Red hot Croydon give Junior Reds the Holiday Blues
Croydon got out the blocks quickly, once Lenin the coach had retrieved the ball the building works from behind the goal ala Boseman’s Black panther style.
Playing out from the back from Steph Liddle to Megan Webster to Tash Wright, there was a good feel to the side. The Junior Reds looked structured too but the fire was in the Croydon Belly. Lucy Casey particularly looked as if she’d been on the red meat with some beefy tackles to let Reds know who was in charge.
Up front Yoyo Oke and Adenya Henry were working well together. Yoyo could have had a hat-trick in the first 20 minutes. Her first ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside; she then had a shot saved on the line following a real pinball game in the goal mouth, and then she robbed the Red keeper, only to see the ball deflect just wide of the open goal. The Junior Reds could barely get out of their half as Croydon, with Kacie Nadison Singh particularly inspiring, controlling the middle of the pitch with Matylda Katana doing neat one-twos. The introduction of Ollie was just the catalyst from her to assist in the opening goal. Yoyo worked well to obtain possession of the ball, found Ollie on the wing whose sublime control and accurate pass found Adenya to score - uncharacteristically from close range. 1-0 Croydon. This fired up the Reds. With two number 10s on the pitch they broke free and passed well inside the box before the taller ten to hit a great shot well saved by Steph for a corner. Number 17 came up and as the ball was swung in it narrowly missed all players until Lucy was able to hoof it clear.
This was the last chance of the 1st half.
In the second half it was the Reds who had the rage to start on top. Their pacey smaller number 10 was able to race through on the counter attack and was thwarted at the feet of Steph. Croydon had a close chance as Jenny found Kacie who showed great skill down the flank, tapped back for Yoyo who hit a left foot grass cutter into the side netting. The game really opened up and first Steph mis-cleared to Number 9 who volleyed it straight back, but thankfully into Steph’s hands. Jade Asagba was a constant thorn in the reds attack, winning every high ball pumped her way, or out sprinting the number 10s as they tried to get the ball over the defence. Croydon had two quick attempts from outside the area. Adenya left footed her attempt but it lacked enough power and Kacie over hit her left foot wide following another meaty tackle from Lucy. Another counter by Reds was timely intercepted by Jade who conceded the corner. This sailed over and Number 17 caught it perfectly, but off the bar to Lucy to pump clear. Reds were dominating and Megan conceded a free kick. Red number 8 took quickly setting number 10 clear through only for Steph again to save at her feet. Croydon coach Uche moved Chantae Wallace into the middle and Jenny onto the left. Immediately it paid dividends. Chantae found Adenya on the right. Adenya weaved her way past several challenges before finding Yoyo. Yoyo turned her marker and blasted the ball into the net 2-0. Kacie nearly made it three, lobbing the keeper after good play from Yoyo, but going slightly wide. The Reds had a long range shot well palmed out by Steph. No one picked up the short corner and the cross was perfect for number 17 to bullet header home. 2-1. The game was still anyone’s, and Yoyo had a shot well saved, Gracie Leigh Dunkley, making an impressive debut for the Trams, hit the post direct from a corner. Kacie had another long-range effort sail just wide. Number 12 went wide for the Reds and her pace was causing lots of problems. She dribbled well and laid a ball square across the face with on rushing reds but none could connect. Ollie had a breakaway and showed great composure as she beat the keeper, but saw the ball rebound off the inside of the post and across the Reds goal, but again no one able to finish it off. Minutes remaining and a great counter by the Reds saw a 3 versus 2. With tired legs setting in it looked inevitable, but Jade again was majestic and intercepted an almost certain equaliser. More tricks and attacks for Croydon from Adenya, Yoyo, Ollie and Kacie who again lobbed the keeper tantalisingly close to scoring but brushed the far post.
A fine win against well organised and energetic opponents.
Player of match: Jade – Strong, quick and put her head in time after time.