Bank Holiday Blues For Casuals

Article by Cameron Smith

On a sour Bank Holiday afternoon, Kingstonian edged Corinthian-Casuals thanks to an unfortunate goalkeeping error that lost the “away side” three vital points at King George’s Arena.

When rumours were put to bed regarding the promotion to the Bostik Premier Division a few weeks after the play-off final loss, there was a fantastic buzz in the Casuals camp. Scanning the list of fixtures and planning all the cracking away days, there was one particular game that jumped out to many. Kingstonian away… at King George’s! With the local side ground-sharing with Tolworth-based Corinthians for the 18/19 season, the 27th August promised the easiest-to-get-to away match the Casuals contingent have ever had.

Hammering Croydon 6-0 on the Saturday and playing again on the Monday meant four changes to the starting XI, including two at the back- Juevan Spencer and Warren Morgan started in full-back positions. Gil Carvalho sat out ahead of Fraser Walker, who donned the no.7 shirt and Hamilton Antonio was introduced for Callum McAllister in midfield. Like Casuals, opponents Kingstonian only had one point to their name after five league games.

Corinth were in their white away strip whilst K’s wore the white and red stripes of their home kit. An opening thirty minutes that almost summed up the game as a whole saw both sides have chances but lack the cutting edge. Bursts of creativity from Antonio and Oldham worried the Kingston defenders early on, but despite quite a few dubious offside decisions it was the hosts that troubled the most. Set-pieces from K’s had the Casuals back line scrambling for a clearance many a time, which was after Buchanan’s narrow miss following a keeper mishap from a cross.

In the 30th minute, the golden opportunity of the half arrived in the form of Warren Mfula drive following a tricky run on the wing. The powerful effort forced a good save from K’s no.1 Rob Tolfrey as it rebounded for a corner kick. Possession shifting from one side to the other was what occurred in the remaining minutes of the half as the vocal Casuals supporters switched ends with the Kingstonian fans for the second slice.

A second half that saw more of the same… until a set-piece where Corinth support were nearly thrust into delirium behind the goal. Reece Hannigan was free at the back post and even though the centre-back was in a glorious position, his great header was nodded onto the post by K’s defender Josh Webb before it was cleared. A brilliant chance created by a brilliant header was only lacking one element- luck.

And unfortunately, that luck evaded Casuals keeper Bradley Comins too. In the 76th minute, the no.1 controlled the ball just inside the penalty area and instead of kicking it out of danger he attempted to fool the oncoming Elliott Buchanan, but failed and was dispossessed. Easily tapping into the open net, the no.9 wheeled away in jubilant celebration whilst Comins was the complete opposite. Minutes after, Jordan Clarke entered the fray for Corinthians in an attempt to rattle the K’s defence. It was a smart tactic from Bracken; Clarke ran Kingstonian ragged for the last eleven minutes with terrific moments of skill, pace and passion but he couldn’t find an equaliser, like the rest of the eleven. Full-time saw Kingstonian walk away from King George’s Arena with a big three points and a narrow 1-0 victory.

Onwards and upwards was the main message from the Casuals contingent to the players after the 90 minutes as Brightlingsea Regent visit on Saturday.

Photo credit: Stuart Tree