Well last week didn’t go to plan, but Mark Brazzale’s side were determined to make up for it against Adelaide United Youth on home soil.
AUFC have been our “bogey side” since they entered the comp, with our Croydon boys yet to beat the A-League youth side. This week was a perfect chance to turn it around and pinch the much needed 3 points.
The late exclusion of star midfielder Rocky Visconte and no James Skeffington for a second week as well as Guy Miller, meant we had to all work as a unit to get the job done.
A warm but cloudy day greeted both sides and supporters at Polonia Reserve Saturday afternoon, and with the welcome inclusion of Paul Radice from suspension and Patty Caraccia from injury, the Kings were hungry for a win!
A tightly contested 15mins saw both teams move the ball around without much trouble. Then Adrian D’Alfonso’s great start to 2018 continued as his 20th minute strike saw United’s Daniel Margush beaten. A roar from the sidelines from the Polonia faithful as the Kings took a 1-0 lead.
Croydon were well on top from here and pressed hard to double their lead, and just before half time, they did that! A free kick from outside the 18 yard box had D’Alfonso step up to whip in a deadly ball met by the head of defender Alex Sunasky. The United keeper had no chance from the Kings set piece as Sunasky claimed his first goal in a Croydon strip! The boys were cheered off at the break 2 goals to the good.
The second half started much like the first with a tight tussle in the middle of the park. United looked to step it up a notch to find a way back into the game. Young defenders Martinello and Abetew once again were solid under pressure from A-League players Ochieng and Stamatolopoulos. 70mins in, coach Brazzale made his first change with Johnny Papapetros coming on for the hard running Patty Caraccia. However, the Kings defence was under more and more pressure from a hard finishing United Youth side and goalkeeper Nick Munro was forced to make a quality save with his feet in the 72nd min to maintain the clean sheet.
Unfortunately a few mins later, the away side benefitted from a Croydon defence unable to clear well enough, blasting the ball in the back of the net to create a nervous finish for the defending champions. 2-1 it is.
We had to hold strong for the remaining 15mins and the bench was emptied with Alhassan Toure coming on, shortly followed by the return of Jarrod Brazzale for his first senior game for the season.
A tough second half for the Croydon boys but we were resilient and showed great character to hold on for a 2-1 win… our first against Adelaide United Youth!
Strong performances by Captain Luke Klimek, Adrian D’Alfonso, Adam Martinello and John Panagaris just to name a few, led the way to 3 vital points.
The day began well with the u18′s recording another impressive 2-1 win over the SA NTC side. The Reserves conceded a late goal to go down to the United reserves side 2-1. On a positive note for the Senior Womens side, last weeks result was overturned due to Salisbury fielding an unregistered player. The Kings womens side were awarded a 3-0 victory- their first of the season.
Next week we return to Polonia Reserve yet again to face a battered but always difficult West Adelaide. This is no easy game and the boys will need our support to get them over the line and jump up that tightly contested table!
Remember Kings fans, see Julie for all your Croydon Kings supporter wear… caps, scarves, polos, jackets, hoodies… deck yourself out and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT for YOUR club!
Photo credit: Joe Janko… as always, thank you for your great work Joe!!