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Play-off win sets up biggest fixture in Athletic’s history – Inside Croydon

NON-LEAGUE NEWS by ANDREW SINCLAIR

Croydon Athletic face the biggest game in the Phoenix club’s short history tonight, after their biggest game win in Jersey on Saturday.

Jermaine McGlashan’s side will travel to Knaphill for the Combined Counties Premier Division South play-off final with a place in the eighth tier of English football, the winners’ prize.

Athletic’s late-season run of form saw them win their play-off semi-final 2-1 in front of 1,000 fans at Jersey Bulls, the Channel Islands club who had finished runners-up in the division in the regular competition, on Saturday . season

The Rams’ fifth-place finish in the league is their best since reforming in 2012 and came at the end of a season of change for the Thornton Heath side after Wilfried Zaha, Stormzy and Danny Young took charge.

The impetus for their project was clear from the start, with Young’s Crystal Palace connections leading to a significant revamp of the Rams squad. Midfielder Brandon Pierrick, who has been playing Premier League football in the 2019-2020 season, has bagged 17 goals in the league, while left-back Reece Hannam has plied his trade in the Football League at the start of the season.

The biggest transformation of the team’s performances came after McGlashan’s arrival as boss in October, as he brought a brand of free-flowing attacking football that saw the Rams finish the campaign with the division’s second most prolific attack.

Tonight’s opponents Knaphill finished the season two places and eight points above the Rams. They won the play-off semi-final on Saturday, beating Tadley Calleva 2-0.

Knaphill go into tonight’s game as favourites, with home advantage and the confidence of having done the double against Athletic in the regular season: 3-0 at the Mayfield Stadium in October, before winning 3-1 at home just before since the beginning of the year. .

Athletic will have taken a lot from their win over Jersey and will no doubt be looking to take inspiration from Bromley. The Ravens under manager Andy Woodman are a great example of what can be done when a club is well run, have flourished over the last decade and are now set to play in League 2 next season thanks to winning the play-off final of at Wembley on Sunday.

New boss: Antonio Gonnella, yesterday appointed as the new manager of Croydon FC

Croydon Athletic will have more control over the ground next season after completing a ground-sharing deal with Balham.

The Blazers, who finished the season in ninth place in the same division, made their headlines last week. The club attracted complaints from Fulham fans when they posted a lengthy thread on social media in support of the Premier League’s decision to fine Fulham for the Cottagers’ previous transfer of Fabio Carvalho from Balham in 2015.

The district’s oldest non-league club, Croydon FC, have appointed Antonio Gonnella as their new first team manager, replacing Liam Giles, who resigned last month.

Gonnella joins from AFC Whyteleafe, the runaway winners of the Southern Counties East Football League First Division, where he was first team coach.

“We are incredibly excited about Antonio and all he will bring to the field and our growing community,” Trams said in announcing the appointment.

Read more: How Stormzy’s football dream becomes a reality Mayfield
Read more: Trophy-winning manager Giles decides to leave the club
Read more: Stormzy is changing the game by opening his #MerkyFC headquarters


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  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: In January 2024, Croydon was named among the country’s most rotten boroughs for the seventh consecutive year in the annual summary of civic advertising in Private magazine

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