Article by Cameron Smith
Corinthian-Casuals leapt into the next stage of the Emirates FA Cup following a more-than-comfortable 6-0 victory over Croydon in a Preliminary Round thrashing.
Tuesday night’s Velocity Trophy clash forced James Bracken’s pink and brown army to notch five goals past Westfield after conceding an early goal. Looking to match the brilliant attacking display on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, Casuals welcomed Croydon FC to King George’s Arena. The magic of the FA Cup was already in the ground far before kick-off as the Southern Counties East Premier Division side, who beat Tunbridge Wells in the previous round to get here, lined up alongside the Bostik Premier hosts and were ready to cause an upset.
In the 12th minute, Danny Cunningham fired a low effort that bounced off the outside of the post and was then cleared, which signalled the start of a Corinthian domination. Cunningham and Mfula were linking up wonderfully upfront and were aided by a sturdy midfield that starred Coskun Ekim in a captain role. Causing havoc in the no.7 role, Gil Carvalho assisted Max Oldham with a delightful cross to the back post where the little winger collided with the goalpost instead of the actual ball. So when Mfula calmly powered home an Oldham ball in the 32nd minute, you could safely say that it had been coming.
One goal up, Cunningham fronted a hungry Casuals attack once more and was left head in hands when he missed a practically open goal after Mfula rounded the keeper and fed him the ball. This nearly cost the home side as Croydon’s only chance of the half clipped the bar in the 40th minute. Putting his previous misses behind him, Cunningham dispatched a one-on-one untidily but clinically just before half time. It was 2-0 to the Casuals at the break.
Only taking four minutes after the referee restarted play to get on the scoresheet again, on-form no.9 Cunningham was elegant in the way he guided the ball into the keeper’s bottom left hand corner to make it 3-0. Strike partner Mfula was not far behind Cunningham and he too grabbed a brace when his effort rolled over the line after a sweet touch off the post. Perhaps thinking of Bank Holiday Monday’s league clash with Kingstonian, Bracken replaced Warren Mfula in the 72nd minute for another Warren… Morgan this time! Shifting into a striker role, Morgan ditched his usual full-back spot to destroy the tired legs of the Croydon defence late on in the game. Sprinting past the keeper, Morgan decided to square the ball for Gil Carvalho and even though he was two yards out, the winger could only find the Casuals car-park in an agonising miss. Behind the goal, the Casuals contingent willed the no.7 to his feet and soon after, the newbie was chasing down defenders searching for redemption.
Although he couldn’t secure a goal, Carvalho was instrumental in the fifth goal of the match. A corner that was headed down by Reece Hannigan was controlled expertly by Carvalho before teeing up centre-half Jack Strange to slot home. Five goals and only a few minutes left saw the rapid Morgan advance on the left side of the penalty area and despite being positioned on the by-line, he managed to sneak the ball past the Croydon no.1 and into the bottom corner in an outrageous conclusion to the match.
We wish Croydon the best for the rest of the season as Casuals progress into the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The 6-0 win means that Corinthians have now scored 11 in 2 games… will this goal-scoring feat continue on Monday afternoon where Bracken’s army face Kingstonian in the Bostik Premier for an early six-pointer?
Photo credit: Stuart Tree