Article by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals secured three points in a dramatic finale which saw Nathan Daly’s shot deflected home in the 96th minute against East Grinstead Town.
Twice, the home side were pegged back from taking the lead, but scoring with the last kick of the game ensured that couldn’t happen for a third time.
Whilst James Bracken hasn’t had the easiest run of results in the past month, three wins in the last four matches sees Casuals potentially emerge from a sticky situation relatively unscathed.
The addition of Harry Ottaway and Frazer Walker to Corinth can only bolster a squad ravaged by injuries. 37 games between August and Christmas has certainly taken its toll on Casuals and many other clubs dealing with an arduous schedule.
Harry Ottaway, scorer on his debut in the Velocity Trophy win on Tuesday made his home debut appearance as well as Frazer Walker, taking his place in a makeshift defensive line-up.
Casuals could feel confident of a victory after the 5-0 win at East Grinstead’s GAC Stadium back in August. Matt Longhurst’s side hasn’t really progressed from that point, occupying 3rd from bottom going into the match. As many attest, anyone can beat anyone in this league and the Wasps have proven that already beating Casuals’ Boxing Day opponents Carshalton Athletic back in October.
Any fears of a repeat were allayed in just the seventh minute when Ottaway converted a whipped in Gabriel Odunaike cross to give the home crowd plenty to cheer.
Cheers turned to tears just four minutes later when a defensive mix-up caused Marcus Elliott to score one of the easiest goals he’ll grab this season.
It wasn’t long before Casuals were ahead again. On 26 minutes, a cleared corner fell to Max Oldham 25 yards out and catching the keeper off his line, beautifully-lobbed Dan Smith to re-take the lead. It was one of those shots that you knew was in the moment it was struck.
To calm nerves, Casuals needed a third and continually probed the Grinstead goal. Ottaway came closest when his improvised effort hit the crossbar.
The third never came and on the hour mark, Grinstead were back in it, courtesy of Charlie Postance, who fired home into the opposite corner after a small spell of pressure.
Nerves frayed as time ticked on. A scuffle on the touchline saw one from each side sent to the stands, though the delay in sorting the melee was to prove vital. Six minutes added time was indicated and going into the fifth of those minutes, Josh Uzun whipped in a free kick that was tipped round the post by keeper Smith. The resulting corner saw Jack Strange flick on the ball to Nathan Daly who stuck out a leg to fire home. His effort, possibly going wide was made sure of finding the net when Steven Springett’s outstretched limb deflected the ball past Smith. Scenes followed as Grinstead lay dejected whilst Casuals celebrated their vital last gasp winner.
The win leaves Casuals in third, only on goal difference and three points off top spot. Casuals make the short trip to fourth-placed Carshalton on Boxing Day.
Photo credit: Stuart Tree