Article by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals had to come from behind twice to salvage a draw at playoff-contenders Sittingbourne in the Bostik League South on Saturday.
Reyon Dillon and Gabriel Odunaike’s equalisers were enough to keep James Bracken’s side in the automatic promotion spots but they had to work hard for it against a physically-imposing Bourne side.
Going into the match missing key strikers Danny Cunningham and Jordan Clarke, mixed with the absence of Dave Hodges and Nathan Daly at the back meant Bracken was forced to make several changes as Casuals looked to get back to winning ways against Nick Davies’ Brickies who have had a bright start to the season themselves.
Often the first ten minutes set the scene for the whole ninety and this wasn’t much different. Casuals spluttered and most advancements forward were easily matched by a resolute home side’s defence. 6’7” Lex Allan lapped up most of the aerial threat. Neither side created anything to trouble the highlight reel. Reyon Dillon flashed a shot wide of the mark in a rare breakthrough.
Nearing half time, Kevant Serbony clattered into John Coker and there was no hesitation in a spot-kick being awarded. Coker stepped up and sent Danny Bracken the wrong way to give the home side the lead.
However, Sittingbourne were pegged back on the stroke of half time when Dillon shrugged off several challenges before shooting low into the bottom corner to give scoreline parity. Jack Strange had a well placed header held by keeper Jordan Carey following a floated free kick from Ben Cheklit.
The second half saw Casuals emerge without an injured Coskun Ekim but still came out of their shells and looked the more dangerous. As we know, possession counts for nothing if no end product can be found and they fell behind once again; Kane Rowland tapping in from close range from a Kane Phillip cross. It looked as though the Amateur’s defence had switched off at a vital moment.
The game wasn’t done. Casuals forced more pressure and the excellent Carey was equal to most of it. Cheklit’s curling shot was well saved and the custodian turned an Odunaike shot around his post. However, the resulting corner wasn’t sufficiently cleared and Odunaike pounced, forcing the ball home from ten yards, much to the jubilation of his teammates.
The result was only Casuals third draw in the whole season and second in the league. It leaves Bracken’s side level on points with leaders Lewes but the chasing pack behind, closing in. Life isn’t easy at the top and Casuals need to put this last week behind them and get back to their winning ways.
Photo credit: Stuart Tree