Due to chronic fixture congestion, as the end of the season approaches, this game was converted into a double-header and with twice the incentive, both squads had close to their strongest teams on display (... except perhaps for the missing Moorhouse and the Seal Hunter).
The games between these teams can be finely balanced. The formidable Avondale offence typically creates the majority of scoring opportunities and, in no small part due to the excellent Croydon keeper, often converts fewer of them than they would expect to. On the occasions when they manage to get their full offensive line-up in the pool together, there aren't many teams that can beat them and tonight was a case in point.
Avondale scored first and, as it happened, were never behind in the match. A combination of their best shooting efforts and some elegant passing play saw the home team gradually overwhelm the visitors. The Sniper, getting back to his best after the recent nasty cycling accident, scored two particularly impressive goals from six or seven metres. It's not often you see the Croydon keeper watch the ball pass with no attempt to save, it happened twice tonight. The Beast From The East delivered one classic backhand that passed the keeper's head before he could react, but uncharacteristically he failed to convert two one on one opportunities having left his marker bobbing in his wake; it's not often you see Ivan turned in open play.... Respect!
For the first two quarters Croydon pegged Avondale back with well worked goals, but, the old goat between the posts should have had at least a couple of them.... perhaps his bifocals were steamed up?
The third quarter proved to be the turning point as Avondale dominated in offence and at one stage went four goals ahead. They defended the pit very well, stealing the ball again and again and forcing most of the shots from the arc. Their keeper failed to get out of the way of a couple of shots and suddenly they looked to be on a comfortable run in. As often happens their foot came off the gas (where's Stretch when you need that personal motivation). Croydon were now a little less enthusiastic about getting back to defend and a couple of careless misses from the Avondale attack gifted the visitors three break-away goals.
Although the final quarter began with the home team only a single goal ahead, they had the momentum and quickly eased clear, scoring the first two goals. They had two penalties, the first well saved by the Croydon keeper and the second taken by '007'! He might be a good keeper, but there's a limit to anyone's dedication to a cause and as Bond's long arm whipped forward to smash the ball into the back wall only the top of the keeper's cap and one hand were visible!
The indomitable Captain Louis kept himself out of the fray, but steered the ship to another victory.