A warm and sunny day on the perfect pitch at Adelaide City Park greeted both sides for the first time since our Grand Final win last season. After a gutsy FFA Cup win last week, the Croydon boys had their tails up for this big clash.
A full strength side for Mark Brazzale to choose from meant the Kings would be a handful for the high flying Adelaide City. Much like last week, the Kings started the game with brilliant forward pressure and drive. Creating plenty of chances early, stars Radice, Visconte, Skeffington and Caraccia all working well in the centre of the park. A free kick to the Kings in a difficult position had Vice Captain Rocky Visconte step up. A perfectly struck and placed free kick beat the wall and the diving keeper, who couldn’t get a strong enough hand on it to keep it out! 9mins in and we had the lead!
The forward pressure continued as the Kings pushed for a second. This is the football the fans love to see… the type of football that saw us make and win the final last year. Just 7mins later, the Kings struck again, this time thru Captain Lukasz Klimek! Some beautiful lead up play saw Klimek free in the middle and from 20 yards out, hit a bullet of a shot into the bottom left hand corner! Croydon 2-0 up and dominating the game! Solid and confident defending had us head into the break 2 goals to the good.
The second half began with what looked like a new opponent. City came out hard and strong, exactly what we did in the first half. And just 8mins into the 2nd half, City had one back from a poor linesman decision that saw Costa scramble and flick the ball away from Munro and under the crossbar. 2-1 Croydon.
We were well and truly under attack from arguably the best forwards in the comp and just minutes later, GK Nick Munro was called upon and produced a wonderful save to keep our 1 goal lead. Unfortunately for the Kings, City’s pressure was too much and 58mins in, they were level. Pouncing on a loose ball just outside the 18 yard box, the unmarked City forward hammered home past the diving Munro. 2-2 and we were now on the back foot, A mere 2mins later and yet another offside decision not given from the same linesman, City took the lead with a belting 18 yard volley from the again unmarked Bucco. Nothing Munro (or any keeper) could have done about it. Horrible decisions but top quality finishing. City stunning the Kings with 3 quick fire goals. We were now chasing a draw after leading 2-0 just 10mins earlier,
Changes made saw Toure, Interieni and Martinello introduced in quick succession to try swing momentum and try find the equaliser. Our best 2nd half chance came to Patty Caraccia who should have hit the back of the net from close range, but his effort was within reach of the City keeper who made a good diving save. The Adelaide City juggernaut was doing to us what we did to them in the first half. With players pushing up to try pinch a draw, we were caught out on a counter attack and Munro once again denied Mori in the dying mins of stoppage time. Moments later, the full time whistle blew… City 3-2.
The Croydon defence was torn apart from the super quick wingers and quality finishers from City. Too many unmarked forwards made it easier for City to get back in the game. A good defensive performance from Panagaris and Sunasky wasn’t enough to go away with any points. However there were many positives for Brazzale’s men… it was our best first half of the season, brilliant ball movement and forward drive. Unfortunately Croydon couldn’t withstand 10mins of immense pressure from the white and blacks along with dubious refereeing decisions (or non decisions) that ultimately cost us the 3 points.
Vizzari’s under 18′s pinched 2 late goals in what looked to finish in a goal-less draw, gave the away side a much needed victory. Shortly after Mick Doyle’s reserves went down in a 1 sided second half. City dominated the Kings reserves and ran away with a 7-2 win. A tough day out for the visiting Kings sides, but with teams around and below us going down, we are still right in the mix.
We’re playing good football… wins are just around the corner. Lets start with Round 2 of the FFA Cup this WEDNESDAY (ANZAC Day) against Metro Stars @ 2:30, Polonia Reserve. Followed by Metro again in Round 10 of the League on Saturday, 3pm at T.K Shutter Reserve.
SUPPORTERS- GET AROUND YOUR CROYDON BOYS- WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. COME TO GAMES, CHEER THE LADS ON AND LETS CLIMB THAT LADDER!!
U18′s: 2-0 win
Reserves: 7-2 loss
Seniors: 3-2 loss
Photo credit: Joe Janko- brilliant work as always mate- thank you!