Croydon Athletic received a respite from their recent play when they beat Corinthian Casuals 2-0 at the Keith Tuckey Stadium in Thornton Heath for a second round match in the Isthmian League Cup on Tuesday night.
Croydon entered the match eighth in the Ryman League Division One South, after winning only one in four so far; a rough patch for a club tipped as pre-season promotion candidates. But there are signs of a recent return to form as the 2-0 victory was Croydon’s second win over Casuals in as many weeks.
The Rams struck in the 17th minute as Charlie Sharmen scored his first goal for the club. Chris Piper put a pass into space, and Sharmen took the ball around Casuals’ goalkeeper Matt Mann for the 1-0 lead.
Croydon’s Richard Blackwell nearly doubled the lead two minutes later with an overhead kick that went just wide, and Casuals’ Tyrone Myton put a shot past the wrong side of the post in the 19th minute.
The Rams had to cope without captain Justin Gregory, but left-back Nathan Green marshalled the Croydon defence to earn man of the match honours.
Piper and Blackwell came close, but it was leading scorer Gary Noel who doubled the Rams’ lead in the 43rd minute with a close range shot, his 14th goal of the season.
The sparkling play of Mann kept Casuals close, thwarting Noel and Tom Bolinwara, returning after an injury.
Casuals’ defence was constantly under duress. Bolinwara beat three players only to see Mann save the shot. Noel almost doubled his haul, but put it wide. Sub Ben Godfrey also saw Mann deny him in the 77th minute, and Dan Moody barely missed after receiving a pass from Noel.
The away side had only two chances: Scott Corbett with a free kick in the 70thminute, and Joe McNerney, who saw his long-range shot go on target but Croydon keeper Ross Flitney was up to the task.
The next match for the Rams is Saturday 14 November at home against Folkestone Invicta. It promises to be a challenge for Croydon, as Folkestone have lost just one game this season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 pm.