Corinthian Casuals 5 – 1 Godalming
The last game of the season saw the Gs travel a short trip up the A3 to the play-off chasers Casuals.
It was disappointing that some of the stalwarts of the squad were not available, meaning that there were only 10 outfield players on the day, but importantly Tom Webb the Development Squad goalie was there on his own on the bench.
Several of the promising youngsters from the Development Squad made the trip.
Oneal Garnes was in goal, Sean Mason right back, Callum Roots at left back while Chris Wales was partnered by Carl Garstang as the centre backs, Steve Brown, Nick Sowden, Rory Sellick in the middle Darren Wheeler upfront and Piers Oldland and William Efambe as the wide players.
Casuals were looking to their play-off semi with Greenwhich and hoping to see Guernsey snatch a victory as well, which would have meant they would have played it at home.
Casuals looked an impressive squad when they lined up for the kick off and looked just as threatening once they got going. Great strength, movement, and pace. But the Gs worked hard and for the first twenty odd minutes managed to neutralise them. Gs had a couple of half chances from pressing the home defence in their own half. Darren had a go with one of his chips from the edge of the box over the keeper that just went over the bar.
Unfortunately though, in shielding the ball for his keeper, the impressive Sean Mason took a painful knock, which left him limping. With no one on the bench he had to soldier on.
Chris Wales was forced into a tackle on the edge of the box and was penalise with a penalty. The Casuals 1-0 up.
Casuals are a big squad with pace and power and forced another attack on the left where the ball was played in low and fast and put away well for their second, on around 28 minutes.
Minutes later they did pretty well the same to go 3-0 up giving their No 9 Sean Okojie his hat trick after an impressive performance. No wonder he is the Leagues top goal scorer. No doubt he will be moving up the football pyramid.
If things were not bad enough already Oneal came out of his area to try to clear a ball over the defence and brought down Okojie. Receiving a straight red. That brought on Tom Webb for his second appearance and gave Sean Mason the chance to limp off. He has improved through the season and has been such a useful player fitting in well either wide or at full back.
Tom Webb then faced a stern test, but proved what a good keeper he is with a good stop from close range within minutes of coming on. So, 3-0 down at half time. No-one else on the bench, down to ten men after 28 minutes, so there were not too many choices for Dan at half time. But to their credit the lads never gave up and came out fighting again in the second half.
Proving just how physically large and strong the home team were, their right back went through several Gs players who seemed to bounce off him. Not surprising as they were like heavyweights against flyweights. Carl Garstang found a way of stopping him, but another penalty was awarded. This time the taker hit his shot wide.
Although Okojie was taken off but Casuals had a bench full of great players and another break gave them another goal from close range. 4 -0 down.
Tom made another cracking dive to cut out a low shot, but could not hold the ball and it tantalisingly rolled free for another close range goal. 5 -0 down.
Tom was called to make a number of great saves from close range against a dominant Casuals attack. But to their credit the lads did not give in and William Efambe proved how effective he can be when he got the ball well out on the left and cut inside past a couple of defenders twice his size and hit a cracking shot just inside the post to get a consolation goal back, which he has more than deserved for his effort and determination all season.
On the subject of determination what better example than Chris Wales. He was tremendous again for me in spite of the size and pace of the opposition he won the ball in the area numerous times on the ground and in the air. Joint Man of the Match for him, with Tom Webb, who was still making saves up until the last minute.
No surprise to me that the Casuals were able to beat Greenwich relatively comfortably with only 10 men for much of the game. Another mark of just how good they are. They will surely give Dorking a great game in the play-off final.
See what the future brings for the Gs with the CCL beckoning.
Corinthian Casuals Godalming
Attempts 20 5
On target 10 3
Corners 17 0
Fouls 20 9
Poss 1 Too much Too little
Poss 2 Still too much.. Too little