R22 Wrap: Croydon Kings vs. West Adelaide
Fast-starting Croydon has retained its top-flight status thanks to a 3-1 success over West Adelaide in Round 22 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia at Polonia Reserve on Saturday.
The Kings were three goals ahead before the half-hour mark following a Shaun McGreevy double and Michael Doyle’s goal. Hikaru Tanaka’s second half strike proved only a consolation as West missed a top six position.
Two-goal hero Shaun McGreevy said Croydon was helped by the early goals as it ended the season eighth, five points clear of the relegation zone.
“It’s a massive relief,” he said.
“We should not have been in that position, but unfortunately were after a lot of bad games. A month ago we were struggling, but our last month was really good.
“It was good to get the early goals. I scored, but hard work from my teammates got me there.
“It’s a hard league and we did well to survive at the end. We are happy to be in the top flight and can build on that. We are not far off the mark.”
West Adelaide finished seventh and defender Rob Lippett said its lacklustre title defence should serve as a warning.
“The boys are disappointed, unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” he said.
“We took 25 minutes to wake up. The goals we conceded were the story of our season. Then a few chances didn’t go our way.
“Our confidence was lacking this season. And with the firepower we have, we didn’t score enough goals.
“It’s a wake-up call for the players. You cannot give teams an inch and you cannot win the league and walk around with your chest puffed out.”
Croydon’s bid for survival was boosted after only five minutes. Nathan Farrell’s long range shot was diverted past West Adelaide goalkeeper Daniel Atkins by a smart McGreevy touch.
The striker was on hand to knock in Elvis Kamsoba’s cross just 120 seconds later, his unconvincing contact doing enough to wrong-foot Atkins once more.
Croydon was in dreamland after only 26 minutes as an unmarked Doyle headed in a Rocco Visconte cross into an empty net after Atkins missed the ball.
West was slow to get going, but nearly pulled a goal back just before half-time. Tanaka’s blocked shot fell to Perry Mitris, who was denied by an excellent Nicholas Munro reflex save.
From the resulting corner Mitch Nicholson smashed the frame of the goal.
James Skeffington did well down the right on the hour and found Visconte at the near post, only for the creative player to poke wide of the target.
Nicholson latched on to Doyle’s mistake inside the Croydon penalty area, but his shot was saved by Munro.
The Blue and Whites went even closer in the 69th minute as Ricardo Da Silva charged through and struck the far post.
The visitors did pull a goal back as John Karatzas centred for Tanaka to finish with 17 minutes remaining, but the day belonged to Croydon.
Written by: Luca Cetta
Photo by: Adam Butler