The first real chill of the impending winter heralded the first of four consecutive home fixtures and floodlights were on for most of the second half. After the high intensity performance of seven days earlier, this was understandably a step down but a valuable three points and clean sheet. Thamesmead have had a horrible start to the season and recently introduced a new management team and squad with a bounce from this reorganisation apparent in patches.
Even so, it was Croydon who opened the scoring after just four minutes following a ball in from the right and a goalmouth melee involving three players, Uli Fischer squeezed the ball in. And two minutes later, the visiting goalkeeper was again tested, this time by Athan Smith-Joseph but he managed to push the ball wide.
On seventeen, Aaron Bogle centred to Fischer who glanced the ball wide. Eight minutes later, the lead was doubled when Smith-Joseph beat the offside trap and slipped the ball home despite vain appeals from the defence. But the visitors weren’t lying down, one shot was directed straight to George Kamurasi and when they took advantage of dithering, broke clear only to smash the ball over.
Later Keiron Rufus, returning from injury, had a glorious chance on thirty-three but headed over an open goal. Again the visitors tried to come back but to no avail and then Trams finished an enterprising first half with a very patient build up which came to nothing.
The restart saw Trams go close on a couple of occasions but then be pushed back and trying to play too deep, letting Thamesmead go at them and trying to soak up the pressure.
Smith-Joseph charged through on fifty-seven but elected to square the ball rather than shoot and the opportunity went begging. Harvey Morton hit goalwards low and hard only for his effort to be saved.
On sixty-seven, the visitors had a shot from the left which Kamurasi was only able to parry but caught the ball at the second attempt. On eighty-eight, he was at full stretch to tip the ball round the upright for a corner. A couple of flag-kicks in the ten minutes of time added on kept Trams defence on its toes but despite some pacey build-up play, the visitors couldn’t find a way back into the game, although they did show some green shoots which could augur well for the rest of the season.
Trams host Lewisham Borough on Wednesday evening in the Division One Cup and then Saturday sees Meridian VP come to Croydon Arena in the London Senior Trophy, for a place in the quarter-final ko 3pm. This fixture will also be attended by a group from local charity Reedham Children’s Trust.
Croydon: Kamurasi, Adam Allen, Morgan (Springer 66), Brown, Fischer (Asafu-Adjaye 89), Merrett, Bogle, Morton (Holness 70), Smith-Joseph, Rufus (Obanakho 90+9), Green (Lawson 78).
Subs: All used.
Match Report: Steve Tyler
Pictures: Shanthini Vijay and Hazal Yilmaz (Photography Students from Croydon College)