It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but the Kings missing some of their in-form regulars, got the job done with a vital 1-0 away win against Para Hills on Saturday.
Before the match, news spread that Visconte was still out injured, but also keeper Nick Munro with a back complaint and centre half Jarrod Brazzale missing with illness.
However the replacements were more than adequate after coach Mark Brazzale shuffled things around a little and the Kings looked comfortable at most times in all areas of the pitch.
Nathan Farrell (main picture) went back alongside Hosine Bility and young Jesse Francesca started in midfield to cover for him, and fan favourite Costa Zachoropoulos went in goals and was cool as a cucumber and kept a clean sheet.
Croydon started with a bang and were awarded a penalty inside two minutes, however the spot kick by Shaun McGreevy was slammed against the crossbar to the huge relief of the home side.
Until half time clear chances were few, and even though a shot was tipped onto the post by Zacaropoulos following a rare Para Hills foray into the box, Croydon looked more likely to score.
The second half opened up more but still the defences from each team seemed on top, until Brazza made a couple changes to shake things up and Sumaoro and Trimboli came on to give some freshness to the Kings attack.
Moey was creating problems for the Para right back, and Trimmers proved to be a handful when his forging runs gave the Kings midfield a new target and it just seemed a matter of time before the Kings would score and this they did on 73 minutes when Trimboli broke the offside trap, was one-on-one with the keeper and even though the Para shot-stopper parried his first effort, Trimmers made sure of the rebound and slotted home for what proved to be the match winner.
There were a few nervous moments late in the game when Para threw virtually everyone forward, but a stout defence and another fingertip save by Costa ensured that 3 points were in the kitty.
Another solid all round performance and the Francesca boys, Farrell, and the tireless Luke Klimek among the best.
It was a similar tale in the Reserves when it took a late strike from a late substitution to give the Kings a 1-0 win. In fact, it turned out to be the last kick of the game, much to the delight of the Kings who in fairness should have wrapped up this game long beforehand. But credit to Para who attacked whenever they could and played their part in a topsy-turvy match and would have been gutted at the Kings last gasp winner. Croydon sit nicely on the summit with 7 wins from 8 games.
The U/18’s game was quite extraordinary with the first half producing an amazing six goals, three from each side. All 3 Croydon goals were worthy of goal of the season contention, with long range volleys and dipping strikes from distance entertaining the small crowd. Unfortunately it was a familiar old tale when the second half the Kings couldn’t reproduce their first half heroics and leaked another 4 goals to eventually go down 7-3. At least there are some good signs and the very young team can only learn from each outing.
Next week, we are at home to face Adelaide United youth, who smashed Metrostars 4-1 to move out of the relegation zone, so again, it’s another tough job facing Croydon this week, but the Kings fear no-one and will be looking for some “home” goals which have been lacking this season with only one success in four games.