Croydon Endure Solid Start To Season
Here at TEB we will bring you the inside track to non-league side Croydon Football Club’s season in our Grass Roots feature as they look to improve on their eleventh place finish in the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) in 2016.
With the season well underway, it sees the club enduring better fortunes than their professional counterparts. Croydon are currently sixth after winning games against Rusthall, AFC Croydon Athletic and Rochester United with losses against Corinthians and Canterbury City.
Here is the story of their season so far.
Successful Pre-season as club look to get vital match time ahead of new campaign.
The first pre-season game took place on 1st July when Croydon went to Abbey Wood to play Kent Football United.
Harry Hudson, the new Croydon manager, took charge of his first game after John Cumberbatch stood down. The new boss works for the Kinetic Foundation, a charity that engages disadvantaged youngsters through sport and his Croydon side would blend together the most experienced Croydon players with youthful players from Kinetic. This policy seemed to work as Croydon won 3-1 at Kent United and 12-1 against Tonbridge Angels (to be fair, the side put out an Under 21 side not an adult side as expected) and in the process won five out of their six pre-season matches. The final game against Barnet saw Croydon run out 6-0 winners.
FA Cup fever as Croydon start season off proper with trip to SCEFL rivals
The first game of the season saw Croydon take part in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup. Whilst some people think the competition starts in January the very start of the competition for most clubs at this stage was 5th August.
The competition saw the Trams travel to Whitstable Town, a team they do not have good form against. Last time out, they lost 7-0 but anything can happen in the cup.
Croydon led with a penalty after only two minutes as Jamie McGeoghegan converted. Ten minutes later Whitstable lashed in two goals in two minutes from Harry Goodger and Danny Willliams. The visitors responded in style as just before half time Croydon equalised with a Jeff Duah-Kessie deflected goal finding its way in. With ten minutes left to play, Croydon captain Nathan Campbell gave his side the lead. He had suffered an eye-socket injury five minutes into the game, but adrenaline got him through and he was the hero as Croydon progressed into the next round of the FA Cup.
Scorers: McGeoghehan (1), Goodger (11), Williams (13), Duah-Kessie (42), Campbell (79)
Croydon team: Alex Hewitt, Matthew O’ Donoghue, Sam Johnson, Matt Weller, Jamie McGeoghegan, Nathan Campbell (C), Eidan Fejzi (Craig Davies 69), Bradley Wilson, Jeff Duah-Kessie, Marvin Armstrong, Stephane Bombalenga (Adan Brown 54)
Subs (not used): Allab Bryan, Danny O’Rourke, Luke Tan, Mothibi Penn-Kekana, Lochlan Greenwood, Yellow cards: Adan Brown (74), Jeff Duah-Kessie (90)
Croydon kick off SCEFL campaign with victory
Fiden Fejzi put the Trams ahead, but Rusthall responded with a penalty, as Dan Powell converted with just under a half hour played. In the second-half, McGeoghegan scored a wonderful goal to make it 2-1 as the defender came from the back, ran down the middle, and passed multiple opponents before scoring a memorable goal.
Scorers: Fejzi (25), Powell (29), McGeoghehan (75)
Croydon team: Hewitt, Johnson, O’Donaghue, Weller, McGeoghegan, Campbell (C), Fejzi (Armstrong 73), Wilson, Duah-Kessie (Chin 68), Davies (Brown 58), Bombalenga
Subs (not used): Bado, McAllister, Yellow cards: Weller 52, Brown 77, Johnson 80
Loss to Corinthians in league and narrowly miss out on next stage of FA Cup
Next up, Croydon went to Corinthians after beating Rusthall but lost 2-0. The next game they would play was the next round of preliminary FA Cup ties.
They hosted Faversham Town from the Bostik South, holding them to a goalless draw and forcing them to a replay. Interestingly, in the replay the Trams were named as Ramsgate instead of Croydon but that did not seem to faze them as they started the game well.
Faversham took the lead after eighteen minutes as Sam Lawford opened the scoring. Croydon equalised quickly as Fejzi scored and it looked like the game was destined to go into extra time, but sadly a late own goal from goalkeeper Alex Hewitt gave Faversham the chance to reach the next round and despite last minute chances for Croydon, the hosts held on.
Scorers: Lawford (18), Fejzi (25), Hewitt OG (81)
Croydon team: Hewitt, O’Donoghue (McAllister 58), Johnson, Weller, O’Rourke, McGeoghegan (C), Bombalenga (Fejzi 45), Wilson, Duah-Kessie, Armstrong, Brown (Davies 26)
Sub (not used): Bryan, Yellow card: Fejzi 76
Differing fortunes for Croydon during remainder of August
League leaders Canterbury City came to the Arena and won 3-1, with a consolation goal from Lauris Chin.
Then in what was a special moment for the Trams, they beat rivals AFC Croydon Athletic 2-0 away. It was a game that certainly delighted the Croydon supporters, before entertaining Rochester United, a game which they won 2-0 and which moved them up to sixth in the table.
MAKE SURE YOU READ THE CROYDON FC FAN DIARY ON TEB