The Casuals piece that will appear in Saturday's match programme for the First Team's League Cup quarter-final...
The Casuals finished their league campaign in magnificent fashion against Brandesburton Academy.
Having performed “within themselves” in recent weeks, failing to “hit the highs of the early part of the season”, manager Iain McNaught was pleased to see this all change against opponents who’ve also enjoyed a decent campaign.
The excellent Danny Cundill opened the scoring, heading home his manager’s free-kick, with Karl Hodgson (pictured) doubling the lead shortly after, following good work through the midfield quartet.
James Hope then got into the act just before half time, ‘poaching’ a finish from Cundill’s layoff to make it 3-0.
Instead of the anticipated Brandes’ fight-back, the second half saw the Casuals turn on the style.
Countless chances were created, with only poor finishing or bad luck preventing any increase to the score; that is until skipper Darren Dawson found space in a goalmouth scramble and the keeper could only palm his powerful shot into the net.
Four became five when Hodgson bagged his second, a fluent move from front to back culminating in a stylish finish.
Cundill scored his second to make it 6-0; courtesy of an assist from Hodgson following another McNaught free-kick.
A rare lapse in the home rearguard saw the visitors bag a consolation goal before Hodgson completed the scoring (and his fourth hat-trick of the season) from an unbelievably tight angle.
In truth the locals could easily have reached double figures but with a difficult looking league cup semi-final next on the agenda, this was a timely return to form, courtesy of a terrific all-round team performance.
The prolific strike force of Hope and Hodgson now boast a combined tally of 39 league goals and nearly 50 when adding in the three cup-ties played this season.
In summary, this proved a fitting end to an unforgettable league campaign. The Casuals have dropped just 2pts in 18 matches and are guaranteed to finish at least 12pts clear of their nearest challengers.
They now go in search of the league and league cup double that narrowly eluded Mike Wilson’s team of 1990/91. But whatever happens, the side has already re-written several club (and league) records as well as etching themselves a permanent place in Eastenders’ folklore!
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