CROWS REFUSE TO BE BURIED AT MAYFIELD ROAD.
A hard fought three points were secured against AFC Croydon Athletic on Tuesday night.
A Walder masterclass.
One thing you know when you play AFC Croydon Athletic is that you'll have to battle from the first to the last, although none of us thought that the final whistle wouldn't sound until 116 of those minutes had ticked by, more about that later. They are always a team of big players, like to play the ball forward as quick as they can and will compete and appeal for everything, as well as berating the referee and disputing every decision that doesn't go their way, something that seems to be all to prevalent in football these days at all levels.
That's not to say our players don't do it, they do, however, there are degrees of berating that referees will accept, wrongly in my personal opinion, some clubs take it too far, some don't but the only way it will stop is when the referee takes some action, unfortunately, the referee in charge of this game had his "very lenient" hat on and let a lot of things go.
A bonus for the Crows was the return of captain Jack Walder
from suspension for this game and he turned in a true masterclass performance from start to finish, controlling the midfield throughout, breaking forward when possible and protecting the defence whenever needed.
Other sterling performances came from Dan Tear
, Jack Turner
and James White
who, aided by Walder, protected Dan Ellis to such a degree that he really only had crosses to deal with, something he did very well, commanding the penalty area and giving confidence to those in front of him.
The match itself was played along the lines of a long ball game for much of the time, the pitch although looking nice from a distance and having plenty of grass on it, was not going to be conducive to free flowing football with quick passing as the grass was on the long side. Something that will please groundsman at this time of the season as they look to preserve it for when winter comes but doesn't fill many footballers with glee.
The first 10 minutes were typical of most games week in, week out, plenty of effort and commitment, if a bit short on quality and the match didn't really get going until the 13th minute when the Crows took the lead, a battling run by Connolly into the AFC area ended up with the ball coming off their 'keeper and falling at the feet of Attwood who took his time to slot he ball home to the delight of everyone supporting CAFC.
For the remaining period up to half-time it was mainly the Crows going forward, having greater possession and creating the odd chance and when eventually getting an effort on target they found Burnett in the home goal on top form.
The home side's danger-man, Nahum Green, who has scored all of their five goals so far, hardly had a kick in this game because Tear marshalled and competed with him so well throughout the match. Tear was also involved in a strong but fair challenge between two players when he and Penson, the home side's left-back competed for a ball near the centre-line, this resulted in Penson seemingly hurting his head which may have resulted in the events whiched developed in the second-half causing the long delay.
The second half started well for the Crows and Burnett made two good saves and his defenders clearing a ball off the line as Connolly and Attwood fired shots goalwards. The game was a bit tetchy throughout and the first yellow card of the evening in the 47th minute, rather surprisingly, went to Attwood for having a disagreement with an AFC player it seemed to me. The referee then evened it up by booking Kaffo in the 52nd minute for a tackle.
Various substitutions were made by both sides as the half wore on, Carrington replacing Danny Ellis
in the 67th minute and then Oloyede saw a yellow card before being replaced by Rayner for AFC in the 74th minute. Three minutes later Guildford replaced Walker for the home side.
In the 80th minute Penson seemed to collapse to the ground and the physio was on the pitch very quickly. Apparently, he couldn't see or speak initially and had to be put on a stretcher whilst a paramedic and an ambulance were called. This resulted in around a 16 minute delay before play could restart with Penson being replaced by Teberen.
Four minutes after the restart the Crows made it 2-0, Attwood taking the ball off Higgins in his own area before sliding the ball sidewards for Connolly to tap home. It then became a match of attack against defence as the Crows went forward more and more.
Before the end Connolly went off with Pearson coming on and the Crows saw out the game for a 2-0 win, much to the delight of the travelling faithful. The Man of the Match for the Crows went to Jack Walder
, with Tear, Turner and White running him very close.