Corinthian 1-1 Horsham - I just think there was something in it for us today, says Corinthian manager Michael Golding

Saturday 08th September 2018
Corinthian 1 – 1 Horsham
Location Gay Dawn Farm, Valley Road, Longfield, Kent DA3 8LY
Kickoff 08/09/2018 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Saturday 8 September 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Gay Dawn Farm

CORINTHIAN manager Michael Golding says his side will once again be massive underdogs for their FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay in Lancing on Wednesday night.

Corinthian extended their unbeaten run to nine games after holding Horsham to a 1-1 draw at Gay Dawn Farm, courtesy of a last-gasp equaliser from centre half Jack Bath, who had headed in an own-goal to give Dominic Di Paola’s side a deserved first half lead.

LAST GASP: Corinthian captain Jack Bath (right) scores with only 12 seconds remaining to snatch a late equaliser against Horsham to earn a FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay in Lancing on Wednesday night.
Photo: Alan Coombs

Golding’s men went into the game sitting in seventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 10 points on the board from five league games.

They had defeated Canterbury City 3-0 here in The FA Cup, before knocking out Bostik South East Division side Chipstead 1-0 on their travels two weeks ago to set up a date with Horsham.

The Hornets were in thirteenth-place in the Bostik South East Division with three points from four games and arrived on a losing run of three games since winning 1-0 at Carshalton Athletic in the FA Cup Preliminary Round.

Golding, the manager of amateur club Corinthian, admitted he was feeling “relieved” at the final whistle.

He said:  “I don’t think we played to our potential today.  It wasn’t the most entertaining game, it was a game of very few chances but the boys kept plugging away. 

“We’re on a very good unbeaten run at the moment and that showed today that we carried on going. 

“I thought when Jacob Gilbert had his effort from the edge of the box, it was probably our last chance but again we’ve asked them a question.  I thought it was our fair rewards today. I don’t think we were great but I thought we deserved to take it to at least a replay.”

Golding was full of praise for his goalkeeper Aidan Prall, 19, who is formerly of Charlton Athletic and is training with National League side Dover Athletic.

“Aidan done well, he’s a great goalkeeper. I said it last year and I’ll say it again, he’ll be one of the best goalkeepers, if not the best goalkeeper in the league. He’s young, he makes mistakes but he’s got a very bright future ahead of him if he continues to learn.  I thought he kept us in the game at times.”

Golding revealed that the club are continuing working on the normally pristine playing surface, which has suffered during the summer heatwave.

“The heatwave has really taken it out of the pitch and we’re desperately working on it.  The groundstaff and the chairman are doing everything they can every single day to try to get it back to the standard that we want.  It’s probably not helping with the way that we want to play.  The way it looks today is a million times better the way it looked two or three weeks ago, so it’s coming back. It’s a long process but I completely agree, it’s not where we want it to be at the moment.”

Horsham dominated the first half as Corinthian failed to create a single chance before the interval.

Holding midfielder Daryl Coleman launched the first of three very long throws into the Corinthian box and Lewis Hyde came up from the back to glance his header across goal and past the far post after only 147 seconds.

Midfielder Charlie Harris then swept a free-kick into the Corinthian box for striker Robert O’Toole, who sent his diving header looping just past the post before he was forced off through an injury to his right knee just before the interval.

“We knew their threat, that they put the ball into the box a lot,” said Golding. “They do it with quality, that’s what they’re good at but again I thought the whole back five stood up to it.  They’re going to get their chances, they’re in the league above and they’re good at what they do.”

Corinthian were nervy for large periods of the first half and Horsham dominated, especially midfield.

Golding said: “I thought it was a mixture of us not playing well, we froze a little bit. Whether it was the occasion, whether they stopped us doing what we were good at. We felt there was enough there to work on but we didn’t cause them any kind of threat in the first half. It was a bit of a lukewarm performance to be honest.

“Will Hoare is a good player. He was really difficult to mark. He drifted out wide, he picked up a lot of the ball. We’re asking players maybe to play out of position but it’s worked for us in the league game so far, that’s certainly something that we’ll look at before Wednesday because they did control the game through the midfield in the first half.”

