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Croydon FC held in six-goal thriller at Wembley

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Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League Premier Division Wembley FC 3 Croydon FC 3 Spectators enjoyed a festival of non-league football in this clash between Wembley and Croydon at Vale Farm in the shadow of the Wembley Stadium arch last weekend. Defensively, Wembley had the Trams on the back foot for large chunk s of the game and only another magnificent display by Francis Ameyaw kept the home side's score within manageable proportions. At the other end though, Croydon were a threat throughout the match especially with Ben Mankelow taking no prisoners as usual. The Trams were a little unfortunate to concede the first in the 19th-minute. Ameyaw did the hard work, pushing a Yassine Fehmi-Gil effort onto the bar but he could only look on as the ball was played back into Issah Abubakar, who stabbed the ball in from an off-side position. In fairness the home side were worth their lead however it came, but Croydon were soon on the offensive as Mankelow burst forward with his trademark thrust from midfield and shot just wide. There was lots of excellent play from both sides with Wembley generally looking the more potent but the Trams equalised a minute before half-time. Mankelow was fouled down the right flank and Jake Pitt flung in the free-kick, Jason Pinnock controlled the ball, losing his marker and tipped the ball in to the corner of the net, he made it seem easy. Two minutes after the restart and Pinnock turned provider, teeing up Mankelow who volleyed in spectacularly from the edge of the box giving 'keeper Kieran Jimmy no chance. The home side put Croydon under almost constant pressure and it appeared inevitable that they would grab one back, and so they did in the 68th-minute when substitute Adrian Dinham ran onto a cross from the left and squeezed the ball home. A Wembley win was on the cards as they missed several decent chances, heading wide and straight at Ameyaw, who made a fabulous save to deny Jack Cookson. Two minutes into stoppage time and it looked like Croydon had snatched a win when Mankelow racing in from midfield reached Darren Goodwin's cross and forced the ball home. Celebrations were cut short though as two minutes later Wembley forced a corner from the right and Cookson sent a looping header into the unguarded top left corner of the net. By Croydon FC's Simon Hawkins

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