R3 Wrap: Croydon Kings v Raiders
Croydon completed a fine second half comeback to down Raiders 5-2 in Round 3 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia at Polonia Reserve on Saturday.
Raiders led by two shortly after half-time thanks to goals from Michael Paleka and Shekubah Hutton-Addy. Yet it was down to 10 men at the interval following the dismissal of Mimi Saric.
The Kings then roared to a first win of the campaign through a Frank Marafioti double, Elvis Kamsoba, Nathan Farrell and captain Luke Klimek.
Croydon coach Mark Brazzale said his team was not at the races in the first half and needed to improve.
“In the first half we didn’t turn up. And so for the second half we needed to lift the intensity and individual performances,” he said.
“After the break we clawed back into the game and we ran on strongly. I am happy that we scored five goals.
“Red cards always give an impact. It is how you treat it that is important and we did well to get the goals in the second half.”
Raiders coach Joel Porter believes his team can take positives from the match despite the final score.
“In the first 55 minutes we were very good, we held our own and deserved the lead,” he said.
“The red card had a massive impact. The conditions were difficult enough for both teams with 11 men, they took their toll in the second half with 10. The boys gave everything and didn’t deserve the final scoreline.
“We can take lots from it. We played better than one of the best teams in the league. It has given the boys belief they can mix it with the best. Now we need to do it for 90 minutes.”
Raiders started well as Pierce Stephens forced a fine save from Costa Zacharopoulos in the opening minutes, the goalkeeper tipping a fierce shot over the top.
The Kings custodian was called into action again to deny Alex Cosmidis at the near post.
Stephens’ long pass found Saric and the veteran centred for the onrushing Paleka, who poked the ball in for the opening goal of the game.
The match took a twist just before the interval as Saric received a second yellow card, reducing Raiders to 10 men.
Hutton-Addy doubled the visitors lead seven minutes into the second half, volleying in as Croydon failed to clear a corner.
Marafioti nearly reduced the deficit almost instantly, but was denied by the crossbar.
Kamsoba did bring Croydon back into the game in the 56th minute, latching on to Shaun McGreevy’s cutback as the home side counter-attacked to good effect.
Croydon equalised just past the hour mark as Farrell drilled a superb shot into the top corner, giving Deale Chamberlain no chance.
Marafioti completed the stunning comeback minutes later, climbing highest to head past Chamberlain, as Raiders faded with the man disadvantage.
Chamberlain made a double save as Croydon threatened from a corner, but the ball remained pegged inside the penalty area and was finally prodded home for a sealing fourth goal by Klimek in the 81st minute.
Michael Doyle crossed for Marafioti to head in his second as the match entered injury time, completing a brilliant second half for the Kings.
Written by Luca Cetta - @l_cetta