After the disappointment of the Cup Final loss last Monday, Brazzale’s men were out to turn things around in Rd 15 action at Polonia Reserve. Opponents Birkalla were desperate for a win to move clear of the Kings in the bottom half of the ladder. This was proving to be a “6 point game”.
On a bloody cold, wet and windy Saturday afternoon, the home side dominated play early, sticking with the same starting 11 as the final. It took just 24 mins for the Kings to open the scoring with an own goal, forced by some good forward pressure and attack by new King, Ambes. His shot was on target and was deflected by the Birkalla defender. 1-0 Croydon and we were looking good!
Plenty of attacking play and decent ball movement for the conditions saw the Croydon boys push forward and put pressure on the visiting defence. 12mins after the opener, a wicked cross by young star Patty Caraccia found a diving Pete Mercurio in the 6 yard box for his first senior goal in a couple years. Unfortunately for Pete, he was collected by the keeper after beating him to the cross. A quick check by trainer Josh Avery and the forward was good to go. 2-0 Croydon.
A large amount of stoppage time (thanks to the referee bizarrely allowing a Birks player to change boots for 5mins), gave both teams the chance to pinch one in the pouring rain before the break. Unfortunately for Croydon, it was the visitors who pounced on some loose marking from a cross in the 18 yard box and Birks had pinched a cheap goal back. Luckily for the home side, a foul a few yards out from the corner of the 18 yard box gave gun midfielder Rocky Visconte a chance to use the wind and try his luck. And try his luck he did! A curling, drifting ball went thru all the defenders and alluded the goalkeeper! A cracking shot just before the whistle. 3-1 at half time and the foot was on the throat. Some very happy, but wet Kings fans who braved the weather to cheer on their team!
The Kings came out of the rooms with some authority and were looking to put his one to bed… 7mins after the restart, Patty Caraccia was put thru on goal after a long ball from the back… he calmly slotted past the advancing keeper! 4-1 and it was raining goals at Polonia Reserve! With the rain coming down hard, the away side managed to win a lucky penalty. The ball bouncing up and striking Captain Luke Klimek on the hard- a tough call but it was made. Penalty converted and it was 4-2 after 57mins.
Another 5mins later, Birks were down to 10 men after the goal scorer and boot changer was show his 2nd yellow after putting studs into the thigh of keeper Nick Munro. His threats of “meet you in the car park after the game” to the Kings fans was laughed off by the Polonia faithful as we politely waved him off the park.
Brazzale saw the opportunity for some changes with the extra man, and Interieri, Costanzo and Polli were all introduced. The hard working Klimek, Visconte and Caraccia kept the pressure up in the midfield while Toure was making great runs up front. Unfortunately for Croydon, the desperateness of Birkalla’s 10 men came up with a scrappy goal in the 81st min to make it 4-3. Again, loose defending out the back and the goal mouth scramble didn’t help the Kings. All momentum with the away side now. Not long after, Croydon had a chance to break this momentum and they thought they had! A well constructed goal was ruled out for offside much to the disgust of Croydon players and fans alike. Still 4-3 Croydon.
Just 2 mins before the end of the 90, Birks’ miraculous come back was complete when a cleared corner only made it the edge of the box, directly in front- and was buried by Suzuki to make it 4-4. A shocked and bemused crowd and Kings players couldn’t believe what had unfolded in 20mins. Both teams pushed for the winner in the remaining 6mins of regular and stoppage time- all to no avail. The final whistle went and Birkalla were celebrating like they had won- meanwhile the Kings heads were down and they knew that they let that one slip away.
A brilliant 70mins of football from the home side provided plenty of attack, grunt and forward drive! Unfortunately there was 20mins of lack of concentration, uneasiness and pressure we just didn’t deal with at all. A huge chance to get out of trouble had been lost… BUT, there were plenty of positives from that game and the boys will be even more hungry to make up for it this week against Adelaide United.
The day began with Adam Vizzari’s lads earning a point in a tight 2-2 draw… a great effort from the young lads! The reserves were incredibly unlucky with a 1-0 loss with literally the last kick of the game. A horrible way to lose a game that was looking to be a draw. Unlucky boys- heads up and we move on to next week!
The reserves (1pm) and seniors (3pm) are away to Adelaide United Youth THIS SUNDAY @ SMITH PARTNERS STADIUM (Modbury Jets home ground). The U’18s are away on Saturday at The Parks from 11am.
Be sure to get down to the game Sunday and show your support for the lads as they look to take a much needed 3 points and get their way back up that ladder where we belong!
U18′s: 2-2 draw
Reserves: 1-0 loss
Seniors: 4-4 draw