Christmas present for Croydon
9:40am Friday 30th December 2011 in CCL
Croydon received a late Christmas present in the form of three points courtesy of a 3-0 win over Mole Valley SCR, writes Suniel Bhardwaj.
However, despite playing a side that are bottom of the table, Valley were no turkeys and from the start did not look like a side propping up the CCL Premier Division.
After three minutes only a combination of Danny Davenport and Ababio closing in on one of their forwards stopped him from attempting to score.
Soon, Arnold Okrior took a corner which was cleared by Ababio. There was end to end stuff in this game, the game was anybody's, one minute possession was with Croydon, the next it was with Valley.
A dozen minutes into the game saw the first Croydon corner, taken by Thompson, but this was cleared by one of their defenders.
Okrior, together with Danny Elgar, were the two footballers who were able to test Croydon's defenders. Okrior had a good run on the left, only for Davenport to make a clearance.
Then Elgar had a chance, but with Trams surrounding him with not much room to manoeuvre, his shot went over the bar. Soon, the ball was with Croydon and in the fifteenth minute the first shot towards the goal ended up wide of the post. Then, after some passes outside the box amongst Trams players, Thompson had a shot which also went wide.
As always, Amayaw did his bit to stop Croydon's opponents from scoring. After 18 minutes, Okrior on the left crossed to a Valley forward, but Amayaw pushed the ball with his fingertips before the ball went out of play.
Croydon's first goal was scored by Sean Rivers in the 20th minute. De Almeida, who had just attempted to score, then crossed to Rivers, whose header went past goalkeeper Bowden into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Okrior was making another run on the left, getting past Davenport and Gledhill, passing to a Valley forward who was then denied a scoring opportunity by Croydon.
Then Valley had two corners, and Amayaw denied Valley from scoring twice. Five minutes later, Amayaw saved the ball again following a free kick that was taken by Elgar. Amayaw's goal kick ended up with Thompson, who passed to Ababio, whose shot went over the crossbar.
Croydon's second goal came in the 29th minute. Thompson took a corner, and a Nwanze header made it 2-0 to Croydon following the goalkeeper's failure to hold on to the ball.
Again, MVSCR were in possession, and there were a couple of chances from Elgar that were either cleared or saved by Amayaw. This was followed by a chance in the 36th minute by de Almeida, which was stopped by a defender. Then, following a corner, Davenport crossed to the right only for the recipient's shot to end up on the top of the net. Then in the 39th minute, a Gledhill corner swept into the goalmouth, and there was silence on the pitch as no one could believe that a goal could be scored from the corner flag.
There was one last attempt in the first half to score from both sides, first Ababio's shot went wide, and on the other side of the pitch, a Valley forward's shot went straight into Amayaw's hands.
Croydon had a couple of corners early on in the second half. The first was cleared by Jaimesh Holait, and the second, by Gledhill, was saved by Bowden. Another chance to score came in the 51st minute when Hunt's shot went wide. Soon after, there was a pass from Thompson to de Almeida whose shot was saved by Bowden.
55 minutes into the game, and Croydon were not going to rest on their laurels. de Almeida pressurised the Valley side, and Croydon had a throw in, but following some good passes, and a possible chance to score, however Lippett was offside. Three minutes later, de Almeida, running on the left, went past some MVSCR defenders, passed to Thompson, but Thompson missed a chance to score. Then de Almeida had a chance himself with an impressive shot from a central position, but unfortunately the ball flew wide of the goal.
At this time, the ball was continually in Croydon's possession and seemed to be out of sight for MVSCR players until James Brown thought it was time for payback, and following some short passes, took his chance to score only for the ball to be saved by Amayaw.
The ball was back in Croydon's possession, and again there was another chance to score when in the 67th minute, a cross from Thompson led to a Mark Cecil header, but unfortunately his header ended on the top of the net. There was concern when following a Thompson corner, Lippett had three attempts to take the ball off an MVSCR player, only to have his foot stepped on, but thankfully Lippett was able to run off the injury and last the rest of the game. Having left Lippett behind, eventually their forward's shot was saved by Amayaw anyway.
In the 76th minute, with Gledhill in a central position, he passed to Nwanze, who missed a sitter. Then there was some more good passing between Amayaw, Pratt and Gledhill, whose shot on goal went wide, before he came off. Back to the other end of the pitch, and there was a run on the right from Adawnis Oshilada, and his shot was saved by Amayaw.
In the 85th minute, there was a free kick taken by Pinnock. The ball looked like it was going to go in, only to hit the corner of the crossbar/post. There was only one more chance for Croydon to score when in stoppage time, Tom Pratt had a simple tap in ruled out for off side.
Being the Christmas season it's only natural to give cards out. Unfortunately for MVSCR's Oshilada, it was two yellows and a red for what seemed to be minor offences. Not that it made any difference to Croydon to play against 10 men for the last few minutes.
Croydon's next game takes place on Bank Holiday Monday at Chessington and Hook United, with an 11.30 AM kick off.
Croydon: Ameyaw, Danny Davenport, Lippett, Hunt, Ababio, Nwanze, Thompson, Gledhill (Ryan Fowler 78), Rivers (Pratt 65), de Almeida (Pinnock 65), Mark Cecil. Subs: Smith, Marriott.