A committed and determined Croydon Kings showed they’re the real deal with a brave and thoroughly deserved win over the top placed Adelaide City in the NPL’s match of the round on Saturday.
With major sponsors in attendance, along with invited guest local MP Peter Malinauskas who tossed the coin before kick-off, the Kings wanted to put on a show and that they did with professionalism reminiscent of their best in recent years.
Adelaide City were switched on from the outset, but you could see that Croydon meant business from the kick-off and the home team got the game’s first goal when James Skeffington brilliantly side-footed from distance within the opening ten minutes and it was game on.
City were keen to make amends quickly and it wasn’t long before they forced a free-kick on the edge of the area and despite a tight defensive wall, the free-kick took a wicked deflection off Kings defender Hosine Bility giving Croydon ‘keeper Nick Munro no chance and the somewhat flukey goal made it 1-1.
The game settled after that with both teams pressing in attack, but some great one on one tussles all over the ground featured in a highly entertaining game. One of the best of these tussles was the Mamadi Kamara (City winger) vs John Panagaris (Kings full-back, pictured above) duel who battled all day long with the latter winning in a gutsy but mature display.
The 1-1 first half score set up the game for a huge second half, and both teams delivered with continuous attacks, chances created and some silky defensive work also gave the game much credibility. The turning point seemed to come mid-way in the second half when Rocky Visconte weaved his way into the box only to be upended and a penalty was awarded to the in-form midfield maestro. A confident Visconte stepped up to take the kick only for the shot to crash into the crossbar, and City survived parity for the time being.
However rather than drop their heads, the miss seemed to give the Kings extra energy and determination, and from then on they began to dominate. A forced corner enabled Visconte to muster one of his wicked inswingers which found the leaping Shaun McGreevy whose header flicked just inside the far post to give the Kings a rousing 2-1 lead. McGreevy was a handful to City all day and his return to top form could be very timely as the Kings march on.
City tried their best to recover, but a solid team performance by Croydon didn’t allow them any ease in attack, and they were reduced to half chances at best until the final whistle blew much to the joy of the home supporters in a deserved win, the Kings fourth on the trot and the second time it has knocked off the top side this season. It showed that with a full team available, with confidence and self-belief all over the park, this Croydon team could yet shake up the competition and play a major part in finals football with only 5 minor rounds remaining.
Best for Croydon were Bility, Panagaris, & McGreevy but you couldn’t really begrudge any other Croydon player making the best in an all-round professional performance and it gives all involved at the club a real buzz again as we anticipate the next opponent to further the cause.
The reserves remain top despite a 0-0 draw, in which can only be described as one of those days when no matter what, there was no way the ball was going to in with near misses and amazing saves prominent in a game where Croydon dominated and whilst it huffed and puffed for 90 minutes, couldn’t not blow down the City fortress.
The U/18’s were very unlucky in going down 3-0 in which the score truly didn’t reflect the balance of the game. City got two cheap penalties (one which was missed anyway) and a seemingly legitimate Kings goal was disallowed for offside whilst the game was still in the balance. End of the day, a share of the points probably would have been a fair result.
Next week the Kings venture to Newton to face an out of form Campbelltown City, but as we know, the “wounded” can often be the hardest to overcome. You must always earn wins at this venue and the Red Devils now have the unenviable task of wondering will they make the finals, or indeed, will they face the prospect of relegation with the second last spot closing in on a few teams, something Croydon had to deal with last season. End of the day, Campbelltown are still the reigning champions, so Croydon will have to show due respect but at the same time show it takes no sympathy when knowing its own fate is paramount with us now suddenly only a point behind early season pace-setters Comets, who are now in Croydon’s immediate sights.
The news wasn’t so kind to our Women’s team and Amateur sides, with the ladies going down 9-0 away to South Adelaide (reserves 12-0) and the Polonia boys having a bit of a shocker by their standards losing 7-1 to FSASA. Nevertheless they are all having a crack and we still appreciate them all playing in the right spirit and under the club’s proud banner!