FC Elmstead 2-3 Fisher FC (Brown (2), Flemming)
Fisher’s fine form continued last night with a deserved third win in ten days. A first away victory of the season moves the club up to 9th in the league before the break for FA Vase action this weekend.
Wearing their striking new orange away kits, Fisher began the first half strongly and did not have to wait long to take the lead. In just the 4th minute, excellent work from Dan Bowden on the right flank saw him collect the ball, beat the first man with a deft nutmeg and then slip the ball inside into the path of Trey Small. Small evaded a tackle and spread the ball out to the left hand corner of the box to the onrushing Jamie Brown. Brown’s first touch into the box looked like it might take the ball away from him, but a combination of his pace and a home keeper who was slow to come off his line saw Brown get to the ball first and clip an excellent finish over the keeper from a tight angle.
After 20 minutes, Fisher doubled their lead. A great crossfield ball from deep was taken down superbly on his chest by Trey Small before the ball was scrambled out for a throw to Fisher on the right touchline midway inside the FC Elmstead half. Reion McFarlane, making his second Fisher debut, took a lofted throw to Dan Bowden on the bye line. He was tackled and looked to have lost it, but won the ball back and put in a low cross towards the front post. The cross was met expertly by the onrushing Jamie Brown, who managed to evade the keeper and flick the ball into the net. Some of the Fisher faithful were heard to remark that it was a goal similar to that scored by Eric Dier for England on Monday night against Slovakia at Wembley!
Fisher were well on top, passing and keeping the ball well, and pressing as a unit when FC Elmstead had the ball. The attacking interplay between Brown, Small and Bowden was a constant danger to the home side. However, on the half-hour mark, FC Elmstead were unlucky not to pull one back. A volleyed pass put their number 9 in one goal, and his angled drive flashed just past Nic Taylor’s tight hand post. Then, on 35 minutes, Rob Brown did well to lunge and block a shot from inside the box. From the resulting clearance, Trey Small burst up the right wing and won a corner. The ball was swung over by Hamill but Flemming’s header went over.
On 40 minutes, FC Elmstead broke free on the counter-attack, and Dan Flemming took his man down on the edge of the box. Nic Taylor dived to his left to stop a dangerous effort from the resulting free-kick, managing to hold it at the second attempt.
Fisher finished the half strongly and really ought to have extended their lead. A dangerous cross from Brown was headed down and just past the keeper’s right hand post by Bowden, then Bowden cut in from the right wing and dribbled along the 18 yard line before firing into the grateful hands of the keeper. More good work from Bowden then led to Draper’s cutback nearly being turned into his own net by an FC Elmstead defender. A rampant Fisher couldn’t find the third goal their attacking play so richly deserved, and the teams went in for the half-time break with the away team two goals up.
Half-time: FC Elmstead 0-2 Fisher FC
The second half got underway with Fisher FC shooting towards the Dead Tree end, where some of the vocal Fisher faithful had gathered. Shortly after the restart, Fisher suffered an injury blow, with the influential Harry Draper having to be taken off after a lengthy period of treatment. The change did not upset Fisher’s momentum, with dangerous low crosses from Trey Small and then from Ritchie Hamill being cleared by a defender and then by the keeper’s feet respectively. Shortly after, FC Elmstead’s keeper had to look lively to beat away a Hamill drive from range.
Just before the hour mark, a great run from the composed Jack Rogers, who was playing beyond his years, ended with a curling shot from Trey Small just over the top corner. From the resulting goal kick, a long bouncing ball failed to be cleared by the Fisher defence. The FC Elmstead striker stumbled and could not capitalize, but the second home player to make it into the box picked up the loose ball and sent a low strike across Taylor into the Fisher goal.
Although Fisher’s play was not perhaps quite as fluent as in the first half, they continued to look dangerous every time they came forward. A corner hit deep to the back corner of the box by Rob Brown was headed back across goal and fell invitingly at Dan Flemming’s feet, but the big defender could not quite connect.
With Fisher seemingly on top and looking to extend their lead, disaster struck when the referee awarded a penalty after a collision between Nic Taylor and an opposition forward. Taylor stayed down and looked to have been hurt, but picked himself up to face the penalty. Taylor dived to his right, the ball was struck down the middle, but Taylor somehow managed to react mid-dive and block the ball with his outstretched legs. The rebound was put over the bar and the Fisher faithful celebrated a superb save as if it was a goal for Fisher!
The play was becoming more end to end now, and FC Elmstead almost did find the equaliser with a shot rifled narrowly over only moments after the penalty save. Then it was Fisher’s turn to come close again, with the almost unplayable Trey Small beating four men and going in one on one with the keeper, before being denied by a desperate block by the keeper’s feet.
Fisher were left ruing all those missed opportunities with around ten minutes remaining. An old fashioned scramble in the box led to the ball being poked home, just evading Taylor and the diving defender on the line. Despite having the lion’s share of the chances and playing some lovely attacking football, it was looking like a share of the points was all Fisher would take from the game.
However, Dean Harrison’s men didn’t let their heads go down and kept pushing for the winner. Just when it seemed as if time had run out, Ritchie Hamill took on his man on the left side. He went round him with ease, and was then taken down by the second defender. Now deep into the second minute of injury time, Hamill curled over the resulting free kick from the left wing, Flemming went up for the header at the near post and the ball nestled in the far bottom corner, sparking glee amongst the Fisher faithful behind the posts. Did the final touch come from Flemming’s shoulder, or was it the defender’s head? Who cares really, but we’re giving it to Dan!
Moments later, the referee blew the final whistle and the 24 travelling supporters celebrated an excellent win. Victory snatched from the jaws of what would have felt like a defeat!
Full-time: FC Elmstead 2-3 Fisher FC
Man of the match: there were no failures in an excellent Fisher performance, but the award has to go to Trey Small for an excellent display full of attacking verve. A special mention to Jamie Brown, who was a constant threat and got two of the Fisher goals.
FC Elmstead 2-3 Fisher
Wednesday 6 Sept 2017
Jamie Brown 4, 20
Dan Flemming 93
Tunde Aderonmu (2)