Mark Brazzale’s young side travelled to the high flying Campbelltown City for Round 14 of the NPL season. 15 year old Kieran Stokes was given his second start in a row with James Polli earning his start at LB ahead of returning John Panagaris. Pete Mercurio was once again given the nod up front with ex Red Devil Patty Caraccia, ahead of Toure and Interieri.
The Kings were off to a decent start on what was a horrible pitch at the Steve Woodcock Sports Centre, holding the home team at bay early on. That was until the 13th min when almost no pressure by the Kings forwards allowed the home side to play a long switch to in form striker Lui Di Troia (who was loosely marked also). The number 10 cut back inside and curled a long range shot around the out stretched Munro and into the top corner. A cracker to open the scoring… a shame it was for the opposition, Campbelltown 1-0.
The home side were controlling the first half, until some fantastic defending by star midfielder Rocky Visconte and great touches by Mercurio and Caraccia forced the Campbelltown defence to bring down the hard running Caraccia in the box. Penalty to the Kings. Up stepped Adrian D’Alfonso who expertly buried the spot kick. 1-1 in the 34th min and game back on! From here, the Croydon boys stepped it up a notch and dominated the last 15 mins of the first half. Both teams went into the rooms at half time a goal a piece.
A tight and close game of football in the second half with chances going begging from both sides. Kings custodian Nick Munro was called upon again and again, none more impressive than his close range reflex save to keep the scores at 1-1. In the words of Treasurer Simon Gargaro “thank f**k for Munro”… The Kings once again struggled in front of goal, even with the changes of Toure and Interieri being introduced. A problem that has been with us all season.
Then in the 87th min, a challenge on winger Adrian D’Alfonso had him screaming in agony and clutching at his knee. Clearly in pain and in need of urgent attention. The referee let the game go on, and with the ball being played just metres from the injured player, Campbelltown midfielder Marc Marino met a cross and tucked the ball in the back of the net from close range. 2-1 Campbelltown…. but the Kings bench and fans were more concerned about our injured player. Eventually the medical staff were given permission to come on the field and attend to Dalf. Coaches Brazzale and Costanzo understandably not impressed with the referee allowing play to continue after the challenge and the severity of the injury to our player.
Unfortunately the away side couldn’t find an equaliser in the final 5mins of the game. A game that showed the quality of both our youth (Stokes, Polli, Martinello and Caraccia to name a few) and our experienced heads (Skeffington, Munro and the best on ground for the Kings, Visconte). We have to be the unluckiest side in the comp, taking it right up to top teams with a depleted list… along with now 3 season ending injuries to key players.
However, we punch on. We stick to our game plan and we believe in ourselves. The fans have no doubt that things will turn around and wins will come, No better time to start than with the FFA Cup Qualifying Final next Monday (11th June @ Hindmarsh Stadium) against Adelaide Comets. We have played some of our best football in the cup this season and the boys will be hungrier than ever for a win (and to get some form back).
Adam Vizzari’s under 18′s went down 3-1 at the beginning of the day, while the “multi coached” reserves recorded a very impressive 2-0 win. Well played lads- always nice to take some points from an away game!
LETS ALL GET BEHIND OUR CROYDON BOYS NEXT MONDAY (LONG WEEKEND) IN THE CUP FINAL AS WE LOOK TO PUT SOME MORE SILVERWEAR IN THE CABINET, MAKE THE ROUND OF 32 IN THE FFA CUP AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, GET SOME MOMENTUM AND CONFIDENCE FOR THE NEXT, MUST WIN LEAGUE GAME.
U’18′s: 3-1 loss
Reserves: 2-0 win