FA Trophy 3rd Round Qualifying
Saturday 14th November 2015
Match report: Darren Pasley. Images from Stuart Tree (full set here).
Corinthian-Casuals progressed into the 3rd Round Qualifying of the FA Trophy for the first time in their history after Terry Murray’s goal in stoppage time dispatched of Ryman Premier side Leiston in their own manor.
In truth it was fully deserved for James Bracken’s men who in the words of their opponent’s supporters post match were “The best side we’ve seen here this season”
There was little indication of the monsoon weather conditions that were to follow as the game kicked off. The heavy overnight rain had left the pitch heavy and slippery for its inhabitants.
Casuals settled into the game early and after Ben King had found Sekou Kaba his cross saw shots from Emmanuel Akokhia and King blocked before Kaba sent a third effort just wide with a right footed drive.
The home side in the 14th minute showed their qualities for the first time with a move that started with keeper Ashlee Jones rolling the ball out and after several passes Billy Clark had a low cross from the right well cut out by Danny Bracken.
Casuals had a shout for a penalty shortly afterwards when Akokhia went down after an aerial challenge from home captain Joe Jefford but the half hearted claims were waved away.
If the Casuals 9 felt aggrieved, he responded in the perfect fashion opening the scoring in the 18th minute. Cherno Mendy played the ball out to the him out wide on the right and after stepping inside 2 defenders his left footed curling shot looped up with a deflection and spun in off the inside of the right handed up-right.
It was just reward for a confident start from the visitors whose chasing down of their hosts was forcing them to concede possession cheaply.
In spite of this, the home side found a route back into the match in the 34th minute when Danny Bracken sliding out made contact with Tom Winter and a penalty was awarded. Joe Francis finished well to bring the game level.
This spurred the home side to their best spell and they should have taken the lead 5 minutes before the break but Leon Ottley-Gooch headed wide at the back post with the goal gapping.
With the rain arriving back before and during the break the full elements of the Suffolk weather exposed itself for the duration of the second period. Again, Casuals started well with Mendy and Warren Morgan threatening down the right hand side.
The home side kicking down their favoured slope and with the wind on their backs were more dominant territorial wise than the first half but let down by the final ball, especially on their set piece delivers which were remarkably poor.
It wasn't until the last 20 minutes that the higher placed side started to threaten and after Francis fired an effort from distance wide the pressure cranked up.
Danny Bracken made a magnificent point blank save to deny Winter after Patrick Brothers left wing cross picked the striker out. However, 6 yards out, his effort was brilliantly tipped over.
Bracken again got down well to deny Winter again at his near post after the ball fell invitingly with 10 minutes remaining.
Casuals maybe should have taken the lead with 2 minutes remaining as Cherno Mendy spurned a glorious chance. Juevan Spencer won back possession from Blake Saker and found substitute Stef Joseph. After battling into the box, Kaba fed Mendy whose shot deflected off the inside of Jones’ legs and spun just the wrong side of the post.
With both sides seemingly set for a replay, deep into stoppage time, Spencer once again created problems down the left. After being upended on the edge of the box by the by-line he stepped up to take the resulting free-kick.
A curling delivery caused panic in the box and despite the close attentions of Ben King who initially claimed the goal Terry Murray was credited with nudging the ball over the line which sparked mass celebrations from players, management and the vocal travelling army behind the goal.
The win puts Corinth into the draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round and nets the club a cool £3,250 in FA prize money. After the match, Manager James Bracken spoke to Stuart Tree.
“We come here today to get a result which I felt we could achieve and we got that which is nothing less than we deserved. The boys played really well today.
“I said to them in the changing room that I have an opinion on what it is to be perfect in football, because perfect is not achievable most of the time, but today, they were perfect… every single one of them. They couldn’t have given any more.
“They not only battled but had quality about their game. They had composure too. We’ve scored two goals in a tough place to come and do so. Leiston are second in the Ryman Premier for reason. They’re a good side. However, we’ve come here and in my opinion and the opinion of most, we’ve thoroughly deserved to come away with the win.
“I heard that they described us as the best side they’ve played at home all season. They’re nice people and a couple of them have said to me that is the case. Considering we’re from the division below, that’s really nice to hear. Even though they’ve been beaten today, they’ve had nothing but compliments for us.
“Conditions weren’t ideal but you have to adapt to those and perhaps in some matches this season, we’ve not done that so well. But we’ve done it today even when the pitch by the end of the game was a slop. We’ve done the right things and played the conditions perfectly. We’ve not tried to do things that can’t be done on this pitch. We kept the game simple and stuck to our guns and worked our socks off.
“Who would I like in the next round? Another winnable game please. Try and put a few more quid in the coffers, see if we can get another scalp and have another good day like we’ve done here.”