Simple scenario for the Kings… a win against bottom of the ladder Sturt Lions will guarantee safety. A draw would mean we’d hope for a Birkalla loss or draw. A few changes to Brazzale’s starting 11 with gun forward Paul Radice making his first start after returning from injury. Pete Mercurio was back after illness and Patty Caraccia was sitting out due to too many yellow cards.
The fast artificial turf at the shores saw the ball move around really quickly and at times the Croydon boys found it hard to deal with. A few loose balls here and there early on, but not too bad. After 15mins, Sturt had a player sent off with a straight red from what looked to be a punch or a kick on Skeffington. Advantage Croydon. Chances came for both sides and Sturt had nothing to lose. Strangely enough, Sturt looked to control most of the 1st half, even with 10 men! Other than the red card, a largely uneventful first half ended 0-0.
Now you’d think that with an extra man the Kings would come out firing in the 2nd half and look to push forward… Unfortunately for the travelling fans, the away side were down 1-0 just 3 mins into the restart. A very soft free kick on the half way line to Sturt (and all white shirts in the area busy arguing the point with the referee), saw a quickly taken free kick played thru to an onside striker who put his shot across the advancing Munro and into the bottom corner. A really poor defensive brain fade from the Kings and we were now chasing the game.
The hard working Klimek, Visconte and Skeffington were all putting in solid shifts while young Dom Costanzo was getting stuck in and chasing everything down. The Kings looked like they were the team with 10 men and struggled to find an equiliser. Then in the 62nd min some nice build up play by the midfield and a nice cross from Panagaris fell to the waiting James Skeffington who buried home from close range! 1-1 and all Kings fans thought we were going to run away with it. Paul Radice did his best to make this happen with a long range chip of the keeper almost had him beaten… but instead a great tip over the bar.
As the game (and chances) came to a close, a draw would have sufficed… until the 88th minute. A cross to the back post was finished off by the in form Italian import from Sturt (gees it would have been nice if ours was like that!). A nudge on Martinello went unnoticed by the referee and was nodded home from 6 yards out. One keeper Nick Munro wont want to see on the replay. 2 mins later, the referee blew for full time and that was it. 2-1 loss and the chance to secure safety in this round went begging. Luckily for Croydon, Birkalla was beaten on Sunday.
The day started off brightly for the Kings with both of Adam Vizzari’s sides picking up 3 points. The U/18′s getting a 3-0 win, followed by the Reserves beating Sturt reserves 2-1.
We head back to Polonia Reserve this week for our last home game of the season… and possibly forever! We take on old rival Metro Stars. A point minimum is needed and could secure our safety before the last round.
U18′s: 3-0 win
Reserves: 2-1 win
Seniors: 2-1 loss