Article by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals hit the summit of the Bostik League South with a routine 3-0 win over lowly but spirited Ashford United.
Two goals from Reyon Dillon sandwiched Max Oldham’s strike to propel Casuals two points clear of second place Lewes, who have a game in hand.
Matches like this have often been a thorn in the side of James Bracken’s ambitions with potential ‘banana skin’ slip-ups against those struggling at the foot of the table.
Despite a resounding 6-1 win at South Park on Tuesday night, Bracken made five changes to the starting XI and admitted afterwards that he had ten players unavailable through either suspension or injury. What has been evident this campaign is the strength in depth.
Ashford have struggled in their first season back at Step Four but on this afternoon, they showed that they’re a better side than perhaps league position suggests. Though Fraser Walker gifting the ball to Reyon Dillon in the eighth minute didn’t help their cause. The defender misjudged a pass which let the imposing striker freely shoot from 20 yards into the bottom corner to give Casuals the early lead.
Was this to be another straightforward victory? Not immediately. Though retaining the bulk of the possession and territory, Casuals didn’t quite click, especially where it mattered. Delivery from wide areas were nowhere near as clinical as at South Park. That’s not to say chances didn’t go begging. Dillon’s slip in the six yard box at the crucial moment prevented him from bagging a first-half brace. By the end of the 45 minutes, Ashford had grown into the game and put late pressure on the Casuals defence.
The second half saw more frustration as Corinth looked to put the game to bed. Dillon’s bundled effort was adjudged to have been offside and the score remained at a precarious 1-0. Josh Uzun’s whipped free kick was safely held by Aaron Lee-Wharton in goal. Max Oldham’s improvised scissor kick, parried from a Lee-Wharton save was aimed just wide. Frustrating, especially as Casuals’ promotion-chasing rivals were all losing.
Thankfully, with 20 minutes remaining, Oldham put the game out of Ashford’s sight. Man of the Match Mu Maan played a perfect pass to the zippy American who had no hesitation in placing the ball between Lee-Wharton’s legs to make it 2-0.
Dillon wrapped up the proceedings in the 82nd minute converting a Gabriel Odunaike cross and celebrating with his now trademark knee slide. Job done. Casuals made hard work of it at times and Ashford have some real quality which they’ll look to build upon in the coming weeks.
Photo credit: Stuart Tree