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Croydon 4-0 Kingstonian

One league win since the sides last met, at Kingsmeadow, last October. That's how the results looked for a Croydon side facing the prospect of possible relegation on the day. Maybe it was the visit of Kingstonian, or maybe the threat of imminent relegation - but whatever it was, the second largest crowd of the season packed into the Croydon Arena for the game.

K's had found the one team in the league who had been scoring less goals than them, and by quite some margin, so Lance Key was rested to miss his first game of the season. In his place came highly rated young reserve 'keeper Adrian Jones.

A minute's silence was observed at all grounds in the league to mark the passing of the Queen Mother (below). During this minute came the first action as such, with the matchball being blown halfway over to the touchline by the strong wind that accompanied the otherwise very pleasant conditions. Maybe (Adrian) Jones now wished that it wasn't his full first team debut.

Someone stop that ball!

Croydon started with a greater edge to their game, and used the windy conditions to throw in a few early crosses to test (Adrian) Jones and his Kingstonian defence. Barry Kingsford broke down the right channel and struck the ball past the oncoming (Adrian) Jones across the goal. Fortunately for the visitors, his effort carried too much power to be latched onto by the advancing forwards.

Successive corners saw (Adrian) Jones troubled by the strong wind against him, though the danger was eventually cleared. Dave Clarke took the opportunity to give his side a break from the crosses by surging down the right, only to lack a final result.

It was not long, however, before Croydon took the lead - just after the quarter hour mark in fact. The cause was a ball over the top reminiscent of those that seem to danger the K's whenever they face a strong wind. It was Max Hustwick who was unable to get his head fully to the ball, leaving Seb Favata to break through. His finish was neat, slotting the ball past Jones to open the scoring.

Another Max Hustwick error allowed Carleton Chatelier to lay the ball off to Favata, who this time was unable to take full advantage of the opening. His did manage to pass the ball to Kingsford, who was unable to control his shot as flew high over the target.

With Croydon having dominated the action, K's managed to put some moves together, with Dave Sadler;s deflected shot winning a corner. Pinnock's delivery was met by captain-for-the-day Matt Elverson's goalbound header. As the ball looked like it was crossing the line, the Croydon defence managed a diving clearance. The assistant referee did not signal a goal, but his position was nearly as far away from the incident as the spectators were. Thankfully we put the Kingsmeadow athletics track next door to our ground.

Dave Sadler, battling well for the ball, created a good opportunity for Dave Clarke to strike from close up inside the area. His effort, however, went agonisingly wide (below).

Just wide, that one

With the half nearing its end, Favata returned the favour to his usual supplier, Chatelier, with a long floated crossfield ball. (Adrian) Jones went for the high ball in his area, challenged by Chatelier. The striker's challenge was enough to disturb the 'keeper, and the ball spilled kindly to Nic McDonnell to stroke home from a couple of yards by the far post.

The second half initially started better for K's, with Tim Sills bustling past Trams defender Graham Harper early on only to head the ball into Matt Martin's arms in the Croydon goal. It was about the same stage as in the first half - now coming onto the hour mark - that Croydon took rich pickings from the K's defence once more. Goalscorer McDonnell turned goal provider as he flicked the ball across to Nicky Greene in open space to drill the ball low past (Adrian) Jones' left post for his side's third of the day.

Again K's tried to come back, with Tim Sills taking a good position at the near post only to see his strike blocked. From the impending corner Pinnock's deep delivery was met well with another powerful Elverson header, though this time it was the crossbar that was to deny the cult favourite.

With the game approaching its end, referee Woodward gave his umpteenth free kick of the day, providing Croydon with an opportunity top strike from just outside the penalty area. Nicky Greene stepped up and chose his spot, to (Adrian) Jones' left post again. The goalkeeper was helpless to stop it, and Croydon celebrated once more (below).

Our man on halfway knows the score

As stoppage time casually rolled by, Croydon were nearly able to create a fifth, and Bashiru Alimi has a couple of fiercely struck efforts fly past the upright. This was to be Croydon's day, as they continued to hang on at the bottom of the table. For Kingstonian, the result becomes somewhat blurred by the continuing off-field headaches.

Sat 6th Apr 2002
Croydon Sports Arena
Isthmian League Premier
1Adrian Jones
2Eddie Duah
3Billy Mead
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Bashiru Alimi
7James Pinnock
8Dave Clarke
9Tim Sills12
10David Sadler
11Mark Jones15
12Ronnie Green9
14Mark Royal
15Liam Collins11
Man of the Match
David Sadler
David Sadler
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi