Article and photo by Stuart Tree
Corinthian-Casuals are still in search for their first Bostik Premier points following a 3-1 defeat to Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night.
An early goal for Invicta was the worst possible start for James Bracken’s side who found themselves 2-0 down within the first quarter of an hour before Hamilton Antonio reduced the arrears two minutes later.
However, pushing for an equaliser in the second half, Casuals left themselves open to a long ball attack which was expertly finished by Keiron McCann to seal the three points.
It couldn’t have been a harder start to the season on paper taking on two pre-season favourites. Folkestone had made the playoffs last term and were looking to go one better this year. Last time the two sides met, Invicta ran out 4-0 winners, showing the tough task facing the Amateurs.
Making things worse is the goalkeeping injury crisis at King George’s. Casuals are without all four signed, recognised keepers and Bracken had to call upon a last minute replacement in Martin Grant to take his place between the sticks.
It couldn’t have been a worse start either. Folkestone, with their first attack found themselves wide and McCann’s cross rebounded into the goal off Grants legs.
They were two up 13 minutes later. Grant made a good stop to prevent Johan Ter Horst but Casuals failed to clear their lines and the striker was able to put away the follow-up.
Corinth got back into the game minutes later when Hamilton Antonio struck a low shot from 18 yards to give the home crowd something to cheer.
Terry Murray had the best chance to equalise but the cross evaded the defender at the back post. Warren Mfula, scorer of Casuals’ first Premier goal on Saturday almost found the net with an audacious overhead kick.
Grant was called into action on a number of occasions making a smart save from a rifled 25 yard shot and the pick of the bunch, a double save to prevent the visitors from adding a third.
With Casuals pushing for an equaliser, Folkestone broke quickly from their own touchline and sent a 75 yard diagonal ball which found McCann who fired in an unstoppable shot to seal the deal.
Late on, Gil Carvalho was dismissed for Corinth following two bookings to end the night with a loss and only ten men on the field.
Once again, there were positives to take and against the division’s expected front-runners, on paper, no one expected Casuals to get much from these fixtures. The test will come against those expected to not be challenging for honours come the end of the season.