WANDSWORTH BOROUGH LADIES 0-2 CROYDON WOMEN
It was Halloween Sunday, and Croydon Women had an early kick off against the witches of Wandsworth.
Croydon started brightest with both teams struggling to put too many passes together in the blustery wet conditions.The grey skies above and remnants of the full moon, didn’t help visibility, as the muddy pitch hampered control.
The less muddy flanks seemed popular for both sides and the nippy number 19 for the Reds of Wandsworth was showing good pace early on. On the same flank, however, a good challenge by Gracie-Leigh Dunkley fed the ball to a hungry Tammie Adekanmbi. Tammie did well to beat her marker and cut inside to leash a great shot that struck the post. The rebound fell to Jenny, who had ghosted unmarked to the back of the 6 yard box. Her first-time shot was low and hard and beat the Reds keeper, falling nicely for Emma Dyduch to pounce vampirish-ly onto the ball and with more bite than her adversary, her strength propelled the ball into the net. 1-0.
Wandsworth attacked immediately but their nice play resulted in a tame shot that Steph Liddle saved easily. With Tammie on the left, Kacie Nadison Singh in the centre and Yoyo Oke playing further out right the fans were in for lots of tricks and treats. A delightful piece of skill from Yoyo saw her beat her marker and speed towards the Wandsworth goal, but alas her shot went tantalisingly wide. Wandsworth again pushed and following a good interception from Kamilla Ovrevik, gained their first corner. The wind was up and the cross flew on its broom stick well over everyone’s heads for Tammie to collect and breakaway. The Trams were looking the faster of the clubs and Tammie sped forward, leaping tackles. Her cross found Jenny Brown whose rocket was blocked. It spun like a Katherine’s Wheel, but thankfully for the Reds into their Keepers safe hands. Kacie was beginning to dominate the midfield quagmire. Striding forward she hit a long-range effort into the wind, and it sailed wide.
Wandsworth attacked again and a nicely worked manoeuvre on the left flank was crossed superbly but the onrushing attacker could only volley the ball into the ground and into a well-positioned Steph’s hands. The witches began to have a good spell. No19 was proving tricky and earned a foul after Jade Asagba seemed to take her down as well as contacting the ball on the edge of the box. A delicate chip from the free kick was looking scary for Croydon, but a gust of wind seemed to take it floating over the bar.
Croydon then took control. Jenny and Yoyo were linking well on the right. Meghan Webster joined Kacie in the centre with Tash Wright sweeping well behind. A clearance from Jenny was well won by a leaping Yoyo, who was able to then beat her opponent. Her low pass to Emma was well controlled. Emma turned sharply and struck well, but again just failing to hit the target. Several more good chances went begging as firstly a Yoyo cross was just too far in front of Emma, and then a great piece of skill and left foot cross by Kacie got tangled in the mud and laces as Yoyo pounced only for the reds keeper to intercept her shot. Yoyo was on fire, and after rounding three tackles, found Emma on the edge, whose shot was once again blocked by the red wall of Wandsworth. Yoyo sprinted fifty yards with the ball and got tackled at the last hurdle once again. It could have been five but was still only a sole goal separating the clubs.
Wandsworth managed another attack and the gutsy Tash saw red with a late sliding lunge that thankfully the ref didn’t card. Wandsworth attacks were being thwarted by Jade with her height and pace or by Kamilla and Gracie Leigh, standing firm on the wings. Another counter attack from the trams saw Yoyo sprint through and her shot was well turned around by the reds goal stopper. The short corner went quickly to Kacie, who took one step forward and her cracker was goal-bound but straight at the red keeper to catch.
Half Time 0:1
Yoyo was replaced by Rokeya Gladwin Troy, due to a late knock (in the bar the evening before). Rokeya was able to battle the ball back and pass to Meghan. Meghan left footed a through ball perfectly for Emma. The impressive Red keeper was able to get out quick to block the shot that rebounded for Emma to retrieve. She turned quickly and hit a beauty that crashed the bar and out. Wandsworth decided the witches would try warts and all and put another player up front and started to rely on long goal kicks, apt for a venue where the Wimbledon Crazy gang once trained.
The new strategy was working and Wandsworth were quicker onto the loose second ball. Number 20 was able to collect and slip through the defence where Steph was quick enough to deny her at her feet. On the left a nice one-two by the reds and a cross that Dracula would be proud of was hanging in the air above the Croydon cauldron. Both Steph and the red striker went full pelt to get it, and collided heavily. Steph won the ball but got winded in the process. Croydon were incensed and started controlling again. Short neat passes through midfield then diagonal balls to either wing worked well. Tammie was now on the right and her cross found Rokeya unmarked but as the keeper challenged, many expected a penalty as the ball bobbled near the goal line. No penalty given and a reds player was able to clear again. Number 19 for the Reds beat the off-side and crossed for Jade to once again be the saviour with a great header. Tammie found Emma who bustled through to shoot over as the game opened up, it was end to end. Jenny found Tammie again who cut back for Kacie arriving on the edge, and her grass cutter was held well in the red goal. The witches could only watch as Kacie showed her magic, rounding three players, only for power failure in her eventual shot. More skill courtesy of an audacious half volley by Emma that flew over, and moments later following a nice lay off by Yoyo, again Emma blasted, wind assisted, over the bar. It wasn’t all just the Trams. Number 30 from the reds, dribbled past three challenges to set up her shot, as Jade again lunged in to put for a corner. The diminutive Tash was able to rise above everyone to header it clear as the reds sustained their attacks. Jade mis-kicked a clearance and the corner came hurtling over that Kacie, this time, was the able to header clear. The Trams defence held their shape and the reds had another long shot go wide.
Time was ticking and Croydon grew more confident having survived the onslaught. Megan sent Kacie through who again was unable to keep the ball down enough. Yoyo was fouled on the left. Kacie crossed the free kick to the far post, Tammie managed to get a head to it and it fell to Yoyo. Yoyo darted to her right and unleashed a cracker that flew into the roof of the net and Croydon extended their lead 2-0.
Wandsworth had one last throw of the dice as number 19 again got down the wing well and her cross was met firmly by Jade, the colossus in defence.
It was a great advert for the game. In better conditions it could have been 10-3 to Croydon such were the clear chances made. For Croydon coaches Lenin, Uche and new coach Gary, it was three well-earned points, a clean sheet and both strikers making their mark.
Player of match: Kacie, medusa like, mesmerising the reds players to stone.
The girls await FA ruling on whether they will be able to build on this win with upcoming matches at home against Sporting Duet (8th), Molesey (15th) and away at the historic Civil Service Club (22nd) all for the taking, Bat inspired Covid 19 pending.