super Shaun cut back expertly but
was rejected by a heroic block from Tyler Brown before the rebound was routinely saved
by the Leafe no.1. Jack Strange found the ball stuck between his feet in an awkward
position in the 60th minute and lost possession but Daniel Ajakaiye slotted the ball into the
gloves of Danny Bracken, who brilliantly prevented an opening goal for the Leafe.
Threatening once more, the hosts forced another save out of Bracken with the goalkeeper
clearing after Day slammed an effort towards the near-post.
With time ticking and only twelve minutes remaining, Jordan Clake’s quick free-kick to
Hodges caught Whyteleafe off guard. Hodges found himself with lots of space on the left
flank and delivered a wonderful cross into the bustling goalmouth. Sprinting to grab the
essential touch, Strange leaped into the air and glanced a superb header over the
committed keeper and into the net. The vocal Corinthians contingent were even more
ecstatic than the delighted players; Strange was engulfed by the mob of Casuals fans.
Netting the winner in style, the centre-back ensued constant chanting from the away side
until the referee blew for full-time. A tremendous victory encapsulated by a single touch of
the ball from Jack Strange, James Bracken’s army had earned an apt clean sheet and
played felicitous football for three, triumphant points.
Next on the fixture list, Corinth are back at King George’s for a clash versus East
Grinstead Town on Tuesday evening before Chatham Town visit Tolworth next Saturday.
Casuals are in eighth place and have two games in hand over opposition surrounding