Corinthian-Casuals SSC Report
match report by Rupert Cane
Ten games and 50 days later, Kingstonian have won a game of football. That it came against our landlords and in arguably our most meaningful fixture remaining this season - the dreadful recent league form having put paid to any play-off hopes - only made it sweeter.
Daniel Ajakaiye netted the only goal shortly before the break with a calm finish. Despite some late Casuals pressure, it proved a deserving winner with K’s now awaiting the Surrey Senior Cup semi-final draw.
To address the goals being so regularly shipped lately, Hayden Bird switched to a 3-5-2 formation. Nyren Clunis and Fabio Saraiva fitted in well at wing-back, while Kershaney Samuels played ahead of Gus Sow and Kenny Beaney and to try and link the midfield with the twin strikers Ajakaiye and Walter Figueira.
For the most part, it worked. K’s were the better team from the off, even if there were some signs of the lack of confidence in the final third that has proven problematic of late. At the other end, aside from one bobbling effort from the home side cleared off the line, K’s looked more comfortable defending their box.
Figueira, enjoying his best game since arriving by far, stung Danny Bracken’s palms with a rasping near-post strike, while a couple of dangerous set-pieces came to nothing. The breakthrough arrived a minute before the interval. Though Gus Sow’s shot was half-blocked, the challenge took the ball into the hosts’ box where Ajakaiye was in the right place to coolly slot past Bracken.
Perhaps the most worrying moment for Julian Schwarzer all night came straight from the second-half kick-off as Kieron Cadogan tried his luck from halfway. With the keeper backpedalling and watching the ball float towards him in the night sky, he managed to tip it over his own crossbar for a corner.
Ajakaiye did an excellent Gazza-vs-Scotland impression and was unfortunate to see his volley fly over, another powerful strike was saved by Bracken, while a deflected Sow shot from range skidded onto the outside of the post as we sought a second goal that would kill the tie.
As it was, there was not one forthcoming, so for the final quarter-hour dogged defending became the order of the day as Casuals threw everything at K’s hoping to take the game to penalties. Those in yellow and blue stood their ground, though, heading and hacking everything to safety, with Schwarzer claiming the ball on a couple of occasions for good measure. It epitomised defensive resilience hitherto lacking, and earned a welcome win in our final game against Corinthian-Casuals as their tenants.
Corinthian-Casuals: Danny Bracken, Hakeem Adelakun, Peter Ojemen, Ricardo Thompson, Jack Strange, Jerry Nnamani, Ben Cheklit, Alfie Bendle, Mo Diallo, Kieron Cadogan, Misha Djemali.
Subs: Nathaniel Pinney (for Mo Diallo, 78m), Cameron Beckles, Isaac Olaniyan, Jaevon Dyer (for Ben Cheklit, 45m), Victor Koah (for Ricardo Thompson, 49m).
Kingstonian: Julian Schwarzer, Nyren Clunis, Fabio Saraiva, Simon Cooper, Ollie Cook, Alfie Young, Kenny Beaney, Gus Sow, Daniel Ajakaiye, Walter Figueira, Kershaney Samuels.
Subs: Teo Kurtaran (for Fabio Saraiva, 68m), Jay Barton (for Kershaney Samuels, 88m), David Lopes, Iker Noguera Leon, Mason Whitnell.
Goal scorer: Daniel Ajakaiye (44m, 0-1)