Ryman Division One South
Saturday 21st November 2015
Match report: Darren Pasley
Pics: Stuart Tree (view full set here)
"We’re not too downbeat. Obviously, we want to win but you can’t win them all" said Manager James Bracken after Casuals drew 1-1 at East Grinstead.
Despite their lowly position and failure to win at home this season the hosts were more than a useful side and it was clear to see why they had picked up their form of late albeit on their travels.
Stef Joseph started up front against his old side whilst the returning Michael Salako took a place on the bench as Casuals looked to get back on track following Wednesdays disappointing second 45 at Ramsgate.
The visitors made the perfect start as Juevan Spencer opened the scoring in the 4th minute. After Joseph had driven at the Wasps back line, his knock back was swung in first time on the left by Dave Hodges and after Tom Carlse had failed to head clear, the Casuals winger picked up the ball, skipped past the hapless fullback and fired low across Nic Taylor to open the scoring. (pictured above)
Casuals nearly made it 2 in the 7th minute when after Kevant Serbony and Cherno Mendy linked well in the centre of the park Spencer again on the right popped up, this time sending in a low cross for Emmanuel Akokhia but George Benner recovered to make a goal saving block.
The magnificent piece of defending was to prove pivotal as in the 12th minute the hosts equalised. A well practiced short corner was worked to the edge of the box where skipper Callum Emptage rifled into the top right hand corner.
The game was remarkably open with huge spaces for either side to exploit and it seemed only a matter of time before one took the lead. On 22 minutes Hassan Jalloh curled into Brackens arms after good hold up-play from Melford Simpson. The ex-South Kilburn and Shoreham gigantic centre forward was starting to influence the game with his sheer physical presence.
Yacine Gnahore shot wide after Brackens clearance held up in the wind as it appeared the home side had settled after their poor opening. On 26 minutes, a good move from the home side saw Leo Mazzone blast over after a low cross from Jallow was only stabbed clear.
The next 10 minutes the saw Casuals on top as the game continue to see-saw. Joseph instigating a move with his power in the centre and after finding Mendy the resulting cross just evaded Akokhia.
Mendy nearly provided again moments later but his cross just evaded the head of Spencer and on the stroke of half time Akokhia beat keeper Taylor to Dave Hodges cross but Benner was again on-hand to clear off the line.
The second half in contrast was a much tighter affair but there was an early shout for a penalty for the hosts as Simpson tumbled to the ground to no avail.
Early pressure from Casuals from set pieces was causing problems for the home defence but without reward.
Mendy had a shot just shy of the hour which was well held by Taylor not for the first time.
Substitute Hassan Ibrahim blasted a good chance over after the ball fell kindly from a corner before Stef Joseph forced Taylor into an acrobatic save tipping over his header from Sekou Kaba’s cross.
With 12 minutes remaining the home side had a huge call for a goal as Gillingham loanee Greg Cundle embarked on a run from half way and after blasting from 20 yards out his shot cannoned off the under side of the bar and appeared to bounce over the line. Fortune favoured Casuals as play on was the call and they somehow scrambled clear the rebound as the home side sensed a first home win.
Danny Dudley made a great block to deny Cundle but the last 10 minutes saw Casuals regain possession and Taylor had to be at his best to deny Mendy with a flying save to preserve his sides point.
James Bracken spoke after the much- starting with how tight it is getting around the play off positions.
“This league is really tight. When we were sitting in top spot and even second, you didn’t see me getting carried away and you won’t see me getting carried away now.
“I said to the lads weeks ago, at some point this season, we will go and win eight, nine or ten games in a row. We will. Whether they’ll see it coming or not, I know that’s coming and the lads will say ‘you were right’. We will have that run and when we do, you’ll see us hopefully put some distance between us and others in the playoffs.
“I was pleased with the performance, the attitude and the endeavour today” said Bracken after the match. “It was a completely different game in the first half compared to the second half. First half was so open with lots of chances. Second half, we controlled most of it in a territorial sense.
“We’re not too downbeat. Obviously, we want to win but you can’t win them all.
Speaking of the re-signing of Michael Salako – who returns to Corinthian-Casuals from Tooting and Mitcham, initially on a month loan, Bracken said,
“Joe (Davies – Assistant Manager) mentioned Michael to me and said he’s available. I’ve looked at the squad immediately for today’s match and Matt Reece was unavailable, Shaun Okojie is injured and I wanted to go with the front two that I went with. I felt we didn’t have a forward on the bench and Michael want’s to come in and try to force his way into our plans, then I’m more than willing to have a look at him.
“His goals per minute ratio is probably up there with others in the league. He scored four in four at Tooting but got dropped when Jamie Byatt signed for them, which was unfortunate for Mike. I know previously when he was here at Casuals, he got two on his debut and was dropped in the next match. But I’ll try to be fair with him. If he scores goals, plays well and does a job for the team, then the shirt can be his.”