Determined performance reaps rewards
A much changed 21s side hosted AFC Croydon Athletic in their first home match of the campaign. Ellaway, Davies, Brown, Seagrott and Holden were replaced by Elsey, Rixon-Nicholls, C.McCabe, Vanstone and Carrera due to various injuries and unavailabilities
The much changed side struggled to impose the side's game plan and found themselves 1-0 down after 11 minutes when a poor clearance from captain Mo Mallah was picked up on the edge of the area and curled into the top corner past a diving Elsey. Croydon then continued to hold the centre of the park and be the more threatening side - a C.McCabe mistake allowed their striker to race through and force an excellent save from Elsey.
As SCR grew into the game in the last 10-15 mins, Baker hit the post and then another good effort saw us equalise from a corner. A looping C.McCabe (pictured - very old picture btw) corner was headed back at him by Rixon Nicholls and instead of attempting to pick someone out again a goal bound shot took a slight deflection and evaded the already committed Croydon goalkeeper.
The sides went in 1-1 at HT.
An enforced change at half time due to first team commitments see Rixon-Nicholls replaced by Sam Edwards. After regrouping at the break SCR came out the much better side and the hard working Baker continued to menace to the Croydon defence but to no avail. Just as SCR started to win the battle out wide a defence splitting ball by our goalscorer C.McCabe set Carrera free to race past the full back and then calmly slot the ball to the right of the keeper to give us a deserved 2-1 lead.
After the goal the game got very scrappy for both sides due to the referees leniency - SCRs 2nd change was again enforced as a bad challenge on B.McCabe which went unpunished saw him unable to continue so he was replaced by Payton and Carrera was pushed to full back. Another C.McCabe set piece nearly won it for SCR as the a spilt free kick fell at the feet of Sam Edwards and the substitute couldn't get the ball out of his feet to give us the two-goal cushion we so desperately wanted.
The final change saw F.Carney replace Baker as SCR changed shape to contain Croydon's midfield 3 and see out the 3 points. Elsey was again at his best to keep Croydon out and a mazy Payton run with 5 minutes remaining saw an excellent stop from Campbell. Tempers flared in extra time as A.Carney was booked and also on the receiving end of two heavy challenges and with no protection from the referee he also finished the game injured like B.McCabe.