Cray Valley PM 3-0 Fisher FC
On a beautiful sunny Sunday, Fisher made the short trip to Cray Valley PM for the first round of the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy. A tough test was expected for the Fish, with the Millers sitting midtable in the SCEFL Premier Division and Dean Harrison having a number of injuries to key players to contend with. Geddis and Bullock came into the starting line-up, as did Qazzim Folawiyo for his full debut, having impressed from the bench last Saturday. There was also a welcome return for Luke Haidarovic, who took the captain’s armband.
The game was a typically cagey cup tie and took some time to get going. The first real chance for Fisher came in the 18th minute. Paolo Facchinetti made a strong run from midfield and worked the ball out to the right to Trey Small. Small was tackled and the ball went out for a Fisher throw. Toyo Adeshina took it long into the box, where it was headed clear. Facchinetti met it on the volley, but sent the ball into the fir trees behind the goal. Fisher’s best chance of the half came a minute later, Adeshina slipping past his man and into the box before laying it off for Trey Small, but the keeper blocked at Small’s feet.
Halfway through the half, Cray Valley had their first real chance with Nic Taylor pulling off a superb flying save to push a shot past the post. However, from the resulting corner, a free header was thumped past Taylor and into the net. 0-1.
On 28 minutes, Adeshina was punished for a trip just outside the left hand side of the box. He was shown the yellow card, and things nearly got worse for Fisher as the free kick was taken direct and only another diving save by Taylor prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net. Cray Valley did not take long to double their lead. On 33 minutes, another corner, this time from the other side, was met at the near post with a stooping header. Somehow the ball bounced and trickled through to nestle just inside the opposite post. 0-2.
With a couple of minutes to go before the break, Fisher tried to get back into it. Luke Haidarovic won a header, flicking it on to Jack Bullock on the edge of the box. He laid it off to the left flank to Folawiyo, who put in a dangerous curling cross to the back post but no-one was there to apply the finishing touch.
Half time: Cray Valley PM 2-0 Fisher FC. In truth, there had been little between the two sides for much of the half: only two set piece goals separated the sides, but it left Fisher FC with a mountain to climb in the second half – albeit they would be shooting down the slope at the Badgers Sports Ground!
The next goal was going to be crucial. Fisher had to find it if they were to drag themselves back into the tie. Unfortunately, after only two minutes of the half, it was Cray Valley who extended their lead. A long ball by the keeper was headed on and then tucked in at the near post. 0-3.
Although the tie was all but over, Fisher rallied and put in a much stronger second half performance. Their first opportunity of the half came 10 minutes in, when a low cross from Adeshina along the 18 yard line was met by Bullock, but his shot was blocked by a defender. The ball broke back to Adeshina on the right hand corner of the box but he curled his shot just past the keeper’s right hand post. On 19 minutes, Richie Hamill had his first chance of the game, hitting a great curling shot from a direct free kick. The ball was going in all the way until the keeper flung himself full stretch to tip the ball past the post.
On 24 minutes, Hamill nearly engineered the Fisher breakthrough again. He beat his man and burst through the midfield before slipping the ball through to the substitute Goring. He shot first time from just inside the box, hitting the ball over the advancing keeper but also just over the bar. As he did so, a crunching tackle came in from the Cray Valley number 3, who had been “robust” in his tackling throughout the game. The ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and brandishing the yellow card to the number 3, who reacted by offering the Fisher faithful outside after the game….! Hamill put the ball on the spot but the keeper pulled off a good save low to his left, which just seemed to sum up Fisher’s day.
Fisher kept pushing for what was likely only to be a consolation by this stage. After 37 minutes, Geddis had a header inside the six yard box from a corner but the ball flew over. A minute later, Trey Small dribbled into the box and shot low towards the bottom right hand corner of the goal but the keeper got down to stop the shot.
With five minutes remaining, Cray Valley PM nearly grabbed a fourth, with a free header from a corner being sent just wide. Fisher broke upfield and Goring found himself on the edge of the box with the ball at his feet. Rather than shoot, he slipped the ball to the right to Trey Small, but he was crowded out by the defence. The ball was only half cleared, and Haidarovic gathered before chipping into the box, but Cameron Stevenson, who had also come on off the bench, couldn’t quite reach the ball at full stretch.
The last few minutes of the game were end to end, with Cray Valley being next to threaten. A drive from the corner of the box was tipped wide by Nic Taylor, then Richie Hamill strode forward characteristically before shooting from 25 yards, but he was off balance and the shot went over. Fisher were to have one final chance. Stevenson rang onto a long pass down the left flank, but was pushed in the back by the Cray Valley full back as he went for the bouncing ball. Hamill took the free kick from the left side of the box. However, rather than cross as you would have expected a left footed player to do, He drove the free kick with the outside of his foot, sending it curving round the wall and into the near post, but once again the Cray Valley keeper was equal to it, getting down to tip the ball wide. Not long after, the ref blew the whistle to signal the end of the game.
Full time: Cray Valley PM 3-0 Fisher FC. While the result was obviously disappointing, Fisher kept plugging away all afternoon and were much improved in the second half. With a bit of luck, the scoreline could easily have been much closer. Let’s hope Lady Luck shines on the Fish next weekend as we travel to Sheppey United for the FA Vase!
Cray Valley PM 3-0 Fisher
Sunday 15 October 2017
Kent Reliance Senior Trophy 1st round
Cem Tumkaya 23
Kevin Lisbie 32, 48