Greenwich Borough 2-0 Corinthian-Casuals - It's nice to get that little bit of luck tonight and we're moving on nicely, says Greenwich Borough boss Gary Alexander

Tuesday 03rd October 2017
Greenwich Borough 2 – 0 Corinthian-Casuals
Location Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HP
Kickoff 03/10/2017 19:45

Bostik South
Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Middle Park Avenue

GREENWICH BOROUGH manager Gary Alexander says it’s nice to break their hoodoo after beating Corinthian-Casuals in a League game for the first time tonight.

James Bracken’s side arrived in Eltham in second-place in the Bosik South with 22 points from 10 games and unbeaten in seven but that run came to an end as two second half goals from Charlie MacDonald and Travis Gregory – both taking their goalscoring tally to nine each for the season – smashed Corinthian-Casuals’ grip on Greenwich Borough.

SCREAMER: Greenwich Borough's Travis Gregory lets fly to seal a 2-0 home win over in-form side Corinthian-Casuals.
Photo: Dave Adkins

This game failed to live up to the play-off semi-final between the two sides which saw Corinthian-Casuals win 4-3 on 25 April 2017.

But winning games like this one on a chilly Tuesday night in early October builds the foundations for success towards the end of the campaign.

“Obviously it’s nice to break a little bit of a hoodoo we had against Corinthian-Casuals, we couldn’t beat them,” said Alexander from inside the warmth of the physio room.

“They’re a good side, they’re a tough side to play against. They do their job well. It’s just nice to break that hoodoo and get the victory.

“They’re a good side and on their day they can beat anyone. It’s one of those teams if you’re not on it and you’ve not got nine or 10 players on it Corinthian-Casuals can beat you and today I thought all the boys were on it.”

A cagey opening, Greenwich Borough created the first opening inside the opening 12 minutes.

Goalkeeper Ben Bridle-Card launched a big kick down the right channel for winger Francis Babalola and his right-footed angled drive from 25-yards rolled into the hands of visiting keeper Darren Bracken for a comfortable save.

“I thought we started the game on the front foot,” said Alexander.

“We were creating well.  I thought we bossed the first half and they had a couple of half chances and Ben made a good save.  We changed our shape a little bit to compete with them and it worked.

“It was always going to be cagey between two sides who hopefully will be at the right end of the table come the end of the season.

“Babs had a couple of half chances, the keeper’s made a good save.”

Greenwich Borough then stamped their authority on the game, without creating a real clear cut chance.

Eight of their nine corners tonight arrived inside the opening 34 minutes and Becka-Kah Dembele swung in their fifth but Babalola glanced his header across goal and past the far post.

Bracken was called into serious action in the 18th minute when MacDonald and Ali Fuseini flicked passes on for Babalola, whose left-footed shot was blocked by the advancing keeper and out for a corner.

When asked what former Millwall, Bromley, Margate and Welling United holding midfielder Fuseini brings to the party, Alexander replied: “A bit of everything!  He’s good on the ball, experienced. He goes about his business quietly. You don’t realise some of the dirty jobs he does, he breaks the play up and he can score a goal like he done in the last couple of weeks, so he’s been a good find for us.”

Sam Corne swung in the resulting corner, which was cleared out to Mark Phillips. His low drive was blocked and Corne’s first time drive from outside the box was held by Bracken.

Fuseini floated in a free-kick just outside the corner of the penalty area, the ball was knocked down and Gregory steered his header across goal and past the far post.

MacDonald’s shouts for a penalty fell on deaf ears in the 33rd minute.

Left-back Tom Carlse played the ball down the left channel to release Dembele, who crossed low for MacDonald at the far post. He turned and swept a shot towards the near post but left-back Dave Hodges made the block and Corne’s drive deflected past the foot of the same post from 12-yards.

“I think Charlie said the fella saved it with his hand early doors when Charlie had the shot in the first half and it got blocked,” claimed the manager. 

“Charlie said the fella handballed it but he’s laughing and joking now. He’s got away with it so again that’s a bit of misfortune for us but we’ve gone out there and composed ourselves at half-time and we’ve gone out there and scored two goals.”

