Saturday January 11 – The BetVictor Isthmian League Premier Division
Horsham 1-0 Corinthian-Casuals
Martin Read – Sports Reporter
A penalty a quarter of an our before the end was sufficient to give Horsham all three points against visiting Corinthian-Casuals last Saturday, the Hornets having beaten them 2-1 at Tolworth in October. While a win is always welcome, this was not a game that will dwell too long in the memory, between play off hopeful Horsham and historic Casuals, flirting with relegation – currently with the second lowest goal scoring record in the league. Horsham controlled the first half with almost constant possession, but creating limited scoring opportunities, whereas Casuals mounted very few attacks, leaving Hornets’ keeper George Bentley with little to do. The second half was a more even contest.
An early Horsham free kick resulted in a corner, headed wide by the diving Rob O’Toole, followed by another set piece – blazed over – and a further corner. Charlie Harris was then crunched, the rebound from Joe Shelley’s header being impressively cleared by visiting keeper Danny Bracken, before O’Toole broke through, only to fire across the goal mouth. A rare Casuals foray came to nothing ahead of an unthreatening Horsham free kick from the edge of the area, until, just before the break, Bentley had to run out to punch clear, Ben Checklit almost hitting the corner flag with his subsequent effort and then cork-screwing well wide again, the score remaining goal-less at the break.
The livelier second half began with an immediate Horsham attack headed wide, but, with Casuals looking far more positive, Mathias Bakare was through and clear, Bentley being forced to save with his feet. Then, Bakare tried again, but was well off target. Suddenly Casuals looked a different team, but Oliver Sitch was unable to connect with a potential supply. Horsham responded, but Bracken gathered comfortably, skipper Will Miles following up with a speculative distant drive. A Harris strike culminated in a corner, Bracken dropping the ball twice without consequences. Casuals had become more organised and purposeful, yet, at the end of a series of fouls, O’Toole was floored, sub Harry Mills giving Horsham the lead from a well-taken penalty. Casuals rang the changes, but Kevant Serbony’s opportunity of an equaliser fizzled out with his wayward shot, then, in the dying minutes, Coskun Ekim was given a red card for abuse of officials, with just time for O’Toole to head over the resultant free kick, terminating the run of the mill encounter.
On Saturday, looking to move on from a hat trick of away losses, Horsham make the short away trip to 20th in the table Merstham, whom they despatched 4-0 at The Camping World Stadium in October. Meanwhile, the Hornets remain third, three points behind Folkestone and five shy of leaders Worthing.