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Gaffer hails AFC Croydon Athletic's first season


IT'S only their first season as a new club and they've just reached a cup final, but for manager Antony Williams, he hopes it's just the start of good things to come for AFC Croydon Athletic Football Club.

The club are set to face Staines Lammas in the Lemon Recordings Division One Challenge Cup on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, and Williams has always had an eye on having a strong campaign.

It was only last summer where more than 80 players turned up for trials to form a brand new squad, and after trimming the shortlist down to 20, Williams' side have managed to have a successful season in the Combined Counties League Division One.

"Reaching the cup final is a great achievement for us, considering where we started way back in June without a single piece of equipment or any players for that matter," Williams told Advertiser Sport.

"Everyone connected with AFC Croydon Athletic has worked extremely hard to try and build a club and team the supporters can be proud of once again - I hope this is just the start of that journey.

"My personal aim was to achieve promotion this season, but I know at the start the club were happy to just be back playing competitive football.

"Perhaps I was a bit optimistic considering our starting position, but I firmly believed that we had a group of lads that were capable of getting out of our league.

"I know as the season progressed the expectations started to rise and chairman Paul Smith started talking about promotion, especially with us being in the mix until the Easter period.

"This league is tough and every team is capable of beating each other.

"To finish the season with a cup final appearance and also reaching the quarter-final of the Premier Cup and a good FA Vase run in our first season is not bad."

At present, AFC Croydon are the sixth-highest scorers in the league and Williams believes they have the players to hurt teams on their day.

However, an eye on player recruitment for next season has already begun and the boss hinted that more experienced players might be required to push on.

"Both myself and assistant Duncan Alger have been working hard identifying players we feel would make us improve," he said.

"We both believe that we have lacked experience at times, but I am hoping to retain the majority of my current squad.

"I do always want my sides to play good attacking football and will look to continue to do that.

"Our forwards have done well with Joe Loyza, Lee Jansen and Edward Cardona scoring the majority.

"However we have conceded far too many and I would take a boring 1-0 result most weeks if that meant we had a few more points on the board."

The cup final will take place at Windsor Football Club's Stag Meadow Stadium and Williams wants to win the competition for all the hard work put in behind the scenes at the club.

He said: "It is a big day for everyone connected with us, especially the supporters who have given up so much and worked so hard to get the club back playing football once again.

"A win is the target because the losing side don't get remembered.

"We will be doing all that we possibly can to ensure that the lads are fully prepared to go and give it the best shot of returning home with the trophy."

Gaffer hails AFC Croydon Athletic's first season

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