There are goalless draws that are insipid and easily forgettable but this did not fit in that category. It was a high energy encounter which had both teams going for it – Trams to regain the ground lost in the away game, Lewisham to put distance on the others in the group.
Trams had the edge early on and had a number of chances, Uli Fischer having a wild blast on fourteen, Adam Allen sending a couple of powerful drives in the goalkeeper’s direction and Jahquan Springer also going off target.
But on thirty-nine, the visitors sliced open the home defence with a free flowing passing move which ended when they skied over.
Trams had a shout for a penalty on fifty but from the stand, it was probably the correct decision and a minute later, Sam Penney-Hughes saved bravely at the feet of an onrushing forward who had broken through.
Play ebbed and flowed with Harvey Morton narrowly off target on fifty-eight whilst on seventy-two Trams were under the cosh but managed to concede a corner to relieve the pressure.
The final quarter saw the visitors just edging it and produce a top level save from Sam Penney-Hughes whose late touch tipped a goal bound shot round the far upright.
Arguably, Trams didn’t help themselves when they did shoot as the ball found its way into the goalkeeper’s arms.
The final piece of drama occurred at the end of time added on. Lauris Chin sprinted clear of the Lewisham defence and was unceremoniously clattered by the visiting custodian. There were no arguments about the award of the spot kick but the law of double jeopardy saw the goalkeeper only yellow carded and to add insult to injury, then produce a flying save to push Ryan Palmer’s penalty to safety.
Croydon: Hughes-Penney, Allen, Rufus, McGovern, White, Fischer, Palmer, Morton, Bogle, Springer, Green.
Subs: Brown, Holmes, Ayetine, Chin, Morgan.
Match Report: Steve Tyler
Pictures: Ryan Bailey (Photography Student from Croydon College)