Phoenix Nights not O-Kay for Croydon Women
Phoenix Sports really did start like a phoenix from the flames scoring 2 goals in the opening 5 minutes before Croydon were allowed to settle. The intensity from the greens was not anything Croydon had faced to date and it took them by surprise. The first was a nice move and a good save by Steph Liddle that fell to the on-coming Phoenix player to lob back over and into the empty net. The second was due to hard pressure squeezing Croydon into a mistake that was nicely finished 0-2.
Croydon did start to get more comfortable and played the ball well. Kacie Nadison Singh hit a looping 50 yard, inch perfect ball out to Adenya Henry who was tightly marked and intercepted for a throw.
Newbie Rhianna Nichols was looking fast and showed good control on the left. Gracie Leigh came on to bolster defence and another debutant, Kamilla Ovrevik slotted into the defence too.
Phoenix had a clear header from an exquisite cross go narrowly wide, and Croydon had a chance with Maya Reber pushing forward and hitting the side netting.
Moments later a high ball into the Sports box caused confusion and Adenya was sharp enough to get a deft touch, just enough to go over the line, and the Trams were back in it. 1-2.
Phoenix were rising, and upped the game with number 14 in midfield relentless for the remainder of the first half. Steph made a great save from a rocket from the edge of the area, From the corner a PS header went over, they also hit the bar and had Kam the tram, clear off the line. Individual skill saw PS player dribbled through three players but Steph was quick at her feet to save. After another corner Steph got a finger-tip save and Lucy Casey was quick to clear again. Sofia Abad came on up front and hassled the PS defence well. A great ball by Kacie found Adenya who was thwarted at the PS keepers’ feet. Gracie Leigh Dunkley floated a great ball in to Sofia who almost reached it but again the PS keeper was good to intercept.
Yoyo Oke showed great strength to barge her opponent off the ball, then cut inside and hit a beauty that looked destined to be a goal, but was well tipped over by the PS keeper. Tash Wright was a constant battler to break up the green onslaughts, however each loose ball seemed to go to a green player.
In the second half there were more changes made as the Croydon coaches Lenin and Uche tried out new formats. Kam made a brave last ditched tackle to stop PS, and out for a corner. The cross came over and number 7 headed it home. 1-3. Phoenix started cyclically regenerating attacks, and in number 14 they have a very exciting prospect. She fed a perfect ball through for her striker to make it 4. Georgina Fangawa came on and dazzled on the left, only for number 14 to get the ball inside the Croydon half, and dribble through several challenges before finishing well past Steph in goal. 1-5.
The flood gates were open and number 6 came with some neat passing. Croydon never gave up and Maya put over a good cross that was headed out for a corner, which itself was well cleared. PS counter attacked and got their 7th from a lovely well hit shot from outside the area, leaving Steph no chance. Yoyo was a constant thorn in the Phoenix side and jinked around a few late lunges to then lob the keeper but the ball went just over the crossbar too. PS went through and Steph was able to push it wide with her feet. Lucy Casey cleared the corner to Yoyo who found Jenny Brown whose return pass was well intercepted or Yoyo would have been clear through. PS got their 8th from a corner, well headed in. Kam was impressive in defence and her goal kicks were long and accurate out to Tammie Adekanmbi and Yoyo who continued to harass the defence. The final whistle went and Croydon showed good spirit to keep pushing right to the end. It was a competitive game, and several PS players had treatment during the game. Megan showed her class by going to check on a green player who was carried off.
Player of match: A good effort against very good opposition.