Campbelltown City shuts out Croydon to book return to the Australia Cup Round of 32

The second Federation Cup Semi-Final saw Michael Matricciani’s Campbelltown City prevail over Croydon FC in a tense encounter, claiming its first ticket to the Australia Cup Round of 32 since its inaugural appearance in 2019.



Campbelltown City and Croydon FC have endured contrasting NPL SA seasons so far, but they met in the Semi-Final stage of the Federation Cup with the prize for the winner not only being a spot in the competition’s finale, but also the coveted final spot in the Round of 32 of the Australia Cup allocated to Football South Australia.

League form is not always important in the cup, but coming into the Semi-Final a whopping 17 points ahead of its opponents, Michael Matricciniani’s Campbelltown City was always going to kick off the game a strong favourite.

Only four days ago, Croydon FC, despite its inconsistent form, showed the South Australian football community it can hang with the best, taking a point off league-leaders MetroStars away from home, but Travis Dodd’s side knew a lot had to go right to pip the Red Devils in a big game.

It was a nightmare start for Travis Dodd’s side after it afforded Campbelltown forward Shogo Yoshikawa too much time and space on the edge of the box and were punished accordingly when he curled the opener past Matthew Woithe four minutes after referee Daniel Cook kicked off proceedings.


Photograph courtesy of Phil Radoslovich Photography

Despite taking an early lead, the Red Devils continued piling on the pressure and Travis Dodd had to return to the drawing board once more in the 14th minute when Chris Vivian had to be substituted after injuring his hamstring in just his third senior game since coming back from a long-term injury.

It was nearly game over for Polonia minutes later when Alex Mullen had the opportunity to head home from point blank range, but Matthew Woithe, deputising for Gianni Tramontin after the goalkeeper suffered a broken nose on the weekend, pulled off a spectacular save to keep his side’s hopes alive.

Admirably, after multiple stumbles in the first 20 minutes of the encounter, Croydon stemmed the bleeding and made it hard for its opponents to continue having high-quality chances. The combative side of Polonia’s game became evident in the yellow card count, with four of its players being booked for strong challenges on their Campbelltown counterparts.


Photograph courtesy of Phil Radoslovich Photography

Despite slowing Campbelltown down, Croydon’s counterattacking play, largely orchestrated by Andre Carle and Patrick Caraccia, was thwarted by its opposition and the Red Devils entered the rooms with a well-deserved one goal lead.

Having regrouped during the break, Croydon entered the second half with a renewed attacking focus and went close to equalising ten minutes after the restart but Patrick Caraccia could not reach Seb Goode’s cross to level proceedings.

Both sides went to their bench in search of a difference maker, with Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio and Dion Kirk introduced for Campbelltown and Croydon respectively and it was the latter side that once again went close to scoring, Andre Carle’s free header from a Luke Klimek cross ending up in the hands of Alex Woodlands.

Having not appeared in the Australia Cup Round of 32 since 2015, Croydon piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser to trigger extra time. Despite throwing everything at the Red Devils, Polonia could not convert its opportunities, with Patrick Caraccia failing to hit the target after a corner rebound fell to him at the edge of the box.


Photograph courtesy of Phil Radoslovich Photography

Holes opened up in the Croydon defence as Travis Dodd’s men pushed to find that all-important goal, but Antoni Trimboli, and his teammates, could not further punish his former side.

The match ended controversially with Croydon remonstrating for a penalty in the final moments of the game that referee Daniel Cook adjudicated as a fair challenge, before blowing the full-time whistle moments later to confirm Campbelltown’s return to the Round of 32 of the Australia Cup since its last appearance in 2019.

The Red Devils join fellow North Eastern  NPL SA club, MetroStars, on the national stage, but before that, the two sides will clash in Federation Cup Final on the 24th July for the first silverware honours in Season 2023.

Full Time

Campbelltown City 1

Croydon FC 0

Yoshikawa 4’