The Higher ranked Parakeets arrived from Downham in illuminated green plumage for this friendly, and starter brighter on the pitch as well. Croydon had a few new players to trial and it took a while to get a rhythm. SE Parakeets were older and a group of familiarity among their flock of players from several seasons playing together. They sprayed the ball around confidently at the back and used their wingers well in the opening exchanges. However, in Megan Webster in particular they found a worthy adversary, blocking, tackling and then passing out to her own. No wasted pass and strong tackling. Croydon nearly broke the deadlock with a great ball through to Tammie Adekanmbi that the Parakeet keeper did well to come out to and smother at Tammies feet.
The Parakeets kept applying pressure and what went over Megan was intercepted and cleared by debutant Jade Asagba or Chatae Wallace on the right. A corner from SEP was met well by Jade again, but this time went up and not out. An on rushing Parakeet with momentum in her favour flew into the air and nodded home. 0-1.
Moments later The Parakeets hit the crossbar, Jade then had to intercept a 2 versus 1 scenario as the offside trap was sprung. Steph Liddle made 2 good saves at feet as the parakeets pressed. It wasn’t all one way. Tammie was dazzling down the left and had a shot go wide, and Kacie Nadison-Singh smashed a long range effort just over. Another fine move by the Parakeets saw Tammie again the saviour, heading out a cross. From the corner the ball fell to one of the Parakeets defenders on the edge, whose shot flew in past the diving Steph. 0-2.
Before the half was over Megan cleared a goal-bound shot off the line and Steph produced a great save from a close range shot following another corner.
Although the Parakeets had had a lot of chances, most were from distance of set pieces. Coach Uche explained that they were still in the match and a few more attacking changes were made to the team. Another new player, Ice, who had showed signs in the first half of her skill, really began to ruffle some feathers. Time after time her trickery and speed proved a real handful for the greens. There was great link play. Natasha Wright was working well in the middle, Tammie and Ice linking well on the left and on the right Lucy Casey and Adenya Henry were also pressing the Parakeet defence. One move between Tammie and Ice doing a swift one-two, saw Tammie clearly upended in the box and a penalty given. Up stepped Kacie, who beat the keeper but unfortunately the ball hit the bar and went over. Moments later and it was Croydon were like a runaway tram. Ice jinking through players for fun and launching a great effort, but again sailing over the bar. Adenya was also finding form. A nice move from her to Kacie to Tammie saw her shot go inches wide. The inevitable goal came, and it was a belter. Ice danced her way through the middle, fed Adenya on the edge, who took one touch and then hit it like a rocket into the net. Kacie was finding her range and hit the bar. Moments later she drove through a few challenges and set up Georgina Fangawa who was clear through but again the quick keeper was at her feet quick enough to block the shot. The Parakeets started to counter-attack, and number 22 was proving a real threat. She had a long range effort well parried and cleared. In another counter attack she had Natasha tracking her run almost the full length of the pitch from the half way line to slide in with a vital challenge to concede a corner. From the corner again the Parakeets rose best but ring-necked it over the bar. Yet more sustained Croydon pressure saw Yoyo come on for Ice and an audacious flick from an Amy Gravels pass just lacked any power but the intention was sublime. Again Parakeets threatened and another corner. This time, it was Jade throwing her head in the way which prevented a probable goal and also had her seeing birdies swirling her head. Thankfully no lasting damage and on Croydon went in search of an equaliser. Sinead Purser was brought into play and showed some great individual flare in rounding four Parakeets, only to see her shot saved.
The Referee blew his whistle. A fair result from the first half dominance, but Croydon the better team in the 2nd Half and left with heads held high.
Player of Match – Mega Webster – Put everything into this match.