Ashford Sizzle in Hatton Heat leaving Croydon Cross.
Croydon had some omens against them as they started the 20-21 league season away at Ashford town, under the Heathrow flight path, on a blistering hot summer’s day.
Firstly, two players had last minute cancellations, and then Kamilla was unable to play following a warm up injury. Croydon had to wear the Carlisle United shirts as there was no new kits in Secretary Paul’s baggage area and there were traffic issues, which caused some late arrivals from boarding.
Ashford started brightly and number12 looked very effective from the kick off slicing her shot wide after making herself room in the congested centre of midfield. Lucy Casey sent a good ball through to Tash Wright who was able to put over a good cross, but cleared from the tangerine defenders of Ashford. Number 7 for Ashford propelled down the left and her cross was only half cleared to Number 12 who hit a left footer that took flight past the diving Steph Liddle. 1-0.
Moments later Number 12 was thwarted by a great Jade Asagba block from her water bombing volley. Maya Reber in her final match for the Trams pre- University came out with the ball on a mission. She rounded two tackles before her take-off was terminated by a lunging Town tackler.
A short back pass to Steph led to a mix up that saw Steph clear the ball directly at Number 12 and the deflection spun into the open goal. 2-0
Jenny Brown was getting more involved and sent a great ball through to Tammie Adekanmbi who sprinted through the Ashford back line, only for the keeper to save low at her feet.
Maya was also dazzling the Ashford players and fed Kacie Nadison-Singh from the left. Kacie took a touch forward, looked up and hit a rocket from 40yards that sailed beyond the ‘hangaring’ keeper, and into the net. 2-1.
Croydon were getting to grips and Lucy found Tasha on the wing. She laid onto Adenya Henry whose cross was intercepted for a corner. Maya took an in swinger that was headed over.
Megan Webster and Gracie Leigh Dunkley were linking well with Kacie as Croydon passed well down the left. Adenya was being a constant threat too, however the colossus number 7 in the Tangerines back line was proving a formidable opponent. Ashford counter-attacked and got their 3rd. Number 12 found the runway clear on the left flank, her shot hot the outside of the post but somehow came straight back to her and with Steph committed to the first shot had the gaping goal at her mercy. 3-1
Jenny Brown was unlucky as she turned well and shot wide. Ashford shot over, and then as Adenya sprinted through, she tussled 50/50 with the towering defender, and beat her to go clean through, only for the ref to call the game back as a foul by Adenya. The whistle went as Croydon were looking destined to get the equaliser.
Ashford came out with the same intensity they started with. Megan was barged off the ball, similar to the Adenya tackle at the same spot in the 1st half, but this time the ref allowed play to continue and Number 12 shot well over. Steph pulled off a fine diving save from the tangerines left side. Lucy was able to clear the corner. Moments later following some mesmerising control by Kacie, Lucy was at the other end heading a corner which was cleared off the line by the resolute Ashford defence. Kacie was everywhere trying to force the trams back into the game. Tammie was getting harsh treatment from the Ashford defence, and found Kacie on the edge. Her curler rounded the keeper but also went wide of goal. Once again, the tangerines counter-attacked and Jade needed all her long legs to reach to intercept the ball back to Steph. Another cross into the Croydon packed defence was cleared from the packed hub by the head of Tash. Croydon counter-attacked out to Tammie who again was up-ended by the full back.
Ashford were now dominating and Jade was throwing her body in the way of the water bombs that kept coming. Jade headed out to the left winger who curled just wide. In the Fuselage area of the Croydon box, the ball ricocheted about and hit Gracie Leigh’s arm. Ball to arm not arm to ball, but the ref once again favoured the tangerines for his decision and the penalty was well taken. 4-1. Once more Croydon were pushing. Adenya showing great skills to retrieve a loose ball in the centre but alone striker was unable to get near goal. Steph made an amazing point blank save at the other end. In great formational play, Kacie found Maya on the right. Maya crossed to the opposite side to Tammie who controlled well, went past her marker and found Jenny in the box whose first-time strike found the face of a Ashford player on the goal-line. Kacie was instrumental in finding Tammie again who cut inside to Adenya, who nutmegged the Ashford goalie. 4-2. Another good move saw Maya sweep over a pin point ball to Tammie who finished well, alas just as the ref blew for a dubious offside. This was Croydon’s last chance as moments later a long travelling ball from defence soured to their No12. Several Trams stopped in their tracks awaiting the offside, but Ash kept going. Steph saved but once again the cruel rebound found itself spiralling into the Croydon net. 5-2.
Summary: It was ‘business class’ from Ashford as they deserved to win, however, with fresh legs and more luck with decisions it might have been a different story for Croydon.
POM: Kacie – As well as the rocket of a goal, she was everywhere throughout and involved in all Croydon’s best chances.