Article and photo by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals suffered a major blow to their promotion chances when Goalkeeper and Captain Danny Bracken suffered a nasty injury which could rule him out for the rest of the season.
With just twenty minutes gone at Walton Casuals, Bracken looked to have made a routine save but instantly looked distressed as he seeked medical attention.
“It doesn’t look good for my brother,” said Manager and elder of the two James Bracken. “Hopefully it isn’t too bad. He’s distraught. He prides himself on being available every week and the levels of performance he puts in is unreal.
James Bracken also took to Twitter after the match to say “To see any player suffer an injury like today is hard. When it's your brother it makes it wrenching. Everyone at Corinthian-Casuals needs to keep stepping up. Me included. You don't replace a Danny Bracken. You can't. But he'll be back soon just like we'll be ready 3pm Saturday.”
Casuals already had the tough task of trying to prise three points from their Walton namesakes who’d only lost once at their new Elmbridge Sports Hub ground. Anthony Gale’s side are also in contention for at least a playoff berth with just six games of the regular season left.
Corinth had snuck a last gasp 1-0 win over Walton back on New Year’s Day but this time, they’d face former Captain Joe Hicks – commanding as ever in defence. Casuals were without Walton’s ex-hitman Gabriel Odunaike through suspension and Harry Ottaway took a place on the bench after suffering from illness over the weekend.
However, plans were thrown into chaos with the injury to Danny Bracken. With no replacement keeper on the bench, eyes turned to Josh Uzun – possibly the smallest player on the field to act as the last line of defence.
What occurred was an astounding display of shot stopping from the young striker. Uzun made a string of excellent saves to prevent a counter-attacking Walton from taking the lead. Corinth had to ride their luck at times with the crossbar and post coming to their rescue. Taking nothing away from the substitute keeper’s performance, Uzun made saves that Danny Bracken himself would’ve been proud to have made. The back four of Walker, Murray, Strange and Morgan were excellent in protecting their teammate and Coskun Ekim was imperious before a knee injury ended his afternoon.
For the most part, Walton were able to keep Corinth’s sustained pressure. Max Oldham had the best chance of the afternoon when breaking free on the right, lashed a vicious shot which was expertly matched by Denzel Gerrar in the Walton goal.
Walton will feel aggrieved that they didn’t capitalise on Corinth’s bad luck and both sides failed to gain ground on their promotion rivals. However, this very much felt like a win for Casuals supporters who gave a rapturous applause for their new goalkeeping hero.