Croydon’s season opener at home to West Adelaide proved disastrous when some calamitous defending gift-wrapped the visitors with two goals within the first ten minutes which set the trend for the rest of the game, and the mountain left to climb proved too hard to conquer when further errors resulted in a 4 goal half time deficit, leaving many of the Kings’ faithful scratching their heads wondering how such school-boy football greeted them in such a big opening game for the club.
In fairness, it’s clear some of the errors weren’t deliberate, 4 players were unavailable due to injury or lack of pre-season, and there were some positives in the second half, especially the introduction from the bench of Adrian D’Alfonso who tried hard to breathe some life back into the game with some scorching runs and creation of chances at the right end of the pitch.
Knowing the players and how they can rise to big games when called upon, we can only put this down as one of those things where sometimes, to put it bluntly, shit happens!
Croydon can consider themselves unlucky to have had at least one decent chance at goal when a clear-cut penalty was denied by the referee, despite the linesman indicating the offence, but it’s hard to get over-enthused when you’re already 0-5 down and especially when moments later a gilt edged open goal was squandered by West Adelaide who could have made it six.
It was hard to find Croydon’s best this week, so there will be no mention of anyone out of respect that even the hardest workers out there would have not deemed their efforts as acceptable in NPL standard. Given West’s Tom Briscoe scored a hat-trick, we’ll just afford him man of the match and look to next week’s game at Birkalla being a chance to re-set and look again at what we can hope will be a “true” Croydon performance where we will be in the game and give 100% for 90 plus minutes.
Reserves won 4-3 in a great game on the eye, and whilst the score-line might have flattered Westies given the Kings led 4-1 at one stage, to their credit they pulled back a couple late goals to make it appear a closer game.
The U/18’s struggled and lost 4-0 and its clear they have a lot of work ahead of them to attain to a standard that will at least get them a sniff of finals football, but as long as they are prepared to work hard, make some sacrifices, they have the potential to do a lot better and as long as they improve as the season goes on, it’s all we can ask for now.
Croydon supporters are a faithful lot and will no doubt be out in numbers next week and be extra supportive, and I guess is all we ask is that the players put round 1 behind them and concentrate on the decent football we know they can play from the back four up to the front two or three. Who knows, maybe even two ex-Birks (McGreevy and Radice) can find themselves on the scoresheet and remind their former club of how a move to Croydon was so worthwhile!

Pic- courtesy Joe Janko – John Panagaris dealing with Westies pace whilst Nathan Farrell (no 6) backs him up

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