Croydon Kings prevailed 2-1 in a nail-biting elimination final at home to West Adelaide at Polonia Reserve on Saturday, to set up another do or die final with Adelaide Comets, themselves victorious 3-2 in extra time over Para Hills in the other knock-out match.
The Kings were on the back foot early with Westies making all the early running and the defence had to withstand some strong pressure from West Adelaide as they sought to stamp their authority of the game. Croydon defended well although at times looked a little shell-shocked when it came to marking up the numbers in the box with waves of Westies attacks. West Adelaide broke through in the 33rd minute when a Vlassis shot took a wicked deflection and took a 1-0 lead, which was later put down as an own goal, such was the magnitude of the deflection. The goal seemed to wake Croydon up and before half time had a few chances of their own, albeit mainly from dead-ball situations.
We’re not sure what words were said at half time but the second half saw a complete transformation of the game. Croydon came out firing and took over the dominance in midfield and were creating chance after chance, mainly through the energy of Caraccia, Visconte and Radice creating havoc for the West defence.
Chances were missed but you could sense the Kings were about to equalise and this they did when a scrappy but effective attack ended up Paul Radice bundling the ball over the line with his sheer persistence in the 66th minute.
Croydon continued to dominate and West Adelaide looked to have run out of puff when just 5 minutes later the Kings took the lead when a pull back cross on the touch line found Shaun McGreevy who was on hand to flick home and give the Kings the lead to a rousing crowd reception.
The Kings could have increased their lead with some further attacks but in the end the final whistle was greeted with cheers from the home crowd in the know the job was done and we live to fight another day.
It was the first time this season Croydon won from coming from behind, so it gives the boys some extra confidence knowing they can raise their game if they have to despite an early setback. The whole team played well although there were notable performances from Caraccia, Radice, Bility and Brazzale.
Earlier on the Reserves had a good win, albeit in extra time when they overcame a battling WT Birkalla 2-0 to book themselves another finals game this weekend. The boys should have wrapped the game up in normal time, but to be fair some “iffy” decisions went against them so at least the end result gave the some justice as they continue their bid in season 2017.
In a double-header at Polonia Reserve on Sunday, the Amateurs went down 2-1 to Adelaide Thunder, whilst the Women’s team went down in a brave manner 3-1 to Stirling, which winds up their season.