Croydon are through to the next round of the Kent Senior Trophy after winning 2-1 at Rochester United. This was something of a surprise, as Rochester are currently second in their division and were only beaten once this season.
With George Kamurasi away, Sam Penney-Hughes, from Durham University, was brought in to wear the number 1 shirt for Croydon. It looked like he would keep a clean sheet in this game, but would concede in the 89th minute. Penney-Hughes was not the only swtich, as manager Liam Giles brought in six other changes to last week’s line up.
Croydon were quick off the mark when Uli Fischer passed to Jahquan Springer, unfortunately his shot was cleared by an opponent. Springer had a second attempt, which was again cleared. A Rochester player gave the ball away to David Green, but his cross went beyond the far post. Soon, Springer’s corner went towards Fischer at the far post, only for Fischer to hit the side netting.
The busy first half continued – Rochester got a free kick that couldn’t get past the Croydon wall and Richard White blocked and cleared the ball. Then David Green was taken down and Ryan Palmer’s free kick was caught by Rochester goalkeeper Shaun Wicks. On the wing, Green passed to Tom Hizzett only for Wicks to catch his shot. After a free kick, Adam Allen’s cross went to Hizzett, but he didn’t shoot on target. A Rochester player gave the ball away to Green, but his shot was caught by Wicks. Croydon’s last chance of the first half saw Fischer pass to Hizzett then Springer whose shot went wide of the post.
Croydon had a couple of half chances early in the second half followed by one from Springer who closed in on Wicks only for the goalkeeper to catch the ball. After Penney-Hughes also made a catch, and White stopped another attempt, Hizzett crossed to Fischer only to hit the crossbar.
Fischer had an excellent game, playing on both wings and working overtime distributing the ball, and finally got his reward putting the Trams ahead. With the defence standing still, and Wicks out of the way, Fischer controlled the ball and scored.
Six minutes later and the Trams got a free kick, and Fischer’s header went wide of the far post. Another free kick, the ball went again to Fischer and this time his shot went wide of the near post. Croydon then doubled the lead after passes from Lauris Chin and Springer before Green’s shot went in to make it 2-0 to the Trams.
On 89 minutes, George Wady received a cross from his left and slotted the ball just making it to the inside of the near post, giving Rochester a consolation goal.
Manager Giles said: “It was very pleasing to be able to make seven changes and perform the way we did and come away with the win. We have real depth now within the group and hopefully we can keep up this good run of form.”
Croydon:Penney-Hughes, Brown (McGovern 59), Morgan, Allen, White (C), Merret, Palmer, Fischer, Hizzett (Chin 64), Springer, Green (Morton 72).
Subs: Ayetine, Noiki.
Match Report: Suniel Bhardwaj
Pictures: Stephen O’Sullivan