15 Aug 2023
Match report by Dave Hawtin
An entertaining opening league game of the 23/24 season had Alton entertaining a new look Croydon who are now under the stewardship of UK rapper and singer Stormzy and Wilfried Zaha the Ex Crystal Palace winger.
The first quarter of the game was a little cagey with neither keeper tested but it burst into life on the half hour mark.
A corner for the home side delivered into the box resulted in the referee awarding a penalty when a defender raised his arm diverting the ball away from a group challenging for the ball.
New signing Pat Cox cooly sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot kick.
Within 60 seconds Croydon equalised. The ball fell kindly to the only attacker on the edge of the Alton penalty area and with much still to do he hammered the ball into the far left hand side of the goal giving keeper Mee’s absolutely no chance.
This livened the encounter up and a couple quick of bookings should have alerted the players that the referee would deal with all digressions positively.
So when with 5 minutes to the interval a marauding Louis Russell was crudely lunged at on the bye line there was only one outcome for the perpetrator, a straight red card.
With a numerical advantage the home crowd might have expected their side to take all 3 points but the visitors are made of sterner stuff these days and they continued to have as much of the possession as Alton and looked a threat on the break.
As the game entered the later stages Alton seized the initiative and threatened the goal on three occasions forcing a couple of really good defensive blocks and then Joe Sowden, now playing out of position as a result of numerous substitutions attempting to bring fresh legs to both tiring sides, found himself free 6 yards from goal at the back post but he just couldn’t get enough on his effort and the goalkeeper saved comfortably.
Still enough time for the visitors to create one last chance as Alton tried to force the game.
A break down the left found the central striker 10 yards from goal and with the home crowd holding their breath he screwed the opportunity wide of the far post.
A fair result as neither side deserved to lose this game.