Article and photo by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals let a two-goal lead slip at Ramsgate on Saturday, ensuring more work needs to be done to guarantee a playoff place in the Bostik League South.
First half goals from Max Oldham and Harry Ottaway gave the visitors the lead but Ramsgate struck back in the 56th minute from the penalty spot and equalising with less than ten minutes remaining.
“There’s always goals in this fixture,” I worriedly predicted, after the previous three seasons had seen sixteen goals shared between the sides. Last season’s dramatic 4-3 win was as tough as they come on the heart and previous to that, Casuals had let a two-goal half-time lead slip to lose 3-2 on a windy Wednesday evening.
Casuals came without a win to their name in three, though Cray, Walton and Lewes were hardly the three you’d pick as three-point bankers. Ramsgate were on a run of reasonable form having won five of their last eight matches. Southwood a notoriously tough place to raid for precious points.
The visitors began bright, with Oldham heading home from a Josh Uzun corner on 17 minutes – the ball apparently moving in slow motion before finally crossing the line.
Corinth then had to soak up some sustained pressure as Ramsgate pumped balls into the box on a continual basis. Gareth Williams called into action on occasion, expertly tipping one over.
Despite this, the lead was doubled when Ottaway latched onto a perfect through ball and calmly finished. It was a classic counter-attack and appeared to deflate the hosts. Everything was positive at half-time.
The second half was a stark contrast to the controlling first. Despite having half chances to further extend the lead, Ramsgate were given a lifeline when a foul on the edge of the box saw Aaron Millbank step up. Casuals’ keeper Gareth Williams got a hand to the shot but was unable to keep it out.
Josh Uzun came closest for Casuals when his delicate lob left Luke Watkins stranded with only the crossbar making a last ditch intervention.
But on 81 minutes the comeback was complete when Ramsgate broke and a cross into the box saw Rory Smith head home to level the scores. Jamie Byatt and Ottaway both had good chances to re-take the lead but in the end it was Gareth Williams who had to make a superb last ditch save in added time to prevent Casuals coming away pointless.
Whilst James Bracken’s side were unable to take all three points, playoff rivals Walton Casuals suffered a defeat meaning Corinth require four points from their last three matches to guarantee a playoff position.