On a bright early Spring afternoon at St Paul’s the Fish kept the momentum going in the quest for SCEFL safety with a hard working performance bringing home all three points against a Croydon side who started the day 17 points ahead of us. An early strike from Juan David Devia Pineda was enough to settle the game, with the work that Dean Harrison’s coaching team had been focusing on in training on keeping things tight at the back paying dividends once again with another clean sheet. This win narrows the gap further on the sides ahead of us in the table, with just one point needed to escape the drop zone – and only six points between Fisher and Bearsted in 14th who visit SE16 on Saturday.
The sides were accompanied onto the field pre-match by children from our neighbours Peter Hill’s School as part of the CoppaFeel Community Fundraising Day, and with another home win achieved we hope those mascots will be back at St Paul’s again soon to cheer on their local side. They will barely have found their seats in the Barry Albin-Dyer Stand in time to see Pineda slot home after three minutes, the winger latching on to a high ball as he cut in from the left flank and calmly slotted home to open the scoring.
Up to the half hour the home side ran the game, with Luke Haidarovic firing just over on 19 minutes after appearing to be clipped in the box, whilst Richie Hamill saw a great free kick whip just over the bar. As the game progressed the visitors found their footing, starting to build into the game as the half-time whistle approached, but the teams went in at 1-0.
Boss Dean Harrison was impressed by his side’s work rate in the opening period, and discipline in sticking to the game plan. “I had a really good feeling before the game. We got a lot out of our session on Thursday. The defensive shape drill was spot on and the vibe in the dressing room has been really positive.
I thought we were excellent first half and should have gone in at half time at least two up. Juan’s goal was a great start for us, really settled us down and allowed us to play how we wanted to. As always though, we mustn’t get carried away and need to remember where we are in the league. Mid to top of the table teams are there for a reason and there will be times when they will have large portions of the game.”
The second period picked up where the first finished, with The Trams enjoying the better of the possession and attacking impetus. However, the organisation of the Fisher back four was clear to see, with full backs Toyo Adeshina and Ashley Wright seeming to pop up in the right place and the right time each time Croydon tried to build. As the visitors pushed for the equaliser space opened up for Fisher on the break, with Pineda and Harry Bugden both having a sight of goal after hard work from Luke Haidarovic to open play up. Dwayne Agyemang repelled a good Croydon break before the end, with the Fish holding on for another vital three points, and praise from the boss.
“In the second half we didn’t really get going for the first 25 minutes and conceded a lot of the play and the pitch. We stayed organised though and for all the possession Croydon had, I think Nic Taylor only had to make one comfortable save.
Hard to pick out individuals again today as I thought it was a great team performance. The back four were solid as a rock. The midfield, creative first half and workman like second half and Luke Haidarovic worked tirelessly as the lone front man for 90 minutes.”
With points on the board, Deano now shifts his sights to the visit of relegation rivals Bearsted next week and the chance to move out of the bottom two – “A huge thank you again to the fans and for the support you’re giving to myself and the lads. We hope to see you all and more for the massive six pointer against Bearsted next Saturday.”
Fisher 1 – 0 Croydon
Fisher goal – Pineda 3′
Fisher Starting XI – Taylor, Adeshina, Wright, Lawson, Flemming (c), Agyemang, Ufuah, Bugden, Haidarovic, Hamill, Devia Pineda
Fisher Subs – Hewett, Thorne, Bhandal, Beeden (on for Flemming), McKenzie
Man of the Match – Toyo Adeshina
Attendance – 152