Rivers long-shot helps Trams to derail promotion-chasers

NON-LEAGUE NEWS: Croydon FC’s London Senior Cup match at Redbridge tonight has been postponed due to a frozen pitch, following a 3pm inspection, causing a delay to the Trams’ impressive sequence of wins, with only one defeat in nine games. And that loss only coming after extra time and penalties.

Croydon defender Oliver Hunt, in orange, tries to get away from Darren Blake, Badshot Lea's outstanding winger

Croydon defender Oliver Hunt, in orange, tries to get away from Darren Blake, Badshot Lea’s outstanding winger

Croydon’s eighth win in the sequence came on Saturday, with a stubborn 2-1 win over promotion-chasers Badshot Lea in the Combined Counties League Premier Division down in south-west Surrey.

The Trams went behind after 14 minutes when Adam Cornell hit a beautifully timed strike from outstanding work by midfielder Darren Blake.

From then on, Croydon absorbed all the home side’s pressure, goalkeeper Francis Ameyaw proving a dominant force in his penalty area. With barely an attack worthy of the name, it was unclear how Croydon would get back into the game until the 33rd minute, when Sean Rivers hit a shot from 25 yards that travelled over Mark Watson, the former Palace youth player, into the top left-hand corner.

Badshot, having failed to make the most of their pressure, were now visibly shocked to be on level terms.

Into the second-half, and Croydon now showed some of their most fluent play under the management of John Fowler, and the momentum of the game shifted. Badshot Lea became increasingly desperate to secure maximum points, but in the 71st minute, substitute Tom Pratt put Croydon ahead.

To make matters worse for the home side, Liam Roberts, Badshot Lea’s No3, was red-carded for a dangerous challenge in the murk of the poor quality floodlights of the Wey Court ground.

A long delay, eight minutes before the timetabled end of the game, for unsuccessful treatment for a muscle strain on one of the assistant referees and an even longer debate as to whether the game should be abandoned then ensued. For obvious reasons, Croydon were keen to continue the game. With no fourth official available, a Badshot Lea player ran the line with the remaining formal assistant referee moved to the more sensitive run covering Croydon’s goal.

Croydon seemed much more unsettled by the long delay than their opponents. Their play became fractured. The referee seemed to blow up for full-time and then a fracas followed involving most of the players, with the personnel from both benches on the pitch trying to restore order.

Once things had settled down, the referee sent off Croydon’s Marlon Wallen, leaving the visitors to play out the final minutes with just 10 men. The final whistle eventually came at 5.10pm.

It was a further set-back for Badshot Lea, who had lost a cup game against the more junior side AFC Croydon Athletic at the Arena in midweek.

In their league fixture on Saturday, AFC Croydon beat CB Hounslow 4-1 in Division One of the Combine Counties League, while Whyteleafe’s trek to Deal Town saw a 3-0 win.

There’s a number of videos from the Athletic game available on YouTube. The glee being expressed on the audio as midfielder Tony Martin scores in the 84th minute is from Rams supporter Shasha Khan, who no doubt felt happier than he did as the beaten Green party candidate at Croydon North’s parliamentary count the previous day.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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