Sporting Duet win Duel against Trams in baptism of Fire.
New chair, Emma Bowell, had a baptism of fire in the first match under her tenure.
Sporting Duet, wearing Royal Blue and playing at their Kings House riverside stadium in Chiswick, made a mockery of their name, as this was a very one-sided first half.
Croydon, in yellow, were optimistic prior the match, with 4 debutantes in their starting line-up. A minute’s silence was respected for Prince Phillip, and the queens head looked up from the hard West London turf. Sporting Duet to kick off. It wasn’t long before the Blues of W4 were attacking the Croydon goal, and an early long-range effort went sailing over the Croydon bar. The intent was a sign of things to come.
Sporting Duet's no26 looked lively throughout and was mastering the early interchanges. Croydon looked more the footballing side, neat passes through defence, particularly from Alex White at right back, through Kacie Nadison Singh, and Megan Webster to midfield, but the final ball to Emma Dyduch up front was intercepted or Emma was crowded out. Sporting’s inevitable first goal came courtesy of great wing play and a sublime cross which was headed home as Sophia Gladwin Troy came off her line to catch, the tall striker able to leap and get enough direction. 1-0.
Moments later, an Alex back pass to Sophia was intercepted and efficiently slotted home. 2-0.
In quick succession Sporting Duet had 3 more valid attempts that all failed to hit the target, and although Croydon seemed to have the bulk of the possession, it was the speed, organisation and alertness of the Blues that was the dominant quality on show. Croydon had some good chances too. Jenny Brown playing left back overlapped and put a great cross into the Duet box that was headed clear to the advancing Maya Reber. Maya controlled well, rounded her marker but had her shot blocked. Moments later a long-range effort from Matylda Katana was well parried by the tall Sporting keeper. Siobhan McCay, another newbie, hit a beautiful long ball up to Emma, who lost her marker but her shot flew just over. On the left wing, some impressive skill saw a Sporting player through and her low shot was well held by Sophie. Moments later, however, the same winger got past the Croydon defence line, and her low hard cross was tapped in at the far post. 3-0.
Olivia Gregory, who returned to the Trams having appeared in a pre-season friendly was getting into her rhythm. Darting left and right and gaining in confidence. One move saw her shoot just wide from the edge of the box. It was No26, however who was to excel in the dribbling stakes. First rounding one, then two players she was able to slip the ball past Sophie and as the half time whistle blew it was 4-0 to the home side.
The Croydon coaches mixed formations about and Sara Kytasaho and Georgina Fangawa were introduced. Almost immediately the extra height of Sara was highlighted as she deflected a long ball out of play. Kacie Nadison was again everywhere trying to get Croydon back into contention. A neat bit of skill and lobbed pass for Emma was just pipped by the impressive reactions of the Sporting keeper. Sporting seemed content to counter-attack as Croydon sprayed the passes about well. A long ball saw the blues striker clean through, in a possible off-side. Sophie made a great save with her feet. Jenny found Georgina with a ball over the top, but once again the Sporting Duet keeper was alert and out quick to deny a goal. Olivia was tormenting the right back with her skills but against the run of play, it was Sporting who got a fifth. Their solid defender had hustled through midfield and with a crowded area curled a shot low and hard into the Croydon goal, Sophie fingertips not enough to stop the pace. 5-0.
Sara was sweeping up long balls and reverted to a long ball herself which Emma looked certain to claim, only for the keeper to once again show incredible awareness and speed to intercept. Tammie Adekanmbi, who had not been allowed much space throughout did a Tammie dribble of old, beating 3 players only for her shot to be blocked on the 6-yard box. Olivia was found clean through from a Jenny pass, but was deemed offside. Another rare attack by the counter-attacking Sporting was cleared off the line by Sara. Jenny was linking well with Matylda and Kacie and Georgina on the right, and Olivia was getting nearer each attack cutting in from the left. She managed to lob the keeper but it sailed just over the bar, and with minutes to spare, did a shot on the turn, that brought out the best save of the match as the tall Sporting keeper dived athletically to catch. One last sarong by Maya, dribbling past 2 players, and onto Georgina who also beat her marker only to be blocked near the goal.
It just wasn’t Croydon’s day. New players meant players need time to familiarise and with a lack of training or matches, there is hope for better things as the team gels. Sporting were by far the more organised and sharpest team and deserved to win. The Haves and Have Nots depicting gulf from salubrious Chiswick and a cash poor Croydon.
Player of match: Olivia Gregory – battled throughout and great skills - goals will come for her soon