Plucky Moles Derail Trams

by Andrew Finch

Molesey 2-1 Croydon


    Goals from Lewis Ackerman and Arnold Tawonezvi helped Molesey grind out another three points that keeps their 100% record in 2010 intact, despite a spirited late comeback from the visitors.

Through sheer work-rate and effort the Moles just about did enough to justify the three points against a Croydon side who also boasted 2 wins from 2 games in 2010, although on a difficult pitch that the ground-staff did well to get playable, early chances and overall quality were few and far between.

The dearth of quality on show in the early stages was epitomized by the game’s opening chance midway through the first half, when a hopelessly sliced effort from Croydon’s Junior Gyimah spun towards the corner flag, and was retrieved by John Gladwin, whose cross swerved viciously towards Wester Young’s goal.  Young did well to readjust and parry his effort, but the ball fell kindly to Gyimah 12 yards from goal, who was unfortunate to see his sweetly struck volley come back off the outside of the post.

Farid Ebrahim-Zadeh had the Moles’ opening effort, but his shot on the turn from James McShane’s cross just cleared Adrian Jones’ far post.

The home side took the lead ten minutes before the break when a Molesey free kick just inside the Croydon half broke down and came out to Luke Elliott.  Elliott hoisted a ball above a dozing Croydon backline, which Ackerman, who had cleverly created himself a few yards of space, latched on to and took his time before burying his second goal of the season.

Croydon were nearly back on level terms when some sloppy play by Ross Defoe – recalled to the side because of an injury to Dan Coombes – allowed Joe Loyza to play in Gladwin.  Gladwin just got to the ball before Young and was unlucky to see his effort creep the other side of the post.

The last action of the half saw Tawonezvi plant a header just over the bar from a McShane corner.

Five minutes into the second half, two pieces of genuine quality from McShane within the space of a minute nearly saw the Moles double their advantage.  First he took advantage of some casual defending to wriggle clear of two defenders on the Molesey left and crossed dangerously into the six yard box.  The ball evaded the onrushing front two but fell kindly to Sam Lampard 15 yards from goal, whose first time effort went narrowly over.

McShane followed that up moments later with a first-time volley from 35 yards that had Jones back-pedalling, and it appeared the keeper got the slightest of touches to tip the ball onto the post.

Dan Lucas was fortunate to escape with nothing more than a ticking off for scything down Gladwin, which resulted in the Croydon danger man being withdrawn, before the Moles added their second on the hour mark.

Jones had needlessly come charging out of his goal to stop the rampaging Ebrahim-Zadeh on the Molesey right.  Seeing his interception trickle out for a throw-in and with the Moles keen to get on with the game with Jones a full 35 yards from goal he threw the ball over the fence to buy himself valuable seconds to get back into goal.  On the basis the ref had booked Defore moments earlier for kicking the ball away a yellow card for Jones was inevitable.

From the throw, Lucas fed Lampard, who picked out Tawonezvi.  There seemed little danger as Tawonezvi cut inside on to his less favoured left foot, but then released an unstoppable curler from the angle of the box that flew over Jones and into the far corner for one of the goals of the season to give the Moles breathing space.

The Trams got one back 12 minutes later after Rob Lewis, who had a fine game alongside Joe Yeates, intercepted a through ball but failed to clear his lines properly, and Loyza made him pay with a stunning left footed chip over Young into the far corner, for only the second goal the Moles have conceded in the past seven games.

Ackerman had a chance to restore the Moles’ two goal cushion, but shot just the wrong side of Jones’ post after Lampard’s shot had been deflected, whilst Moles fans’ hearts were in their mouths when Young came rushing out of his goal and upended Gyimah.  Luckily the ball was heading towards the corner flag, so there was no danger of a second red card in three games for Young, although he was certainly fortunate not to pick up a booking.

Croydon threw themselves at Molesey in the final few minutes; however they rarely threatened an equaliser, with a mini goalmouth scramble after Young had flapped at a corner the closest they came to rescuing a point.

The win moves the Moles into the top five for the first time this season and their excellent form will be put to the test on Tuesday when they face a trip to table topping North Greenford United, who will be looking for revenge after a McShane-inspired Molesey inflicted a rare defeat on them earlier in the season.


Line up:  Wester Young, Dan Lucas (Eddie Koboah 63), Luke Elliott, Joe Yeates [C], Rob Lewis, Ross Defoe (Dean Race 88), Farid Ebrahim-Zadeh, Sam Lampard, Arnold Tawonezvi, Lewis Ackerman (Andre Taiwo 81), James McShane.   Subs (not used) Joe Pratley-Jones, Paul Gough