Colts battle it out in an entertaining draw
By Bruce French
1-1 after a poor first half
A long old trip to south London saw Colts up against a familiar foe in Croygas. With two late withdrawals, the cupboard was also looking bare and a tough encounter was on the cards.
Alfie J was a late inclusion as he continues his recovery from his knee injury, which meant we had 11 on the pitch, but no subs. Without Matt and Charlie, some reshuffling was also needed. As the game kicked off, it was going to be interesting to see how the game panned out.
The first half was a bit of a ragged affair. Lots of mistakes and misplaced passes and Colts really weren't able to get any grip on the game. Croygas on the other hand looked dangerous and were especially strong upfront, causing constant issues for the defence. Midfield was looking a bit light and it gave Crorygas the space to play balls into and beyond the defence. Chances came aplenty but for all the pressure, Croygas couldnt break the deadlock. A mixture of brilliant keeping by Owen, with especially safe hands, and some lacklustre finishing managed to keep the score at 0-0.
The one occasion Croygas managed to get the ball in the net was adjudged to be offside. Slightly unfortunate for the Croygas striker as it was a beauty into the corner, but it wasn't to count. Colts had one or two decent attacks and were making the odd foray into the Croygas half, but it was rare.
Half time arrived and Colts needed to up their game, cut out the mistakes, close the ball down better, track players better and then make use of any possession. A reminder of the system to reinforce midfield was also required. The resulting second half was much better. By contrast the team looked much better balanced, and though Croygas were still dangerous, it looked much more controlled by Colts.
The possession also improved and the attack started to have some success. The play was also shifted more into the Croygas half than Colts, which is where we'd spent most of the first half. The passing improved and Colts were putting together a few decent attacks. Fraser got in a neat cross that flew across in front of the goal but no-one could get on the end.
Colts almost got a lead 10 mins into the second half. A foul just outside the box and Fraser despatched a beauty into the top middle of the net, but AlfieJ was adjudged to have fouled the defender and the goal didn't count. It was left to AlfieS to break the deadlock after a neat passing move ending up with the ball shot across the goalie for 1-0. Alfie is rapidly developing a knack for being in the right place at the right time and given a chance, has a good finish on him. Slightly hard on Croygas given their first half, but Colts had improved in the second half and it wasn't so surprising.
20 minutes left and could Cougars hold out? With the system, it's essential the attack do their bit to get back and help out. With Croygas getting the ball out wide that meant for a lot of hard work. Inevitably there was the odd fraught moment, but Owen continued to stand firm in the goal and JoshT especially was looking commanding at CB, helped out by Ted and Ben - all of which had their work cut out to stem the flow.
With 5 mins left, Croygas got a deserved equaliser looking at the whole game. It needed a bit of a special effort and so it proved. The Croygas striker wasn't closed down quickly enough just outside the box but his speculative twist and kind of scooped shot, managed to drop right into the top corner. Owen almost had it but it was just out of reach and we were back at 1-1. To say Croygas were happy was an understatement, but in the context of the game, you could understand their relief.
That was the last meaningful action and in the end a good draw, especially given the somewhat depleted squad. Maybe we could have nicked the win, but that would probably have been grossly unfair on Croygas who played their part in a good game.