NON-LEAGUE NEWS: Chris Brown, Croydon FC’s caretaker manager, could only offer apologies after his side lost 5-0 to Fisher at Croydon Arena last night.
The Trams remain anchored, without a point, rock bottom of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table having lost all of their opening 10 league games.
The atrocious run of results has led to some fans – there were 95 at the Arena for last night’s capitulation – to call for the return of the former chairman, Dickson Gill.
Croydon had finished last season in the top five of the division, Harry Hudson’s only season in charge, before he moved to Bostik South East Division neighbours Whyteleafe, taking his assistant and a large handful of key players with him.
Craig Davies took over. He lasted 11 games during which time his side enjoyed just one cup victory before he quit the role last month.
Croydon’s chairman last season, Martin Burr, has also moved on, and after three matches in charge, Brown has yet to have his appointment as manager confirmed.
The sense of crisis and churn is underlined by the stat that last night’s fixture saw the number of players used by Croydon so far this season reach 44.
Under Brown, the Trams have lost to Deal Town (3-1, home), Canterbury City (5-2, away) and then last night saw the wheels really fall off.
Croydon now have the worst league playing record in the whole of English football this season, and Brown – or whoever takes on the manager’s task – must fear that their relegation fate is sealed even before the clocks go back (although two rivals, Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells, are not entirely out of sight in the division, each having just four points).
Last night, Croydon were undone by a hat-trick from Fisher striker Tunde Aderonmu, and looked particularly vulnerable, and unorganised, at set-pieces, with Mudiagha Wanogho and Luke Haidarovic both scoring with headers from corners.
“We didn’t turn up today,” Brown told the Kentish Football website.
“Compared to the last two games, I don’t know what that football was out there today. Defensively, well fact are facts. Two games, 10 goals, eight have been from corners, so it’s just drill work dealing with set-pieces, that’s a massive part to sort out.
“Once we stop goals going that way, we can work on goals going the other way,” Brown said.
It was a measure of how things had gone for the Trams that Brown identified his side’s goalkeeper, Tarell Annakie, the former Boreham Wood player, as Croydon’s best performer. “Tarell was our best player today. He done what he had to do.”
Brown, who is an academy coach at Millwall, will have also found some crumbs of comfort in the impressive individual performances of wide men Levi Shango and Tre Daley.
“The bottom line is we have to get our team to work together, try to get the confidence back and get right back to basics.
“Levi’s consistency is his main thing. If he can do it all the time rather than in spurts, yes, quality player.
“As I said before, we know where our weaknesses are and that’s something we have to work on.”
Croydon were 3-0 down by the break. “At half-time it was a matter of ‘let’s show some commitment!’,” Brown said. “We have to win some tackles, get some tackles in! The bottom line is we never tackled in the first half.
“When we go forward our play is fine, not a problem. When we’ve got the ball in possession, not a problem. We move the ball around nicely, slowed the game down but it’s the defending of the game that we need to work on.”
The loss of the core players from last season and inexperience among those who remain in the squad has taken its toll on Croydon. Brown says that he will be bringing in new faces to the Arena over the next fortnight. “We will be getting players over the next couple of weeks to have a look at,” said Brown, who has the squad training on Saturday, when the club is without a fixture for the annual “Non-League Day”.
“There hasn’t been any pressure put on me or anything like that, it’s about doing the job and doing the best I can. I believe we’ll get the one win, even one draw, confidence changes so that’s what I’m trying to do. Trying to get that one little glimpse of a win and it will change, I’m sure of that.”
Brown asked the Trams fans to “stick behind the team”, and said his message for them was “Apologies first… the players weren’t ready for the game. Everything we talked about before the game, we didn’t do it, we just didn’t do it. When you’re down there and you get a goal against you straight away, you’re on the back foot straight away so there’s a lot of work to be done.
“I’m coming to a club where the mixture of youth and older players is not quite right. I need a few other players in there to guide the younger ones and get that right, trying to get that balance and the biggest thing is confidence. The only way you get confidence is getting a win or a draw. We just have to get together and stick together.”
And here is our regular non-league round-up with managers’ notes from the area’s other clubs…
Kevin Rayner – Croydon Athletic
Mixed emotions this past week, as Kevin Rayner’s side lost 4-0 at Sheppey United, but beat Beckenham Town 3-0 in midweek. The Rams sit 11th in the SCEFL Premier Division, five points off second place
After a great start to the season, our away form had seen us slide down the table. Our latest away game at Sheppey was a miserable performance as we shipped three goals in injury time.
We are unbeaten at home and it’s just what we needed having the visit of high flying table-toppers Beckenham on Tuesday and I knew we would give the performance that mirrored our early season form. We were unrecognisable from the previous two games and deservedly ran out winners in a solid and comfortable performance.
We out-battled Beckenham in every department and we’re too strong for them on the night.
The league is wide open this year, and we have beaten two of the fancied sides in Beckenham and Cray. We will need to be consistent with that type of performance to keep in the mix this year.
On Saturday, our attention turns to the FA Vase and a home tie against Fareham Town.
Both sides will be thinking they can progress and it’s a competition we would like to still be in at the turn of the year. We will need to carry on where we left off on Tuesday and hopefully that will be enough to see off a good Fareham Town outfit.
Saturday is Non-League Day and hopefully we may attract a few additional supporters to the Mayfield stadium for the tie.
Harry Hudson – Whyteleafe
A few missed opportunities for Whyteleafe in the past week with a draw and a loss. Last weekend the Leafe travelled to Phoenix to play a 2-2 draw in the Bostik South East Division One. Their replay of the Velocity Trophy in the week against Egham Town was a tough test for a young side of mostly teenagers. They point up a good fight but narrowly lost 2-1
I thought we started the game against Phoenix very well, taking control from the first whistle. We played with fluidity, but it is so important that we capitalise on our dominant spells in matches which unfortunately we didn’t manage to do. As the half went on Phoenix came into the game more. We were very disappointed to concede a goal on the stroke of half-time from a corner.
Although we didn’t come out of the traps flying in the second half once we got playing I thought we took control of the game and deservedly got ourselves ahead. To then concede another goal from a set piece, again right at the end of the half, is bitterly disappointing. It is another two points dropped in the league, which again reinforces how far we have come to go to places like Phoenix and expect to win.
Always disappointed to lose any football match especially after going ahead in the game. Egham Town is a difficult place to go to on a Tuesday night and a difficult pitch to play on but I was proud of our application and endeavour. We also played the last 20 minutes with 10 men as Helge Orome had to go off the pitch and I had made three changes already. He’ll be out for a matter of weeks with a hamstring problem.
Our squad players have been patient and deserve their chances. Egham was a great test for them. Proud that 11 of our 14 players were teenagers, which shows we have great strength in depth to only lose narrowly. There are a lot of those players who are knocking on the door very loudly. It is a great problem to have!
Myself and Calum love tactical games of football and our FA Trophy match on Saturdaywill certainly be that. We could have had an easier draw than Hastings away but it is a game to look forward to.
There’s lots of new faces at the club to be excited about. They include Daniel Akinwunmi an ex-Reading full-back with excellent attacking tendencies, Afriye Offeigyimaha, a tricky winger signed from Sutton United, Daniel Hogan, the Crystal Palace academy product who captained the Eagles’ under-18s, and Nick Akoto, who was an AFC Wimbledon right back who is an excellent defender and accomplished in possession.
Sat Oct 13: v Fareham T (H) – FA Vase 1st Rd
Sat Oct 13: v Hastings Utd (A) – FA Trophy Preliminary Qualifying Rd
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