Hyde played the ball into Harris’ feet and he swept a cross into the box for O’Toole to bounce a header into the hands of Aidan Prall from 18-yards, which was a comfortable collection for the keeper.

Corinthian midfielder Jamie Miller lost the ball to O’Toole, who took a touch before drilling a right-footed drive from 35-yards, which bounced once into Prall’s hands for a comfortable save.

Harris found a pocket of space in midfield and his left-footed drive from 35-yards took a deflection and was once again comfortably saved by Prall, who watched the ball bounced off the pitch and rise to head height before collecting.

“We’ve watched their last few games and they do like shooting from outside the area, it’s one of the things they do,” said Golding.

“The back four and Jamie Billings in front of them had to be aware of that. They do like to get shots off and if they’re shooting from 35-yards and it goes in, then we’ll clap it in but we always back Aidan from that kind of distance.”

Horsham deserved their lead when it arrived with 26 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock.

Striker Tyrell Richardson-Brown played the ball into Lee Harding’s feet inside the box and he swept the ball to an unmarked James McElligott, the right-back reaching the by-line before clipping the ball towards the near post for Bath to nod past Prall into the right-hand corner from the edge of the six-yard box.

“Jack Bath has admitted it in the (changing room) that he’s got them at both ends today,” said Golding.

“The ref and the lino missed a kick out, he’s kicked Jack Holland and neither of them have seen it.  We didn’t really recover our shape from it.  I thought our shape had been good up until then. We were hard to break down, we made them resort to long shots.

“Steve Ita maybe didn’t track his runner, we didn’t get bodies across. We let them switch the play, which we find desperately not let teams do and they put they ball into an area and they asked questions and they got a goal from it from Jack Bath, which is frustrating.

“It’s the trade of a centre-half, you are going to score own-goals at times! It happens. It’s one of those things but the character of the man, he’s come up, we’ve put him up for the last few minutes and he’s produced a strikers finish to give us another crack at it.”

Horsham won the corner count by seven-to-nil and they went close to doubling their lead in the 34th minute.

Harris swung the ball in from the left and Hyde was given acres of space at the far post to bury his header towards the bottom right-hand corner, only for Jordan Campbell to clear the ball off the line beside the post, which was the last clear-cut chance of the half.

Golding said he wanted more from his side during the second half.

“Just have a bit more belief and ask them a few more questions, get them turning.  We had 45 minutes to stay in The FA Cup, not to go out with a bit of a whimper. Just to give an absolute what we’ve got within us and if that’s not good enough at the end of the day, then we’ll take it on the chin and move on but I just felt there was something in it for us today.”

Corinthian vastly improved during the second half and created their first chance of the game after 57 seconds.

Striker Connor Heffernan ran the left-channel and played the ball inside to Charlie Clover, who skipped past McElligott and flashed a left-footed angled drive across the keeper and just past the foot of the far post from 20-yards.

“I think Charlie was positive today. He’s played really well recently,” Golding said of the five-goal midfielder.

“He’s stepped up from the reserves, he’s been a bit of a bright spark for us and in the first half we’re probably looking at Charlie with his running with the ball. On the edge of the area he was probably the one player that was going to make things happen for us.”

Prall launched a deep free-kick into the Horsham penalty from the middle of the pitch and Bath came up from the back to glance his header harmlessly wide from the edge of the box.

Alexander Jack Billings advanced from left-back and a lucky ricochet fell in Campbell’s feet and Alexander Jack Billings’ first time shot sailed over the crossbar from 25-yards in the 49th minute.

Poor defending from Jack Healey, when he gave the ball away to Chris Smith, saw Horsham’s substitute striker thread the ball through to Richardson-Brown, who took a touch before hitting a right-footed drive from 20-yards, which bounced into Prall’s hands for another comfortable save.

“Richardson-Brown is a really good player,” highlighted Golding.

“We understand, frustratingly, that we are going to make mistakes at the back because we do want to pass the ball out when the time’s right.  If we don’t make these mistakes we just boom it into the other team’s half but we’ve got to trust that we are going to be good enough to pass the ball. I don’t think our passing was quite on today but a comfortable save really.”

