Article by Cameron Smith
Corinthian-Casuals couldn’t have started the New Year on a better note; a vital 1-0 victory over Walton Casuals pushed the ecstatic hosts back into third place thanks to a brilliant bullet header from the superb Harry Ottaway, who sealed three points in Corinthians’ first game of 2018.
Was it entertaining? Sort of. The first-half was mainly controlled by the hosts as Corinth had a flow of golden opportunities in the attacking third. Ottaway was already causing chaos in the Walton defence as the striker’s non-stop movement and involvement in attacks left gaps of all sorts in the back four. It was Ottaway who managed to swing a looping cross towards the back post after a corner fizzled out- the ball met the head of no.4 Daly, who got a powerful header on target as the defender tried his best to convert. Daly’s flick bounced off the crossbar before the rebound fell to the off-balance Odunaike, who could only thwack the ball out for a goal kick. Corners galore, Josh Uzun jogged out wide to take his trademark set-piece often in the first half, with his best kick landing perfectly for Jack Strange but the youngster’s header hit the side netting.
Scrappy at times, the fixture resulted in many breaks in play for fouls with Walton hardman Daryl Coleman at the centre of appeals from the home side after he raised his hands at Ottaway, but only escaped with a yellow card. Former-Walton winger Oduanike was linking up well with Ottaway and others throughout the first half against his former club, but he wasn’t able to get the decisive goal. Perhaps losing focus towards the end of the half, Corinthians nearly allowed Walton to draw first blood, but a header from inside the six-yard box after a flashing cross somehow was guided over the bar. Half-time at King George’s saw both Casuals go without a goal into the next 45.
Solid efforts from keeper Denzel Gerrar and a sturdy Walton defence irritated Corinthians in the second half as half-chances came and went for the hosts in a fixture all about mentality, not just physicality. Daly was at the forefront of another great chance when his booming low effort just missed the post. Cheklit’s creativity, Max Oldham’s energy, Odunaike’s pace, Uzun’s set-piece speciality, McAllister’s cool head and Ottaway’s instinctiveness looked lethal on paper, but in reality, was being closed down well by Walton. And as Reyon Dillon entered the fray, the loud and optimistic Corinth supporters must have had the thought of another goalless draw in the back of their minds with five minutes to go. That was, until Josh Uzun was fed the ball just outside the area, on the left flank.
Uzun effortlessly flicked the ball over a bewildered navy shirt to glide past the obstruction as Corinth began another hopeful assault on the Walton defence. The no.10 was willed on by the extremely supportive contingent behind the goal who all rushed forwards in anticipation of what the terrific midfielder would do next. He then composed himself, glanced at Ottaway in the centre of the area, and clipped a pinpoint cross towards the no.9. Ottaway was ready to get his head on the perfectly angled assist, and in the 86th minute, connected with the ball that flew past the keeper and nestled into the bottom left corner. It was from quite a distance, but Ottaway’s nod had Walton’s no.1 helpless as he clutched thin air when he the ball bounced past him. Mobbed by team-mates, Ottaway raised a solitary fist in celebration whilst many Walton players were on the floor in despair. Meanwhile behind the goal, Harry’s header sent supporters into mayhem as Corinth had finally got their goal.
Four minutes later, it was full-time. A remarkable header from the impressive Harry Ottaway had sealed three, monumental points for Corinthian-Casuals; Walton Casuals left South London with zero points.
Photo credit: Andy Nunn