Casuals Leave It Late At High Road

Article by Cameron Smith

Shaun Brown’s satisfying tap-in in the 90th minute and Max Oldham’s terrific finish in the final minute of added time secured a theatrical late comeback for Corinthian-Casuals at High Road - the home of the stodgy yet unfortunate Chipstead FC.

It was a surprisingly warm winter’s afternoon at High Road in Surrey as the mid-table Chips entertained the Casuals on a bumpy, worn-down surface, but it was nothing to do with the weather that affected the performances in the first-half. Little to no chances, Casuals seemed to fall flat in attack as potential opportunities seemed to be easily thwarted by the confident Chipstead back four. Casuals’ opposition were not able to beat Danny Bracken either until the 20th minute when they were awarded a penalty. Nathan Daly was given a yellow card for a collision in the area and Leon Lalor-Dell was the dispatcher from 12 yards. A convincing penalty kick from the no.11 had put Chipstead 1-0 up, and Casuals 1-0 down.

The rest of the first half could be summed up in a single word. Dire. James Bracken’s side were not testing the away team’s back four enough for the chance of the equaliser and it was the same for Chipstead, who couldn’t get their second and deciding goal. The referee then signalled for half-time as encouragement from the good dose of Casuals supporters hoped to improve the dreary performance from the Tolworth side.

Injected with the energy of the half-time team talk from the Brackens, Corinth had a brilliantly frantic and passionate spell where Michael Sibley’s defence were apprehensive of the approaching waves of attack. It was brief, but showcased the fact that Casuals were able to break Chipstead. It was an agonising wait until evidence for this showed up as efforts from substitute Shaun Brown, Herring and Clarke kept the hosts busy. Moments after the fourth official signalled four minutes of injury time, Coskun Ekim ventured from his defensive position to have a shot at goal and it was powerful enough for Sibley to drop, which made the ball fall into the path of Shaun Brown perfectly. The striker tucked the chance away with ease and whilst the Chipstead players appealed for offside, the referee turned them down. 1-1 at the death!

Brilliant scenes in the previously-tense away end, Casuals supporters found themselves willing on their team to do the unthinkable and grab the winner. With the clock ticking down, the Chips decided to try and counter attack Casuals with men rushing forwards. This hampered their defence; James Bracken’s side had countered the counter! Odunaike was fed the ball and poised to shoot when he was clean in on goal, but a remarkable sliding tackle swept him off his feet at the last moment. Luckily, Oldham was there to pick up the pieces. The Eminem lookalike took a generous touch into space on the right flank before composing himself and aiming for the far left corner that Sibley thought he had covered. An equal amount of power and accuracy in a single shot had directed the ball straight into the desired corner as Oldham recognised his heroics with an epic removal of the t-shirt. Incredulous scenes ensued as the pink, brown, blue (our keeper Danny Bracken) and black (assistant coach Jon Williams) piled on top of the overwhelmed Oldham. Meanwhile behind the goal, the supporters were in hysterics over the superb last-second finish from the no.11 and had rushed across the away end in celebration.

It was a jubilant four minutes that had seen Casuals score twice in added time to win the game and beat the downtrodden Chipstead. Man of the moment Max Oldham received a second yellow card after the goal due to his insane celebrations and will miss the league fixture next Saturday.

At full-time, Corinthians had one last period of celebration as the players and staff exchanged thank-you’s behind the goal following the monumental away effort. It had been a heart-stopping climax to a disappointing game overall- Casuals were in 3rd with an extra three points in the bag. We wish Chipstead FC the best of luck for the rest of the season. After the excitement of Oldham’s last-gasp winner, Casuals would have to calm themselves for the trophy clash versus Bostik Premier Division side Billericay Town on Monday night before Sittingbourne arrived at King George’s on Saturday 24th.

Photo credit: Stuart Tree