Corinthian-Casuals were over-hitting too many balls over the top that was gathered by Bridle-Card, who pulled off a brilliant save to frustrate the Tolworth based outfit in the 38th minute.

Right-back Warren Morgan played a low pass towards the edge of the box to Gabriel Odunaike, who held the ball up who laid the ball off to Kervant Serbony, who drilled a low right-footed shot towards the bottom far corner from 16-yards, only for the keeper to dive swiftly low to his right to get a strong right hand to the shot to push it away.

Alexander said: “Obviously, we’ve limited them to chances and you’re telling me it’s the 38th minute before they’ve had a chance so that shows how solid we can be and how compact we can be and how hard we’ve made it for teams. My goalkeeper’s there to make saves and Ben’s made that save.”

When asked what he told his troops at the interval, Alexander replied: “Tidy up, a little bit of composure in the final third when we get into good areas; tighter at throw-ins and go out there and compete with them and your quality will come through and it obviously did.”

The second half failed to live up to any excitement, other than the two goals.

Right-back Nathan Paul advanced into the final third and cut inside to float in a cross with his left-foot and Gregory’s back flicked header from 12-yards was plucked out of the air by Bracken inside the opening five minutes.

Alexander admitted his side were given a slice of lady luck in the manner that they scored their first goal, which was timed at 19 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock.

Phillips played the ball to substitute right-back Ryan King-Elliott, who played the ball inside to substitute right-winger Connor Hunte, who cut inside Hodges and drove his left-footed drive towards goal from 25-yards, which you would have expected keeper Bracken to save comfortably.

However, poacher MacDonald deflected the shot and left the keeper flat-footed as the ball rolled apologetically in the middle of the goal.

“Connor Hunte was late to the game. He would’ve started the game but he was late to the game so he didn’t start.  He knows that he’s let himself down and he had a point to prove and he’s gone on there,” revealed Alexander.

“Listen, he’s a fantastic footballer with an unbelievable ability and he has to do the right things off the pitch and let his ability do the talking. He’s got bundles of that and if he cuts inside there’s not many people who can stop him.

“It’s nice to get a little bit of luck. It evens itself out so we don’t moan about that over the season because it evens itself out in the long run.

“We’ve had things go against us of late. They scored a 94th minute goal against us (in our 1-0 defeat there on 15 August), that hurt us, so it’s nice to get a little bit of luck on our behalf.

“A little deflection in from Chaz, probably deflected it himself, I don’t know if it just hit him or he meant it but Chaz is a poacher and it’s a great goal.

“Charlie scores goals, he’s scored goals his whole career. His hunger and his desire just doesn’t change, he’s fantastic.”

Phillips clipped a long ball out of defence to put MacDonald through on goal but his next effort sailed harmlessly into the trees at the Middle Park Avenue end of the ground.

Alexander was full of praise for his two central defenders for keeping their third clean sheet in 15 games this season.

“I’ve had moans and groans because I still feel that we’ve conceded too many goals in the amount of games we’ve played,” said Alexander, who has seen his side concede 19 goals in all competitions.

“That clean sheet has come from us being more organised, us as a team manning up a little bit and demanding more from each other recently and we’ve been getting that.

“We’ve got two experienced defenders (Phillips and Danny Fitzsimons) and they went to head it and volley it and when it was on to play, they played and when it was on to defend they defended it.  They’re also helping out Ryan (King-Elliott), who came on for Nathan (Paul) and helping out the young lad and we looked really solid.”

Corinthian-Casuals winger Reyon Dillon was kept quiet by Greenwich Borough left-back Carlse, after impressing during his last visit, which broke Borough’s promotion dream.

“Reyon’s a good player,” said Alexander. “He’s caused us problems in the past but we kept him quiet.  They’ve got quality all over. They’re a good side, they’re a good outfit. They know what they’re doing. James has them well-organised and they’re a good side and I’m sure they’ll bounce back.”

