The result proved fruitless in the end as Croydon went down 3-1 away to Metro as it turned out that we would finish fourth in any case as other results filtered through.
It means Croydon will have a home (elimination) final against West Adelaide on the weekend, although at this stage we haven’t had confirmed the date, as it might be a Saturday or even a Sunday game.
Back on the weekend’s game at Metro, the home side got on the scoresheet early when Wooding pounced on a rebound following a brilliant save by Nick Munro to show they meant business. The Kings woke up and responded with some good attacks of their own, but often found themselves outnumbered in attack as the Metro defence rallied when called upon.
The midfield battles slowly took over but the game came back to life when young Alhassan Toure scored his first senior goal for the Kings and what a stunner it was when he smacked a brilliant shot from over 20 metres out on a tricky angle and it was game on.
The 1-1 half time score was probably fair and it set up what was to hopefully be a rousing second half.
Alas in the 64th minute, a Metro corner found a static Kings defence and D’Aloisio was on hand to pop in an easy shot and Metro regained momentum with a 2-1 lead. The Kings started to tire in some areas and some subs needed to be made, and some reshuffling was required which put more pressure on to get the equaliser. Unfortunately for Croydon, it took an ex-King Fabian Barbiero who found himself free on the edge of the area and belted home a cracking goal, not much unlike from where Toure scored his pearler earlier on. With news coming through that the score was pretty much irrelevant, the Kings looked to just play out the game to avoid too many chances of injury or suspension but no-one told Nathan Farrell who cracked another 25 metre piledriver which unluckily hit the crossbar and stayed out which would have set up a big finale, but in the end were probably relieved when the final whistle blew.
Given Croydon were without D’Alfonso, Bility and Skeffington due to injury, it wasn’t too bad an effort and it did give another young King a chance to make his debut when Yared Abetew came off the bench to complete a 15 or so minutes off the bench and he didn’t put a foot wrong, so credit to the coaching staff and the young lad himself for having a decent go.
Great efforts all over the park and the work rate by Radice, Farrell, Klimek and Visconte didn’t go unnoticed.
The main concerns for Croydon are the fact that McGreevy and Toure did have to come off due to injury, but hopefully they aren’t too severe and that they will be available for the final next week along with Bility and D’Alfonso although Skeffington might still need another week so let’s hope the boys can get up and live to fight another day!
The Reserves game was a classic and had all the elements of a grand final when it came down to the wire, with the Kings needing a win to sew up the minor premiership, a draw would guarantee it a double chance, however a loss would have meant dropping to third, despite leading the competition for most of the season. It started well for Croydon when John Papapetros opened the scoring with a header but Metro were gifted an equaliser before half time.
The Kings took back the lead after a penalty award, duly put away by Adam Martinello. Metro threw everything at Croydon late on and equalised again to leave the game in the balance and in a cruel twist the Kings conceded late on to go down 3-2 in a thrilling contest. The boys played well, but just allowed a few lapses and now find themselves playing in an elimination final as the third placed team and they will face off at home to Birkalla on the weekend, most likely the curtain raiser to the Croydon v West Adelaide seniors game.
The U/18’s surprised everyone when they upset Metro 3-2 to finish the season in a high, despite languishing in bottom spot. At least there were better qualities and spirit shown when compared to the opening handful of games, so they can be at least be proud of their great effort against a highly fancied opponent.
Pic – courtesy Joe Janko – Alhassan Toure strikes what turned out to be a stunning equaliser which sailed into the top corner for Croydon on Saturday