Corinthian’s holding midfielder James Billings lost the ball in midfield to William Hoare and set-up Harris, who drove his shot which skipped off the pitch and flashed past the keeper and past the far post from 35-yards.

Coleman’s quickly-taken-free-kick caught out Corinthian on the hour-mark but Smith cut onto his right-foot before lashing his shot over the crossbar from 15-yards.

Golding replaced both of his wingers with Campbell being replaced by Luke Tanner in the 66th minute and the quiet Steven Ita was replaced by Conor Johnson.

“Steve and Jordan done their jobs, they worked hard for the time that they were on and we’re lucky that we do have good quality off the bench this year and Luke’s unlucky not to start. He’s started the first few games this season, he’s been out injured so he’s just on his way back. I thought he done ok when he went on.”

Horsham started to slow the game up by using their game management tactics after the hour-mark but they paid the ultimate price later on.

Corinthian keeper Prall made a brilliant save to deny Horsham a deserved second goal with 15 minutes remaining.

Luke Tanner fouled Harris and Harris drilled his right-footed free-kick towards the right-hand corner from 32-yards and Prall dived full-length to his left to push the ball towards safety to keep Corinthian in The FA Cup.

“Great save, great free-kick as well,” said Golding.

“I think he was the player who scored against Carshalton in the last round, he scored a really good free-kick. They’re dangerous at set-pieces. They are at that level above so they do have that quality that we don’t see on a weekly basis in the SCEFL.”

Hoare, who roamed all over midfield, floated over a deep cross, which wasn’t cut out by Corinthian right-back Jack Holland (no, not Bromley’s captain in the National League!) and this gave Harding a chance to kill off Corinthian.  He cut inside and tried to curl his right-footed shot around the keeper into the corner.  However, his shot lacked curl and arrowed harmlessly wide of the far post.

Hoare delivered another cross into the Corinthian box but Smith’s swept shot from 12-yards lacked power and rolled into Prall’s hands for another meat and drink outine save.

Corinthian showed signs of getting back into the game in the 79th minute when Prall’s big kick dropped inside the box for Tanner to roll his left-footed shot from 15-yards into Joshua Pelling’s hands from the left-hand side of the penalty area for the Horsham keeper’s first save of the game.

“We were working out how we could start to have a go,” said Golding.

“We didn’t want to go too early and it’s just that balancing act of having a good go and giving yourself long enough and not losing 1-0 and not causing them any kind of problems.”

Horsham created two late chances to book their place in the next round.

Corinthian played out from the back and Bath lost the ball on the very edge of his penalty area but once again Prall got him out of a hole by making a smart low save to his left to frustrate Smith.

McElligott then advanced forward and his right-footed drive was caught by Prall just 66 seconds later.

“When you’re in the last five minutes, I’d rather lose 2-0 than 1-0. I’d rather not concede by us giving the ball away but Aidan’s there, he’s done his job, that’s why he’s here,” added Golding.

But Corinthian showed tremendous heart and character and kept plugging away but their big moment appeared to have gone when they missed a glorious chance with 49:21 on the clock.

Alexander Jack Billings drove forward down the left and put it on a plate for 16-year-old substitute midfielder Jacob Gilbert but his first time right-footed drive from 25-yards lacked power and was comfortably gathered by Pelling.

Golding said: “Jacob’s a really good kid, he’s only 16. He came to us in the summer.  His older brother was playing for us a couple of years ago, he’s away at university at the moment and Jacob’s really fitted in well and we just felt we had good options on the bench, but we just had a feeling today that he may pop up and he may get a chance and when it fell to him, he’s got really good technique. Unfortunately, it was just a little bit too straight and just caught it with the outside of his boot and it went straight to the goalkeeper.”

Most teams would have thought that miss would have sealed their fate but give Corinthian credit – they gave it one last go and snatched an equaliser with 49 minutes and 48 seconds on the clock – referee Benjamin Wyatt blew for full-time with 51:18 on the clock – so you could say the equaliser came with only 12 seconds left in the game.

