TRAMS DERAIL CROWS PROMOTION RUN.
Crows let slip a two-goal lead and end up missing the points in the end.
What a difference over the two games.
On Saturday the Crows snatched victory in added-on time against Erith Town when over the 90+ minutes they didn't play particularly well but Lady Luck smiled on them it seemed and the points stayed at the Community Stadium.
Against Croydon FC the Crows played infinitely better, went 2-0 up in the first half but ended the game with nothing to show for their efforts. If Lady Luck was looking kindly over us against the Dockers, she certainly wasn't on our side against the Trams in this game, obviously, we must have upset her in some way.
Whereas the passing, movement and tempo was poor and lethargic on Saturday, against the Trams it was far, far better in every aspect. However, all it proves that sometimes it's better to play poorly and win, rather than play very well and lose, especially at the business end of the season.
The Crows were on the front-foot from the first whistle and the ball spent most of the first half in the Croydon half of the field, Phipp was especially to the fore, having three efforts at goal within the first 15 minutes. Attwood, Treleaven and Muggeridge also had efforts which just went wide or were saved by the Trams stopper, Greenwood.
The home side were so dominant that the away side didn't have their first shot at goal in anger until the 29th minute, Chin firing the ball over from the edge of the area. Normal service was soon restored and Treleaven volleyed the ball against the cross-bar from a great Taiwo pass in the 32nd minute before Sontan picked up the first yellow card of the night in the 35th minute for a late tackle on Phipp due to the constant pressure.
With the Crow's fans starting to wonder if the pressure would eventually tell, the home side went 1-0 up in the 40th minute. A neat bit of play between Muggeridge and Attwood, which started on the half-way line, saw the former jink his way in to the penalty area, beating three defenders on the way, before slotting the ball past Greenwood and in to the net, a lead fully deserved at the time.
Turner then picked up a yellow card for a tackle in the 43rd minute which, even though wasn't known at the time, was to have dramatic implications later on in the game. However, 1-0 became 2-0 just before the half time break, in fact, just before Phipp scored with a 25-yard screamer in the 45th minute, the referee had signalled there would be a minimum of 2 minutes of added-on time. Therefore, we all thought great, we're leading 2-0 at the break, unfortunately, the Trams' second effort at the Crows goal saw them make it 2-1 before the half time interval, Campbell planting a looping header over the stranded Ellis from a Robinson free kick.
As the second half started it was evident that the Trams scoring right on the whistle had given them a lift and perhaps had deflated the Crows a little, as they seemed to have upped their tempo and workrate and they even forced their first corner of the game in the 46th minute, which came to nothing by the way.
With possession now more even the Trams made the first substitution in the 50th minute, Brown going off and Pepple coming on. Only a minute later a bizarre event happened when the assistant referee awarded an offside decision against the Crows despite the fact that it was from a goalkick by Ellis and no other player touched the ball until it was gathered by a Crow player. As you can't be offside from a goalkick under the Laws of football.
Unfortunately, only 13 minutes later the same assistant referee was involved when a headed goal by Goldsmith was ruled out for offside from a great cross by Taiwo, many who were in-line with the incident felt Goldsmith was clearly on-side when the ball was played by Taiwo but on such fine margins results can rest on, so instead of 3-1, it remained 2-1.
With the away side now playing with more intent, a run by Chin in to the penalty area was ended by Turner bringing him down and a penalty was awarded accordingly. The referee decided that Turner should receive a second yellow card and therefore, had to leave the field as the red card soon followed. The penalty was duly converted by Robinson and now it was 2-2 in the 70th minute.
With something to hang on to now and the Crows down to ten players, substitutions abounded for both teams, the away side settling for a point, whilst the Crows were trying to regain the lead but make up for losing a player.
Unfortunately, for the home side, Chin scored in the 78th minute to put the Trams 3-2 up following a quick breakaway, the Crows now had a mountain to climb and with only ten players.
Substitutes Stone and Barton both had chances for the home side, Stone actually hitting the cross-bar but the final whistle blew in the 96th minute and the Trams went home with the points for the second season running. Perhaps it wasn't Lady Luck that wasn't against us, it's just that Croydon FC are our bogey team at the Community Stadium, who knows.