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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Snapshots - Corinthian-Casuals FC

Corinthian-Casuals vs Dulwich Hamlet. Isthmian (Ryman) Division One South, 13 January 2007, King George’s Fields. Score 2-1. Attendance 162
There can’t be too many clubs whose colours include pink and, with Casuals at home it was Dulwich who had to exchange their traditional pink & blue strip for a somewhat less fetching green on this occasion. Both clubs have a firm place in the history of English football but Corinthian-Casuals FC is probably the only strictly amateur club left at this level (Step 4) of the Non League pyramid but, firmly rooted to the foot of the table with only two wins all season, are in considerable danger of dropping down into the Combined Counties League. Dulwich meanwhile, were also hoping for a move, albeit in the opposite direction and started this game as League leaders. Top vs bottom clashes have a habit of upsetting the odds but this one looked like going to form at half-time as, despite there being little to choose between the two sides, it was Hamlet that went ahead in first half stoppage time through a crisp strike from Jamie Coyle.

Throughout the opening 45 minutes Hamlet had been cheered on by a vocal if extremely biased travelling support but they were silenced within a minute of the re-start when a header from Jamie Byatt looped over the head of the visitors’ keeper Simon Overland. It was no less than Casuals deserved for a display that more than matched that of the promotion-chasing Hamlet. There was great jubilation amongst the rather less vociferous home crowd when a swift counter-attack finished with a cool finish from Andre McCollin three minutes from time. Dulwich fired over when it looked easier to score late on but Casuals held on to give themselves hope of avoiding the drop, although still four points adrift. As I left the chant of “We Are Staying Up, We Are Staying Up” emanated from the home dressing room, and if they can maintain this spirit I wouldn’t bet against it. If they fail to go up, Hamlet on the other hand, may well reflect on five points dropped against Casuals this season. DB