Isthmian Premier League
Bowers & Pitsea 1 Corinthian-Casuals 2
JOHN CHUBB at the Len Salmon Stadium
With their incredible FA Cup adventure over – following their narrow 1-0 defeat away to EFL League One club Lincoln City in their first ever appearance in the First Round Proper – Bowers & Pitsea returned to the task of attempting to pull away from the lower reaches of the Isthmian Premier League on Tuesday night, but were ultimately defeated by South West London side Corinthian-Casuals.
Bowers manager Rob Small made several changes to his starting line-up from the side that put up such a great battle at Sincil Bank on Saturday.
In came Luca Albon, Dan Trendall, Michael Ademiluyi and – making his debut – new signing from Great Wakering Rovers Mitchell Gilbey. Quentin Monville, Lewis Manor and James Thomas, who all started at Lincoln were on the bench. Max Cornhill missed out due to injury.
A lively opening period saw both sides create openings, but it was the visitors who took the lead in the 13th minute.
Corinthian-Casuals’ Elliott Bolton had a shot on the edge of the area, which took a deflection before looping over the head of Bowers Goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney and into the net.
The home side responded quickly, with Albon and Gilbey both having chances but visiting keeper Daniel Bracken was alert to the first, and the other hit the side netting.
Then in the 26th minute, Casuals nearly doubled their lead when Bobby Mills delivered a good cross from the right in the direction of striker Kieron Cadogan, but he couldn’t quite steer the ball in the right direction, and it went wide.
Shortly afterwards Bowers had a great chance to make it 1-1, when Trendall found himself in a one-on-one with Bracken, but the keeper made a superb save to clear the danger.
But just as the hosts had looked likely to equalise, Casuals went on the break and doubled their lead in the 32nd minute.
Bolton set up Bobby Mills, who slotted the ball past Beeney to double his side’s lead.
And they nearly made it three just before half-time, as Cadogan’s shot narrowly failed to go in.
Then In first-half injury time, Bowers made their way back into the game.
Albon whipped in a cross which nearly found the net.
Bracken struggled to bundle the ball away, and after the resulting corner and a goalmouth scramble Callum Leahy fired the ball home to reduce the visitors’ lead.
After the break, there were no firm opportunities for either side until just after the hour mark, when Corinthian-Casuals’ Ricardo Thompson had a powerful shot blocked by the Bowers defence and striker Warren-Hughes Mfula was thwarted by Beeney, during a spell when the home side were on the back foot.
In the 78th minute Bowers came agonisingly close to an equaliser, following impressive work from Trendall who rode a challenge to cross from the left, one which connected with substitute Manor at the near post, but his effort hit said post.
Then, with seven minutes remaining visiting substitute Andrew Mills glanced a header towards goal, which Beeney dealt with well.
By the closing stages, Bowers had five forwards on the pitch after boss Small replaced Jamie Dicks with Tobias Braney, in a last-gasp attempt to grab an equaliser.
In injury time Bracken did well to gather the ball from the feet of Trendall, but that proved to be the home side’s final chance to grab a point from the match and they will have to continue to work hard to break away from the wrong end of the Isthmian Premier League table, although at times they showed they are certainly capable of doing so.
Bowers & Pitsea (Manager: Rob Small): Mitchell Beeney, Alex Bentley, Tom Stephen, Luca Albon Callum Leahy, Bradley Sach, Mitchell Gilbey (Lewis Manor 73), Jamie Dicks (Tobias Braney 86), Dan Trendall, Michael Ademiluyi (Quentin Monville 73), James White ©.
Corinthian-Casuals (Manager: James Bracken): Daniel Bracken ©, Jack Tucker, Emmanuel Mensah, Ricardo Thompson, Jack Strange, Wasari Williams, Benjamin Cheklit, Elliott Bolton (Andrew Mills 77), Warren-Hughes Mfula, Kieron Cadogan (Alfie Bendle 87), Bobby Mills.