Holland launched one last ball into the Corinthian box and Bath stayed up field and produced a strikers finish by drilling a right-footed looping shot over the diving keeper’s left-shoulder to find the top right-hand corner from 16-yards, to spark wild celebrations from his team-mates.

Golding said: “You always hope that you’re going to get one more chance.  You always hope there’s going to be a mistake but we were five minutes into injury time at that point.

“Unbelievable finish from him, centre-half with a centre-forward’s finish. Jack’s great, he’s had numerous offers to go elsewhere in the past but he’s stayed with us. We needed his experience and his leadership and I’m really, really pleased. 

“I thought the boys deserved it today. We played the majority of the second half in their half other than their breakaways. Just scenes of pandemonium when that goal goes in.  I ran across the pitch, my phone went flying, keys and everything came out of my pockets - but it was a good finish.”

Golding takes his side down to Lancing for the Wednesday night replay but doesn’t appreciate the 19:15 kick-off at Culver Road due to the floodlights having to be switched off by ten o’clock at night.

“I back our boys. We will be massive underdogs. We probably are in 90% of the games that we play.  We certainly have been in every FA Cup game so far.  We’ll go there with a game plan, we’ve seen what they’ve got to offer and they’ve seen what we’ve got,” said Golding.

“I think it’s really huge for the club (to be in Monday’s Draw for the Second Qualifying Round).  I’ve said it a few times the boys deserve so much credit for what they do here, the SCEFL is getting harder with the money that is floating around in this league so for us to be here without any kind of money whatsoever for us to be one of the last SCEFL sides in the FA Cup draw is huge kudos for the boys.

“We’ll be watching the draw on Monday with bated breath. We’ve got to go down to Lancing and do it all over again but we’ll certainly back ourselves down there.

“I don’t think we’ve performed anywhere near we could. They’ll be favourites yet again. We’ll come in on Monday and train this week and we’ll go down there on Wednesday.

“Without being controversial (the early kick-off time) is ridiculous! I suppose it is quite controversial for us to travel down there for a 7:15 kick-off is unacceptable in my eyes.  How that’s ever been passed by The FA? It’s not good enough!

“We’ll be there for 6:15 at the absolute latest. We’ve looked at train times and it’s an hour and a half from London for the boys so we’re expecting boys to take half a day off work and lose half a days money.

“We’ll see what we can do. They’ll be whatever first teamers we can go out and a couple of youth team boys if it comes to that. I’m hoping the boys will want to give it a good crack, it’s The FA Cup. It’s probably the biggest game some of them will ever play in but it’s going to be a big ask.”

There is six thousand pounds up for grabs for the winner of the replay, while Corinthian have already banked £5,140 after their two wins so far.

“It’s an incredible amount of money,” added Golding.

“The club have said to us this year the money will go back towards the boys in terms of a pre-season tour next year so that’s a little bit of an incentive but we’ve not really spoken to the boys. They’re not money orientated. If they were, they wouldn’t be here.”

Corinthian: Aidan Prall, Jack Holland, Alexander Jack Billings, James Billings, Jack Healey, Jack Bath, Jordan Campbell (Luke Tanner 66), Jamie Miller (Jacob Gilbert 81), Connor Heffernan, Charlie Clover, Steven Ita (Conor Johnson 70).
Subs: Cameron Heffernan, Reuel Powell-Downey, Luke Exall, Joseph Skillman

Goal:  Jack Bath 90

Horsham:  Joshua Pelling, James McElligott, Steven Metcalf, Daryl Coleman, Lewis Hyde, Dean Lovegrove, Charlie Harris (Jack Brivio 82), William Hoare, Robert O’Toole (Chris Smith 45), Tyrell Richardson-Brown (Darren Boswell 77), Lee Harding.
Subs: Jack Hartley, Joseph Shelley, James Punter

Goal: Jack Bath 27 (own goal)

Booked: William Hoare 88

Attendance: 108
Referee:  Mr Benjamin Wyatt (Worsley, Manchester & Southend, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Andy Senior (Lingfield, Surrey) & Mr Paul Sturton (Billericay, Essex)