Corinthian-Casuals match report
Match report by James Maw.
Well that was fun, wasn’t it?
Kingstonian dug deep to secure a hard-earned victory ‘at home’ to our landlords Corinthian-Casuals at King George’s Field.
Hayden Bird handed a second K’s start to Andre Coker, with Reece Hall making his first start in six weeks, replacing Dan Bennett in the starting XI.
Casuals started brightly with a first half performance belying their status as the Isthmian Premier League’s basement boys.
Odunaike and Ben Cheklit both tested Rob Tolfrey in the early stages, before former-K Nathaniel Pinney saw a goal disallowed for offside.
The ball was in the K’s net again a few minutes later, and this time it stood. Tolfs could only parry a shot from Brad Wilson, and Cheklit was there to slot in the rebound. It was a deserved lead.
The ‘travelling’ fans were elated, but thankfully the goal only served as a shot in the arm for a Kingstonian side who hadn’t lost a league match in nine.
Eddie Dsane, once again industrious in his forward play, drilled a sweetly-struck shot past Danny Bracken and into the bottom corner to ensure K’s only trailed for eight minutes.
The second half saw K’s wrestle more control of the ball, if not create a great deal more chances.
Casuals enjoyed another good spell after the break but as the second half wore on Kingstonian were the side pushing harder for a winner.
The fact ‘visiting’ keeper Bracken went into the book for time-wasting as early as the 68th minute (albeit harshly) was probably an indication of the differing mindsets.
As the minutes ticked away Casuals sat deeper, and it looked as though they’d earned a point as the game entered injury time.
Then it all went off.
With K’s having penned Casuals back in their own penalty area, the ball fell to substitute Dan Bennett in the D. As he surged dangerously into the box, he was caught by a desperate lunge from a Casuals defender. The referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Despite the best efforts of Casuals’ furious players (we’re talking schoolboy-style penalty spot scuffing and textbook delaying tactics) Tommy Kavanagh was fully-focused and walloped the ball past Bracken to send the K’s fans behind the goal into raptures.
The limbs were even wilder when Bennett found himself in acres of space two minutes later, cruising towards Bracken’s goal before nonchalantly dinking the ball over the Casuals keeper. Bedlam.
It didn’t feel like K’s had played as well as in the recent run of impressive-but-frustrating draws against the division’s top sides, but it got the job done.
“That was our worst performance in a long, long time,” Hayden Bird told the ever-popular Jamie Cutteridge after the full-time whistle. “We’ve suffered all these draws, but today we’ve won - that’s the crazy thing about football.
“We should give credit to Corinthian-Casuals. I think it’s fair to say they really wanted to win and they really played with an edge. We stressed the importance of the occasion to our players and how you deal with that situation, but the truth is we dealt with it a lot better in the FA Trophy than we did today.
“We came in at half-time a little fortunate to be at 1-1 but in the second half, even though we were still quite a long way from our best, I think we started to control it and get on the front foot.”
Corinthian-Casuals: Danny Bracken, Juevan Spencer, Matthew Parsons, Jack Strange, Robert Jamison, Coskun Ekim, Bradley Wilson, Matty Bakare, Gabriel Odunaike, Nathaniel Pinney, Ben Cheklit.
Subs: Ollie Sitch (for Ben Cheklit, 71m), Hakeem Adelakun, Warren Morgan (for Nathaniel Pinney, 83m), Kevant Serbony (for Matty Bakare, 65m), Jack Tucker.
Goal scorers: Ben Cheklit (31m, 0-1), Eddie Dsane (38m, 1-1), Tom Kavanagh (90m pen, 2-1), Dan Bennett (90+3m, 3-1)