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Match Report

Sunday 16th September 2007

Youth XI
0 - 4
Croydon Athletic A

By Vince Wray

We started our league campaign on the back of some indifferent friendly performances and with a list of injuries and knocks and a suspension. We’ve had some departures during the summer and we’ve had some lads come in to the squad to bring our total of players up to 18 which is the maximum. Two of them were not signed to be available on Sunday. Added to that Bridges was carrying a hamstring injury, as was Wray and Adams had been suffering with a virus in the run up to the game. Also Burkett was suspended. So there’s the excuses.

However, yesterday’s performance was far better than the scoreline suggests. We competed with Croydon for large parts of the game and gave last year''s champions a decent challenge. It has to be said Milner made two very good saves in the 1st half before they snatched the lead with just a minute remaining of the half.

We looked more threatening in the 2nd half but couldn’t find the final ball to undo their defence.

They added a 2nd goal 20 minutes into the 2nd half and another two in the last 5 minutes which put an unfair slant on the scoreline. At this stage we’d lost a bit of concentration and just sloppy defending gave them the last 2 goals.

Overall, remembering we were playing last year’s champions we put in a good competitive performance. The midfield and defence coped well for most of the game other than the last 5 minutes and we played some decent passing football.

Croydon’s game plan is a difficult one to play against. They make the most of their throw-ins, corners and free kicks and tend to pass the ball longer up to their forwards. We coped well but not well enough.

The commitment was there but we certainly lacked concentration at times. The passing was there but we lacked the intelligence to bring our wide players and full backs into the game more often.

We were looking for that killer ball a bit too early and our shooting radar was definitely not well adjusted. Culminating in the fact that their keeper had very little to worry him.

So we have things to improve upon and areas to polish up. I felt overall we did very well but there is definitely massive room for improvement and there will be, because this team has the spirit and attitude. Also, we have some new faces in the squad and when they’ve fully settled in and our injury list has shortened I’m sure we will be putting some wins on the board soon.