It’s fair to say that players, management and supporters all left St Paul’s with a spring in their step on Saturday evening, having seen the best performance of the year from Fisher and learning that results elsewhere saw us climb off the bottom of the table. A comfortable 3-0 victory against a lackluster Erith & Belvedere side saw Dean Harrison’s Fish up to 19th, and now firmly focused on making up the difference on the clump of sides sitting just outside the SCEFL Premier Division dropzone, with anyone up to Bearstead in 13th very much in our sights.
Having started the day with the exciting news about British Land joining Fisher as Main Club Sponsor, the day was already off to a good start as the sides kicked off. Things got even better within 2 minutes as Antwon McKenzie calmly took an opportunity to the left of the penalty area to slot home and give the Fish an early lead. The visitors did respond, building some momentum before the Fish saw a towering header from skipper Dan Flemming cleared off the line after 14 minutes.
It was a tale of two free kicks to round off the half. On 21 minutes Harry Bugden appeared to play the ball in a stiff challenge with former Fisher midfielder Spencer Forte, but saw the ref pull the game back. Nic Taylor got down low to his left to turn away with resulting free kick, another smart stop from the Montserrat international who has really impressed since arriving late in 2016. After 38 minutes tricky winger Alvaro Munoz was hacked down after some great footwork on the edge of the area; Munoz would be replaced before the break as a result of this challenge. Bugden stepped up to take the free kick, seeing his effort fly just wide of The Deres goal. 1-0 to the home side at the break.
Another injury blighted the start of the second half for Fisher, with Hamid Bangura replaced by Luke Haidarovic after a strong challenge. 4 minutes later Luke was on the scoresheet, calmly slotting home a penalty in front of the raucous crowd in the Dockers End after Harry Bugden was taken out as he moved into the area. Two minutes later substitute John Ufuah saw an effort ruled out due to a questionable offside flag, but the Fish weren’t left waiting too long for the third goal as Haidarovic and Juan David Devia Pineda combined magnificently in the box as Pineda scored the goal of the game.
The game finished 3-0 to the Fish, with Harry Bugden enjoying his new position as a midfield dynamo picking up the Man of the Match award. The full time whistle prompting huge celebrations around St Paul’s as news filtered through that Beckenham Town had been thumped at Ashford United which saw Fisher rise 2 points ahead of our local rivals. Skipper Dan Flemming led the side in celebration with all corners of the ground, reflecting the huge part the Fisher Faithful had played in keeping the players going.
After the match Dean Harrison was full of praise for his players, and the fans. “That was a great response to the defeat by Whitstable. Our work rate was phenomenal and so was the team spirit. Training had been buzzing all week and the defensive shape we worked on Thursday night really payed dividends, rewarding us with our third clean sheet in four games.
I thought we showed good desire going forward. This time we made the most our chances and it was nice to get the three goals. 3-0 being our best result of the season I believe.
We’ll assess the injuries we sustained we get the group back together on Tuesday evening, but hopefully Munoz, Bangura and Adeshina will all be fit for next Saturday at Canterbury City.
The crowd were unbelievable again and myself and the lads cannot thank you enough for your support. We’re still swimming!”
Fisher 3 – 0 Erith & Belvedere
Fisher goals – 2′ McKenzie, 54′ Haidarovic (p), ’59 Pineda
Fisher Starting XI – Taylor, Adeshina, Wright, Lawson, Flemming (c), Agyemang, Munoz, Bugden, Bangura, McKenzie, Pineda
Fisher subs – Ufuah (on for Munoz), Collins, Thorne (on for Adeshina), Haidarovic (on for Bangura)
Fisher Man of the Match – Harry Bugden
Attendance – 155
Photograph © David Anderson. As ever that are more fantastic match images on Dave’s Flickr page.