Late Penalty Gives Casuals Crucial Win

Article by Cameron Smith

With practically the last kick of the game, Jordan Clarke’s composed last-gasp penalty deservedly sealed three points for the dominant Corinthian-Casuals at the soggy King George’s despite a valiant defensive shift from opposition Faversham Town.

Whilst referee Steven Scott whistled the fixture into action, gusts of wind and a light shower greeted the chocolate and pink shirts of Casuals and the yellow of Faversham onto the unideal surface. Slipping and sliding from the start, the game was affected by the poor weather with scrappy play from both sides. However, through the mud and rain of the first half, the hosts seemed to adapt quicker as Gabriel Odunaike’s one-on-one opportunity was saved by alert keeper Simon Overland early on. Fabulous flair from the two flanks thanks to the combination of Clarke and Dillon, who swapped wings often, created an entertaining and attacking style of play from Casuals. It was entertainment for the Casuals to an extent as the first half ended with zero goals all-round, which on reflection did not represent Corinthian’s great performance.

Danny Bracken was called into action only once in the first-half, but it was praised by the Casuals contingent as his lightning-fast reflexes saved the home side from Faversham breaking the deadlock. It was attack after attack in the second-half as Corinthians weren’t able to penetrate the Lilywhites’ defence from open play or set-pieces. Clarke remained as involved in the game as he was in the first half: he was the Faversham full-backs worst nightmare on the wing. Chances came via Odunaike and Dillon with the odd McAllister drive too and when Max Oldham and Coskun Ekim entered the fray, the midfield duo seemed to inject a fair bit of confidence in the players and supporters. Despite the domination that lasted the full forty-five minutes, it was in added time in which Casuals would strike.

Three minutes after it was signalled that four minutes would be played after the 90, sub Ekim was fed the ball in the penalty area following sustained pressure in the Faversham half. Intelligently opting to move the ball out wide, the Turk ran towards the by-line with a swift turn, but as he ran towards the ball, a Faversham player stuck his leg out and clearly caught Ekim. As soon as the no.12 fell to the ground, the referee pointed to the spot as Casuals behind the goal, on the pitch and on the bench celebrated. Placing the ball on the spot from twelve yards out, Clarke took a deep breath before expertly slotting the ball into his bottom right corner as the keeper dived the wrong way. A cool celebration to match the cool finish, Super Jordan Clarke had finally got his goal and seemed to mimic Eric Cantona when he lifted his arms outwards with a serious expression on his face. The composure was certainly Cantona-esque as the referee soon blew the whistle for full-time. One goal to nil, Faversham had been downed, and Casuals had won.

Unbelievably satisfying, the celebrations at the end of the match were superb as Casuals nicked three points from the defensive Faversham at the death - we wish the visitors all the best for the rest of the season. A trip to Ashford United and a Horsham home fixture is next on the horizon for James Bracken’s army but for now, all the Corinth supporters would have on their minds is Clarke’s coolness.

Photo credit: Stuart Tree