Doughlin’s on the spot to secure cup run for Croydon

Croydon FC’s luck in cup competitions, and maybe even their form, too, seems to have followed the club into the new season. The club is £1,500 the richer in prize money for the 2-1 win over Uckfield Town on the parched Arena pitch on Saturday in their extra preliminary qualifying round of the FA Cup.

On target: Croydon FC striker Karl Doughlin

On target: Croydon FC striker Karl Doughlin

Now head coach Dickson Gill, aided by new assistant Fred Mensah, face a tougher task down in Crayford in the next round on August 20 against VCD Athletic.

Croydon have enjoyed an extensive pre-season set of friendlies with their cup challenge in mind, but they looked fragile in the first half against Uckfield. The Sussex’s team’s 1-0 half-time lead came after they had unzipped the Croydon defence after very extended periods of pressure.

Harrying work by Lauris Chin and a loss of discipline by the Uckfield defence, including Uckfield losing substitute defender Matt Holland to a red card, saw Croydon eventually winning out. The Karl Doughlin penalty after Holland’s sending off and an earlier strike by James Pinnock turned the game around.

The performance nevertheless was not convincing enough to create high expectations for the next round.

VCD Athletic – short for Vickers, Crayford and Dartford Athletic – was formed from the workers at the Vickers armaments factory in 1916. The club has been in the football wars themselves lately, after enjoying only one season in the Isthmian Premier League. They came crashing back down to the lower league Division One North in the Isthmian structure, where they finished bottom last season.

But VCD’s most recent results in friendlies suggests that the Crayford team will show the class of a higher league standing against Croydon.

Croydon Athletic’s (albeit distant) dreams of Wembley were shattered in their 5-2 drubbing at Colliers Wood United. They were 4-0 down before they got into the game with a goal of their own, and losing Jack Guilford to a red card after just 31 minutes hardly aided Athletic’s cause.

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