Josh Uzun drove forward and Danny Cunningham cut inside and his drive from 30-yards deflected off Corne and Bridle-Card made a comfortable save in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Corinthian-Casuals’ holding midfielder Coskun Ekim floated in a free-kick into the box but Cunningham should have done better with his free header from 10-yards, which he got under and planted past the far post.

Morgan got on the outside of his man to unleash a right-footed angled drive from the right which was comfortably gathered by Bridle-Bird at his near post after a fine move from the away side.

Greenwich Borough doubled their lead with a magical finish from Gregory, with 38 minutes and 26 seconds on the second half watch.

Central defender Nathan Daly allowed Gregory to cut inside him and thump his right-footed curling drive into the top far corner of the net from 25-yards to seal a vital three points.

“Fantastic goal, fantastic bit of skill,” hailed Alexander.

“I said to Travis earlier, he gets at people, can he make that decision in his mind whether he’s going to cross or whether he’s going to shoot instead of just driving and he showed that little bit of composure there and bent it in the far post. Fantastic finish from Travis and he’s got that in the locker.”

Corne made another block on the edge of his penalty area to take the sting out of Jordan Clarke’s drive, which was meat and drink for the Greenwich Borough keeper at the end.

Greenwich Borough have climbed up to eighth-place in the Bostik South with 18 points on the board from 10 games.

They are only a couple of points adrift of sixth-placed South Park, but with a game in hand and six points adrift of new leaders Sittingbourne, again, with a game in hand.

“We feel that over the course of the 10 games we feel we probably should have more points on the board for some of the performances that we’ve put in but it’s nice to get that little bit of luck tonight and we’re moving on nicely,” said Alexander.

“We’re taking every game as it comes and we’ve seen that everyone beats everyone in this league so we just have to take every game at a time and make sure we’re on it every game and if we do that then who knows where we can go?”

Greenwich Borough have home advantage over Hanwell Town in The Buildbase FA Trophy Preliminary Round on Saturday.

Hanwell Town are rooted to the foot of the Southern League South East table with a win and a draw from their eight league games this season.

However, they did beat Uxbridge 2-1 at home in the League Cup tonight to extend their unbeaten run to three games.

“We’ll show them all the respect in the world, show them the respect that they deserve and we want to win the game,” said Alexander, who saw his side lose 1-0 at basement Bostik South side Shoreham on 23 September, the only side to lose to them in the league this season.

“We want a run. I don’t want to lose any game now but I don’t take no notice where they are in the league. We saw that the other week with our trip to Shoreham.  If you don’t turn up, you get beaten. On that day, we didn’t turn up so Hanwell will get all the respect in the world.

“I’ll try to lift up my players and get them up and hopefully we can have a cup run.

“Certainly, Hanwell and us will be wanting that £3,000 prize money so I’m sure it will be a good game but we’ve got to make sure we’re up for it and rise to the occasion.”

Greenwich Borough: Ben Bridle-Card, Nathan Paul (Ryan King-Elliott 53), Tom Carlse, Ali Fuseini, Mark Phillips, Danny Fitzsimons, Travis Gregory, Sam Corne, Charlie MacDonald (Jack Sammoutis 88), Francis Babalola, Becka-Kah Dembele (Connor Hunte 62).
Subs: Peter Sweeney, Dean Gunner

Goals: Charlie MacDonald 65, Travis Gregory 84

Booked: Charlie MacDonald 86

Corinthian-Casuals: Darren Bracken, Warren Morgan, Dave Hodges, Coskun Ekim, Jack Strange, Nathan Daly, Josh Uzun (Jordan Clarke 79), Kervant Serbony, Danny Cunningham, Gabriel Odunaike (Reyon Dillon 40), Hamilton Antonio (Max Oldham 74).
Subs: Tommy Smith, Mu Mann

Booked: Jack Strange 73, Reyon Dillon 75

Attendance: 162
Referee: Mr Matthew Goldsmith (Hastings, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Daniel D’Urso (Crowborough, East Sussex) & Mr David Joseph (Hastings, East Sussex)

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