6 - 0
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
AFC Croydon Athletic
Saturday January 15, 2022, 4:00 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
The first match of the year after a four week interregnum. The trip to Colliers Wood United had been brought forward by a few weeks, Frimley Green had fallen victims to the pandemic and Beckenham had controversially unilaterally decided not to travel. The last was on the basis, inter alia, that some of their players would not undertake testing in case they were found positive and would then not be able to work.
Croydon Athletic, in their initial incarnation, had joined the Spartan League in 1990 before transferring to the third division of the Isthmian League in 1997. There they worked their way up to the Premier Division in 2010 with significant financial backing from two successive chairmen. Firstly Dean Fisher, later to be jailed for fraud, and then Mazhar Majeed. A newspaper “sting” found Majeed to be the fixer behind the betting scandal involving the England v Pakistan test series in 2010 and, like Fisher, he was also put behind bars.
With their finances disrupted Croydon Athletic lost the better players they had bought in and were relegated back to Division 1. There they only lasted a few months before folding in December 2011. Three months later their supporters put together a new club, hence their having to adopt current A.F.C. prefix. This new organisation was accepted in to the Combined Counties League Division 1 but it was not until November 2014 that they managed to regain possession of their old ground at Thornton Heath.
In their third Combined Counties season they gained promotion, but with the F.A. geographical re-organisation, the higher league they moved to was the Premier Division of the Kent dominated Southern Counties East League. They spent six seasons there with the last two abandoned seasons seeing them hovering just above the relegation spots.
This season they were moved back by the F.A. to the Combined Counties League but there they are still in relegation danger. They currently sit 18th of the 20 teams with a record of 3-8-8 24-45. In the F.A. Cup and F.A. Vase they went out early to old Southern Counties East rivals, Erith & Belvedere and Holmesdale respectively.
Jersey made two changes, one enforced, to the starting line up from four weeks ago.
Robbie Scott was in goal, in place of the suspended Euan Van der Vliet, and Calvin Weir replaced “birthday boy” Adam Trotter who was on the bench.
Alongside Trotter were Daryl Wilson and new signing Frank Tobin, as well as Joe Kilshaw and reserve ‘keeper Luke Duncan. Tobin has relocated from Guernsey to be with his Jersey girlfriend and is now dual registered with Guernsey F.C. for whom he has played 88 times. He was typically greeted with inter-insular “humour” by the local “Koppites” when he came on towards the end of the match.
A bright, still, sunny day, albeit only 6C, had given way to dusk by the 4p.m. start which saw Croydon kick off attacking the Robin Hood end.
Jersey started brightly and when a cross from the left was only partially headed clear, Sol Solomon, in the left corner of the penalty box, brought it down and quickly shimmied to his left. Jordan Greaves close beside him stuck out a leg in reaction and only succeeded in felling him, leaving referee Scott Crowhurst little option but to point to the spot. Luke Campbell stepped up and hit the penalty low left as Oshane Brown gambled the other way.
Croydon retaliated with a powerful Naham Green shot but it was not well placed and rebounded off Robbie Scott’s chest to be cleared. Lorne Bickley and Fraser Barlow then both had shots saved before Solomon doubled the lead. Played in down the left channel with a subtly weighted pass from Karl Hinds, Solomon advanced and rifled home to the top left corner to mark his 50th appearance for the Bulls.
Just after the half hour Brown brought off a good save as a Solomon diagonal ball to the right post was half volleyed by Bickley from close in as the Croydon defence vainly appealed for offside. A couple of minutes later Bickley looked likely to score as a through ball put him clear down the middle but he steered his shot from fifteen yards just wide of the left post.
Two minutes before the end of the first session Jay Giles fed Solomon on the left wing. He skipped past a tackle but was now on the byline well to the left of the Croydon goal. Tricking his way past another tackle he advanced further along the byline before cleverly chipping a shot between another defender and Brown in to the far corner.
Seven minutes in to the second half Kamen Nafkha broke clear to the right byline creating the possibility of his first goal for the Bulls. Before he could shoot Alfie Young made a desperate tackle from behind to give Scott Crowhurst another straightforward penalty decision and earn Young a caution. Campbell again went low left with Brown going the right way this time and just failing to get a hand to the ball as Jersey went four up.
Jersey made a double substitution with Trotter and Kilshaw coming on. There was also a flurry of Croydon substitutions which culminated in two of them leading a swift counter attack which saw their best chance of the match. Jermaine Green, wide right on the half way line, hooked the ball forward to Joe Nwoko who in turn fed Naham Green advancing down the left channel. His rising shot was pushed away by Scott at the expense of a corner.
With a quarter of an hour to go, Jersey made their second double substitution as they brought on striker Daryl Wilson and debutant Tobin. As the match seemed to be drifting to its close Wilson had an opportunity down the left channel but his shot hit Brown’s legs. From the resultant corner Solomon claimed his hat trick with a wicked inswinger that went over Brown and in to the far corner. As seasoned Jersey watchers will know this was not a fluke.
Calamity was to follow for the Croydon defence as in the next minute Junior Kappo played a clearance straight back to Solomon on the edge of the box. Solomon tried to cheekily lob Brown but the ‘keeper got a hand to it. However, before he could grasp the falling ball, Trotter, following up, bundled the loose ball home with a stooping header to raise Jersey’s total to half a dozen.
Jersey Bulls 6 (Luke Campbell (2, 2 pens) 4 pen & 53 pen, Sol Solomon (3) 16, 43 & 90, Adam Trotter 90+1); A.F.C. Croydon Athletic 0
Attendance – 699
Programme – 24 pages, £2
Jersey Bulls – Robbie Scott, Jonny Le Quesne, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Fraser Barlow, Calvin Weir, Lorne Bickley, Karl Hinds, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – Frank Tobin (for Barlow 75), Adam Trotter (for Nafkha 64), Joe Kilshaw (for Hinds also 64), Daryl Wilson (for Bickley also 75), Luke Duncan GK (not used)
Red/White/White; GK Green
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach),
A.F.C. Croydon Athletic – Oshane Brown, Jordon Anderson, Alfie Young, Abbas Agoro (c), Hermes Mengi, Ibby Diallo, Jordan Greaves, Jack Marney, Tijani Eshilokun, Luwayne Greenwood, Naham Green
Substitutes – Jermaine Green (for Marney 51), Joe Nwoko (for Greenwood 69), Will Grieveson (for Anderson 60), Serge Ikudehinbu (for Eshilokun 64), Junior Kappo (for Agoro (also 51)
Bright Yellow shirts with Navy Blue and White trimmings, Yellow shorts and socks;
GK Pink jersey with black shorts and socks.
Kevin Rayner (Manager), Sam Morgan (Coach), Chris Klass (Coach), Kai Bichard (Coach), Denis Lawton (Physio.) Tom Pearson (Kit)
Referee – Scott Crowhurst (Guildford) A lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. In his 15th officiating season, originally in the Spartan League before re-locating to Surrey. He was on the line for our last league match of last season at Ash United.
Assistants – John Bates (Staines) In his second season, after a long playing career, primarily with Wokingham Town where he played in goal until his mid 40s, and Alexander “Alex” Smithyes (Guildford) in his first season of officiating.
Cautions – Jordan Greaves (AFCCA) 34, Alfie Young (AFCCA) 52, Jay Giles (JB) 68
Corners – Jersey Bulls (2) 3, A.F.C. Croydon Athletic (2) 4
Player of the Match Award (commentators) – Sol Solomon (JB)
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