Cup Final football… one we have all been waiting for! Coaches Brazzale and Costanzo had brought in experienced centre back Ambes Sium from Birkalla over the week. He was given a start along with left back John Panagaris- with the in form James Polli being the unlucky man to miss out. Pete Mercurio was given another start up front with the lightening fast Alhassan Toure.
A cool day at Coopers Stadium welcomed the Comets and the “underdogs”, Croydon. A tag we were happy to carry as we know our young list has the talent. A very tight start (to be expected) on a sandy pitch, saw both teams with a few chances early on. A poor back pass from Rocky Visconte gave the Comets their first opportunity to attack, but was very well defended by the new CB, Sium. Being the professional Rocky is, he lifted- not only himself but the rest of the team.
Just past the half hour mark- an 18 yard shot by the Comets was tapped in on the line by their striker, in what clearly looked to be offside. Very obvious there was no white shirt between Munro and the Comets player as he tapped it in- but the linesman didn’t flag it- not for the first time this season I might add. This just sparked the Kings even more- hungry to get the game back on level pegging’s. A scrappy piece of play from the Kings defence almost had us 2-0 just minutes later… but a well positioned Brazzale on the back post cleared off the line and up the park.
Then the turning point. Yes I know I’ve gone on about the refereeing during the season in some games, but this decision by both linesman and referee is simply inexcusable. Just into stoppage time, Ex Kings Andreas Weins seemed to have his shirt tugged by new King Sium in a tussle for position and then deliberately and recklessly retaliated by facing Sium and throwing his elbow at his head. No more than half a meter from the linesman. A clear red card had to be shown- but funnily enough- it wasn’t. Just a yellow. Possibly the worst decision everyone at that ground had seen all year (and that’s saying something!) Nothing could be done about it and the Kings hit the rooms 1-0 down at half time.
Just 5mins into the restart, a some brilliant link up play between Toure, Caraccia and Mercurio just outside the 18 yard box, lead to a clear push on the Kings CF well inside the box. The referee awarding the penalty to the cheers of the Croydon fans. Young defender Adam Martinello confidentially stepped up and took on the responsibility. Ads calmly slotted home and celebrated with a trademark LeBron James style move! Very slick by the young lad!
1-1 with 40mins to go… game back on!
Goalkeeper Nick Munro was a busy man with some brilliant saves with both hands and feet- keeping the scoreboard locked away at 1-1. The Kings also had their chances but failed to really penetrate the Comets back line and trouble their keeper too much. Unfortunately for Munro and the Kings, some poor defending gave striker Andres Weins an opportunity to score- and score he did. Slotting the ball past the outstretched legs of Munro in the bottom corner. A player that SHOULDN’T have had the chance, that SHOULDN’T have even been on the field. But that’s football and sometimes you have to play against the opposition and the officials. 57mins in… Comets 2-1.
Again, more attacking from both sides continued as the game came to and end. Not even the brilliance of Visconte, Klimek, Munro, Caraccia and Martinello could do to change the score line. Comets 2-1 winners. A disappointing way to end a great campaign from the Croydon boys, especially with so many key players out for the season and the inexperience of youth doing so bloody well. We should absolutely hold our heads up high as we played some great football and deserved more than we got in that final.
We now turn our attention back to the league…. where this Saturday we face up against Birkalla at home. This is essentially a 6 point game, as a win will send us above Birks and potentially Para Hills and South Adel. A huge chance to turn the season around and push for a finals spot.
We welcome all the fans, parents and die-hards who were at the final on Monday, to make it to Polonia Reserve on Saturday to cheer the boys on. They need our support and deserve it.
U’18′s kick off: 11am
Reserves kick off: 1pm
Seniors kick off: 3pm
Photo credit: Adam Butler (80km photography)