For the third week in a row, it was a tense finish with late drama when Croydon eventually had to settle for a share of the points in their first draw of the season at Elite Stadium on Saturday night against Olympic.
The first half was eventful with both sides having a red hot go, although Croydon had the better of chances with several near misses, with Visconte, Radice and McGreevy all getting in good positions to strike, but either good goalkeeping or the woodwork always there to rescue Olympic. It was another scoreless first half but the signs were encouraging for the Kings given their assertion of superiority in most corners of the pitch.
The second half opened with more golden chances for Croydon, the best when Radice was clear inside the box only to hit his shot straight at the keep with either side of the goal begging.
Olympic looked dangerous at times with a few forays into attack of their own, so a lot was asked of the Kings defence at times but they stood up well and quelled most attempts that came their way.
Croydon’s task looked to be enhanced when an Olympic player was shown his marching orders in the 66th minute, and the odds were certainly looking good if you had backed the Kings for another late win.
Yet again, it wasn’t until the 89th minute before the crowd was delivered a goal, and again an attack built up on the left wing preceded a rebounded attempt before Rocky Visconte smashed home from close range to give what most thought would be the match-winning goal.
All the Kings had to do was close out the injury time period, but this proved to be a tougher task than it looked with Olympic throwing everything at them during the period, and unfortunately for Croydon, a poor free-kick decision against it in the 95th minute saw the ensuing cross in a goal scramble and somehow the ball was bundled over the line and Olympic were level with pretty much the last play of the match.
We can be annoyed at the decision to give the free kick, but end of the day, Croydon had all eleven players in the penalty area defending it, had an extra player for virtually 30 minutes, so can only blame themselves for not securing fourth spot on the ladder with what would have been a decent 9 points in 4 games. Instead, we sit precariously in sixth with 7 points, with some hard games coming up.
Now that the defence seems to have got themselves sorted out,, it is now becoming clear than more is needed in our front half and we cannot rely on one goal late in the game to deliver the goods on a consistent basis. Time for the forwards to step up and start converting the decent chances that are set up for them!
Our reserves left it late but kept up its 100% record when they won 2-1 in a great game and credit must go to both sides for producing such a high quality contest. Well done to Mick Doyle and his charges, lets hope they can continue their good form.
The U/18’s were unlucky at times and were probably worth at least their first point of the season, although a couple second half lapses saw them succumb to a determined Olympic side and eventually went down 2-0. At least there are signs that they are on the way up, and they will be tested over the next few games, so hopefully they can understand how much hard work and good preparation is required to be successful in this league. Heads up boys, train hard, and the results will come.
Next week we are home to the highly fancied Adelaide Comets, a team which has recruited strongly in the last couple years and sits on 9 points, 2 above the Kings.
Put simply we need to bring our “A” game to have any chance to win. Those with good memories will recall how unlucky Croydon were both times we played them last season, going down 3-2 each time.
Clearly our players will believe we can win, and so they should, as when Croydon assert their authority on matches early on especially, they can beat anyone in the league. We all know it, we now just need delivery!
Pic (thanks to Joe Janko) – Rocky Visconte ensured the yellow away strip is still undefeated for Croydon with his first goal of 2017 season.