NON-LEAGUE NEWS: Two of Croydon’s clubs are in FA Cup action tomorrow, while the other will be seeking an elusive first league win of the season. Here’s this week’s round-up of news from the managers of the area’s three biggest non-league clubs – Croydon Athletic, Croydon FC and Whyteleafe.
Harry Hudson – Whyteleafe
High-flying ‘Leafe go into tomorrow’s demanding FA Cup first qualifying round tie at Corinthian Casuals thanks to their 2-1 replay win over Saltdean in midweek. A 3-1 win against Horsham in the league shows they’re in good form
It was great to see us get our third win out of three at home to Horsham last Saturday. We’re sitting nicely in fourth place in the Isthmian League South East Division.
The Horsham game was a tough one. I thought they were a good side who caused us problems. In the first half we scored against the run of play, Bradley Wilson from a corner. This was quickly followed up with Eddie Dsane scoring the penalty he won after a swift counterattack.
We were disappointed to concede a goal to their set-piece, as it is a priority of ours to be defensively solid from set pieces. To allow a free header is poor. To be honest I would have taken 2-1 at half time but then Harrison Carnegie came up with a fantastic goal to take us in with a cushion at 3-1.
The game was very open in the first half. We challenged the boys at half-time with a different defensive structure to nullify them. I felt we did that really well with this structure. We also missed a penalty early in the second-half which would have changed the game totally. Even so we managed the game out well and got the all-important three points.
Eddie is on fire, having taken his tally to seven goals for the season. Eddie is in a great place at the moment he could’ve quite easily had 10 goals already. He gets himself in the right positions and our team supply him with chances which he usually takes. I do not even really regard this as a purple patch for Eddie – his goal scoring instincts are fantastic! He could quite conceivably score a goal a game all season.
In our cup replay, I must give great credit to Saltdean who were very hard opponents over both matches, although I felt we deserved to go through. I am sure they will have a successful season. That being said, I always felt we were going to open them up to get ahead, which thankfully we did. When they threw the proverbial kitchen sink at us towards the latter parts of the game we had to dig and defend resolutely – I was very proud of the squad.
The fans even dusted off the old Bentley Graham tune too. I actually did hear the Eddie Dsane song this time! Eddie hasn’t stopped talking about it, he appreciates the support! If he can keep scoring hopefully we will hear more of the song through the season. I didn’t hear the Bentley one though. I will have to keep my ear out for it. Bentley was tremendous on Tuesday – man of the match in my humble opinion.
We are so pleased to see attendances grow, and hope it can continue. The team really appreciate the support, it really gives them another push which we need at times.
On Saturday, we go to sunny Tolworth to visit Corinthian Casuals in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round. They gained promotion from our league last season. I have a lot of respect for what they have managed to do at Casuals – it is an amazing achievement.
Although we won our pre-season match against Casuals, I don’t think we can take much from that as it was Casuals’ first game. We will go in as underdogs for the first time this season and we look forward to the occasion.
Lauris Chin damaged his knee ligaments in pre-season but he is nearing full fitness, which is a huge boost for us. Ricardo Thompson has been nursing a slight hip flexor issue this week but it isn’t a serious one. Ashley-Paul Robinson also had his scan and the pleasing news is that he has not damaged his cruciate ligament. He will be out for a number of months though, hopefully returning in January.
We have signed four players, three of whom are awaiting international clearance, which is frustrating. It can take up to 28 days to come through so I do not know when the fans will see these players, but hopefully soon! We signed a couple of youngsters from Sutton United. Nick Akoto is one of the players, a defender who has previously been signed to AFC Wimbledon. The fourth is Bradley Wilson, who is a winger/full back who signed from St Albans.
Craig Davies – Croydon
Two further defeats in the past week for the Trams, who were knocked out the FA Vase losing 3-2 to Little Common, and then under floodlights at Beckenham on Wednesday suffered defeat in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, 3-1
We missed a chance to have a run in the Vase. The Little Common result was difficult to take considering we were by far the better side. Three very good goals outdone us and that seemed to knock us, despite getting back into it at 2-2.
In midweek, a slow first-half saw a better side hurt us to go 2-0 up. Still some very positive performances in the first-half. Second-half was really, really good. Came out, got the next goal which worried Beckenham but we kept playing backwards too much and didn’t utilise certain players in the side. The third goal killed the game.
Saturday’s a really big game for us against Crowborough. Given their changes from last season, we need to aim to take three points from this one. If they remain in and around us in the league, then these are the games in which are season will be judged.
The boys are close. We have taken the big sides most of the way but come up short in the final result. Would be great if we get points on the board this Saturday.
Kevin Rayner – Croydon Athletic
A dominant win in the FA Vase first qualifying round, 4-1 against Worthing, was followed by a 1-0 FA Cup preliminary round victory over Hanworth Villa to make history for Athletic
It’s a bit of club history tomorrow, as we have reached the FA Cup first qualifying round for the first time.
We are in good form. AFC Uckfield, who are also playing in this round for the first time, are also in a rich vein of form, knocking out two sides from our league already, as well as also being on a great unbeaten run. We know it will be a tough game with both sides thinking that they can win the tie. We will have a go at staying in the competition a little bit longer and hopefully we can end the week on a high following two good cup victories on Saturday and Tuesday.
It was pleasing to progress in the FA Vase and it was a comfortable victory against a Worthing side that played some nice football.
We took an opportunity to rest a few players and still put out a very strong side. We missed a couple of early chances. We also didn’t play that well in the first half but got ourselves in front with a good goal from Nahum Green (pictured).
Worthing equalised in the second-half which pretty much kicked us into action. We then scored three goals in the last 30 minutes. Baz Agoro, Nahum and Taylor Maddox all scoring as we dominated the last 30 minutes. All in all, a comfortable win.
Emanuel Oloyede scored a superb solo opener for us at Hanworth. We were by far the stronger side over the two games and it would have been a wasted opportunity had we not got through.
Tomorrow: v AFC Uckfield (A) – FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Tue Sep 11: v Clapton (H) – London FA Senior Cup 1st Round
Tomorrow: v Crowborough Athletic (A) – SCEFL Premier Division
Tue Sep 11: v Corinthian Casuals (A) – London FA Senior Cup 1st Round
Tomorrow: v Corinthian Casuals (A) – FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
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