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Walton Casuals 3-1 VCD Athletic

Bostik League South Division

3

Walton Casuals

Win

  • Youssef Bamba - 1 goal(s)
  • Josh Kelly - 2 goal(s)
1

VCD Athletic

Loss

30 December 2017 | 3:00 pm
Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub
vs

REPORT

Substitute Josh Kelly provided the perfect finish to the year with a brace on what could be his final appearance at the Elmbridge Sports Hub.

Youssef Bamba opened the scoring with his third goal in four games shortly before the break, before VCD Athletic issued an immediate response in the second half.

Maidenhead United loanee Kelly then replaced Sean McCormack just before the hour mark, and struck twice in quick succession to earn maximum points and a sixth consecutive win for the Stags.

In typical fashion of performances throughout December, the Stags dominated from the first minute and almost took an early lead through McCormack. A quick move from Tyrell Richardson-Brown allowed the winger to be found out wide, but his effort was blocked having already beaten one defender.

An early knock for Daryl Coleman looked potentially serious, but the captain continued having just returned from a four-game absence and played a pivotal role alongside Alex Kelly in the middle.

Another testing chance from McCormack left the visitors worried, but a quick counter from Athletic almost saw Daniel Smith take a surprise lead. His 25-yard strike was blocked by the back of Coleman, before Kemo Darboe forced an important save from goalkeeper Denzel Gerrar.

The pace of a towering Richardson-Brown looked to be the main threat for the Casuals, and Anthony Gale’s side used it to full effect. An over-the-top counter put the in-form frontman through on goal, but after rounding the goalkeeper he was denied by the post from an awkward angle.

Poor chances from Smith and Darboe struggled to test Gerrar late in the first half, and they were made to pay the price with Bamba was able to break. After beating Ellis Brown with his trickery, a strike from the edge of the box sailed past Joe Mant into the bottom corner.

It could have been two before the break, with McCormack going past Mant in an almost identical fashion to Richardson-Brown earlier in the game. Shooting from another unfavourable angle, the ball narrowly missed the target and sailed into the side netting.

A sloppy start from the hosts played into the hands of VCD, and Kamara made sure to take advantage of their spell in possession with a goal five minutes after the restart. For a moment, it looked as if the Stags would crumble for the remainder of the game, but they soon produced a display even better than the first half.

The introduction of top scorer Kelly, who had recently returned from a lengthy absence after injury, proved to be the game-changing decision.

The striker was even left disappointed at not scoring his first hat-trick of his senior career during his 34-minute appearance, having broken through early on before seeing his effort saved by Mant in a one-on-one scenario.

But he did take his next chance, returning the lead to the Stags seven minutes into his game. Facing the goalkeeper in another one-on-one, he refused to be denied a second time and displayed great composure in chipping the on-rushing goalkeeper.

A break from Lartey Sarpong almost provided a goal that would have sealed the win, but his low-driven cross evaded everyone in the box to roll out for a goal kick.

Kelly soon put the game to bed with his 16th goal of the season though, climbing above Kamarl Duncan to head past Mant with a powerful effort.

He almost had a third immediately after, with central defender Joe Hicks finding his way upfield and crossing towards the back post. A volley from six yards was miraculously halted by the goalkeeper, although the offside flag also prevented the deserved hat-trick.

The Stags dominated in all aspects in the final minutes, with Bamba, Alex Kelly and Josh Kelly all coming close as the Athletic defence began to fell apart. A further two late chances avoided Josh Kelly, but the Casuals had ensured a comfortable victory and climbed to third in the table.