Buoyed by this success, Lewisham showed more hunger, chasing, harrying and not letting Trams settle on the ball. On eleven, Henry Swann placed a free-kick just under the bar but the home custodian caught it with ease. Jerry Antwi had a couple of moments to forget, a slip on thirteen let Lewisham break through but Tiwa Fujamade was able to push it away for a corner.
Three minutes later, Eldi Baze contrived to weave his way through the home defence only for the ball to be blocked and cleared. There then followed a short spell of Trams dominance but to no avail. Antwi was again the villain of the peace on twenty-nine, giving the ball away in midfield enabling Boro to race through and double their lead and, with the confidence gained, the hosts seemed to be able to attack at will. Come the forty-third minute, Swann made a strong run, slipping the ball to Fischer who could only force a corner.
Croydon certainly improved after the restart but it would have been difficult not to have done. With no composure or ideas in the danger area, they couldn’t force their way through a packed defence. Swann forced a fine save low down on fifty-six whilst at the back, Antwi redeemed himself with a break saving tackle. Manager Liam Giles started to shuffle the pack and with Uli not in the zone, found himself replaced.
Trams were unlucky on 86 when the referee hallucinated and stopped play to award a throw for a non-existent flag. The momentum being gained for a speedy foray forward was lost, the game having to be restarted with a dropped ball.
Any thoughts of a recovery were dashed two minutes later when the home team broke away to stroke home their third and whilst there were a couple of further chances, Trams finished a distant second in a two horse race
Croydon: Fujamade, Beckles, Antwi, Beauchamp (Graham 59), Anderson, Burrell-Grant, Chin, Swann, Fischer (Adamson 70), Baze, Green (Pingling 59).
Subs (unused): Wealthyland, Noiki
Match Report: Steve Tyler
Pictures: Courtesy of The Non-League Chronicles