Extraordinary scenes at the Mayfield Stadium this week.
Well, probably, as the latest derby in the Southern Counties East Premier Division between Croydon Athletic and Croydon FC served up a six-goal thriller in 90 minutes – and then another three goals in a frantic period of injury time to leave the hosts stunned and empty-handed.
The score was 3-3 when Croydon’s Jeff Duah-Kessie was brought down in the penalty area at the start of more than four minutes of stoppage time. Duah-Kessie had already slotted one penalty in the first-half, and with the pressure on in injury time, he gave Croydon a 4-3 lead.
Things really began to unravel for Athletic, as Adam Allen and debutant Ben Tacon also got on to the scoresheet before the final whistle at 6-3 saw Croydon FC take the points.
It was Athletic’s fourth league defeat of the season, and the terrible defending from his side left their manager, Kevin Rayner, reaching for his copy of the Big Book of Football Cliches: “A bit disappointing, just gifted goal after goal basically, it’s Christmas come early.”
For Croydon, and their veteran manager Dickson Gill, it was the latest decent outcome in what is becoming a half-decent season for his young side, as the club has reached the last 32 of the FA Vase after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat of Glebe.
Croydon FC are now 10th in the league (17 points from 14 games), but with a chance to improve on that on Saturday when they travel to second-from-bottom side Beckenham Town.
“If they feel fit, I’ll put my strongest side out,” Gill said. “That was the strongest we could put out today. There were four kids in there but that’s football, you get to play with what you’ve got.”
Athletic will host third-from-bottom side Erith Town at the weekend, a side that were thrashed 7-0 by Cray Valley on Wednesday.
Rayner admitted: “We’ve slipped up recently, quite a lot. We’re not going through a good period at the moment so we’ve got to get back on it. We’ve certainly got to improve. We’re not anywhere near where we were. We’re making too many errors at the moment at the back so we’ve got to improve on that.”
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