Article and photo by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals suffered a set-back in their promotion bid from the Bostik League South succumbing to a 1-0 defeat against fellow contenders Cray Wanderers.
A 10th minute Junior Dadson goal was enough to separate the sides condemning Casuals to their first defeat in nine games. Their cause wasn’t helped when striker Gabriel Odunaike was dismissed following an off-the-ball incident.
Though winning each of their last eight matches, Bracken’s side looked lethargic to begin with. Cray pounced on 10 minutes. A defensive mistake from the visitors drew Casuals in to attack but a quick break down the channel saw Charlie Macdonald cross into the box where Dadson was on hand to volley home.
Casuals rarely troubled Nick Blue in the Cray goal though Harry Ottaway had a claim for a penalty turned down following what appeared to be a push in the box. Wanderers could certainly feel aggrieved that they also weren’t awarded a spot kick when Dadson was felled by Jack Strange.
Corinth’s approach to the second half was in stark contrast to the insipid display in the first. Though it took a controversial catalyst to get them going. With play up the other end of the field, Gabriel Odunaike and Jay Leader were involved in an off the ball altercation. With other players intervening, Leader fell to the floor dramatically clutching his face. After lengthy discussions, the match officials concluded that Odunaike must’ve struck Leader and dismissed the striker from the field of play. Whilst Odunaike’s reaction to being sent off cannot be condoned, it was telling in its ferocity of injustice at the decision.
The altercation sparked Casuals into life and despite being down to ten-men, took the game to the Wands. Jordan Clarke forced a fine save from Blue to prevent the equaliser. Harry Ottaway’s inventive looping header clipped the top of the net and Terry Murray volleyed just over. Though wave after wave of Casuals attacks came, the Cray defence stood steadfast and looked to counter. Charlie Macdonald was expertly thwarted by Danny Bracken at the other end.
Despite the intensity of the first half, the failure to get out of the blocks in the first 45 minutes ultimately cost Casuals a ninth win on the spin. The Wands are the only side to have done the double over Corinthian-Casuals this season and on both occasions, were worthy of the three points.