Fisher FC 3-0 Sutton Athletic
After last week’s stirring derby victory at Stansfeld and midweek cup action at Lordswood, Fisher returned to a bitterly cold Fortress St Paul’s on Saturday, eager to continue their excellent recent form and make it 5 league wins on the bounce. Sutton Athletic were the visitors, and had already been on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat when Fisher visited Lower Road back in September.
SCEFL First Division Manager of the Month for November, Fisher’s very own Dean Harrison, was forced into deploying Luke Haidarovic at centre back, with both Dan Flemming and Dwayne Agyemang (who joined the Fisher faithful in the Dockers End to cheer on the boys!) having to miss out. Nathan Hunter also stepped back in to the other centre back spot, and there was a welcome return for midfield dynamo Harry Draper, back after suspension.
As has been customary in recent months, Fisher began the match like the proverbial steam train, hitting the attack right from the off. Just as they had done in their last homer league match against Lydd Town, Fisher opened the scoring in the very first minute. Richie Hamill slipped a lovely delicate sliderule pass into the box for Trey Small who ran round the full back to gather, cut inside the next defender and then coolly pass the ball past the keeper and into the net. A well worked goal and a lovely finish! 1-0, Trey Small, 1 min.
After an explosive start, the game then became very stop start as a number of players required treatment. First, Fisher’s Nathan Hunter went down after a collision and required several minutes of treatment before he was able to continue. Once play resumed, the same combination as for the first goal nearly led to a quickfire second for Fisher: this time it was Trey Small who repaid the favour and played Richie Hamill through, but Hamill’s fierce shot from the left hand side of the box was beaten away by the keeper. Moments later, a Trey Small cross from the left was headed out from under his own crossbar by a Sutton defender, with Jamie Brown looking to get on the end of it. The defender required treatment after his goalsaving challenge, but sadly was forced off and Sutton had to make their first substitution after just 13 minutes.
Just a minute later, a Sutton player went down near the dugouts, seeming to have fallen awkwardly with no other player near him. He was able to continue, again after receiving treatment from the busy Sutton physio. On 16 minutes, a cross from Jamie Brown on the right was met by Trey Small at the back post, who headed back across goal. The ball then broke back to Small who finished from close range, but he was penalized for a push when winning his initial header at the back post. The defender who had gone down required treatment from the physio, and he too was unable to continue, meaning that Sutton had to make their second change with just 21 minutes on the clock (and only about 10 minutes of actual play!).
As we approached the midway point of the half, a lovely back heel from Jamie Brown sent Toyo Adeshina off on the overlap down the right wing. His cross was blocked, and then Rob Brown’s follow-up cross was stabbed behind for a corner. Richie Hamill hit the corner to the near post, when Harry Draper had made an excellent run across the box. His flicked header looked to be falling just inside the far post, only for a defender to clear off the line. However, the defender only got the ball as far as the edge of the box, where Trey Small met it and thumped it back past the keeper and into the net! The Fisher players, fans and bench alike all began to celebrate, only for the linesman’s flag to go up on the far side. The shot had gone straight in without hitting any players on the way, so the offside decision seemed an odd one. The referee ran over to consult with his assistant, but over-ruled him and the goal stood! 2-0, Trey Small, 23 mins.
On 28 minutes, Sutton created their first chance. Nic Taylor came to gather a long diagonal cross into the box but fumbled it, and the ball fell kindly to the Sutton number 11. Fortunately for Fisher, he blazed his shot over. Minutes later, it was nearly three for Fisher. Jamie Brown squared to Toyeeb Babatunde inside the box, and the big hitman opened up his body to sidefoot home, but the ball went wide. Fisher were looking comfortable, but kept pushing for the killer third goal before the break. Rob Brown sent a header wide from a corner on 41 minutes, and the Sutton keeper had to punch clear another Fisher corner two minutes later. Sutton then had a half chance of their own a minute before the break, but Ash Wright did brilliantly to block a snapshot with a desperate, diving lunge.
Right on 45 minutes, Trey Small had a shot blocked on the edge of the box as he looked for his hat-trick. Fisher regathered possession and seconds later the ball was played through to Small again, this time just inside the box. He held off his man and tucked a lovely finish just inside the left hand post for a stunning first half hat-trick! 3-0, Trey Small, 45 mins.
Half-time: Fisher FC 3-0 Sutton Athletic. Fisher went into the break well on top, having limited Sutton to only a couple of chances despite the new-look defence, and always looking threatening on the attack. Half-time stats courtesy of Simon Throssell (@throssfilms):
Despite looking to be up against it, Sutton Athletic tried to get back into the game early in the second half. On 49 minutes, they were awarded a free kick out on the left hand touchline and Nic Taylor had to look lively to claw the ball away after it eluded everyone in the box, but the flag had gone up for offside. In the 53rd minute, successive shots from range were blocked on the edge of the box by Ash Wright and then by Luke Haidarovic. The ball broke for Sutton to have a third attempt, but this one flew well over. Toyeeb Babatunde then tried twice in two minutes to extend Fisher’s lead. First, he turned his man and shot from range, but it was straight at the keeper who was able to gather easily. Then he found himself in space on the edge of the box and hit a powerful, rising shot which cleared the crossbar.
On 57 minutes, Sutton were awarded a free kick 25 yards out to the left of goal. The initial shot was blocked by the wall, but the ball came back to the free-kick taker who shot again and this time Nic Taylor had to get down to turn the ball round his right hand post. Rob Brown and Toyo Adeshina combined to clear the resulting corner. Right on the hour mark, Fisher nearly increased their lead. Trey Small robbed his man and then played a through ball for Babatunde to run on to. The Fisher number 9 got to the ball before the onrushing keeper and took it round him, but was forced to the byline. He cut the ball back across goal but there were no takers.
Dean Harrison made his first change on 61 minutes, with Nathan Hunter still feeling the effects of the collision that had led to him requiring treatment in the first few minutes of the match. Hunter made way for George Ede who came on to make his home debut for Fisher, after starting in midweek at Lordswood. The game entered a fairly uneventful period, with neither team looking like troubling the scorers. Harrison made a second change on 68 minutes, taking off Toyeeb Babatunde for Dan Bowden who made a welcome return to action at St Paul’s after a long period out with injury.
Trey Small continued to be a thorn in Sutton’s side, and he was involved in several more chances for Fisher as the game entered its final quarter. On 71 minutes, his pace took him away from his man on the left wing before passing infield to Hamill, who shot from outside the box but saw his shot beaten away by the keeper. Three minutes later, great play from Rob Brown in midfield saw him beat two men, flick the ball over a third and then play in Small on the left hand side of the box, but Small’s volley of the bouncing ball went over. Small then tried to turn provider, sending a cross flashing across goal but somehow between all three of the waiting Fisher players in the box.
On 77 minutes, Fisher made their final change, Alfie Collins replacing Jamie Brown. Nic Taylor then made a great stop to turn away a dipping shot from the Sutton number 11, before Fisher broke up the pitch and a curling Hamill cross was headed wide by Bowden. With a couple of minutes remaining, Toyo Adeshina was shown the only yellow card of the match after a foul in the centre circle. The free kick was sent long into the box, but Nic Taylor came and gathered with ease. The final whistle was not long in following, the referee perhaps feeling the cold like the 79 hardly souls in the stands and choosing not to add time on!
Full time: Fisher FC 3-0 Sutton Athletic. Another very impressive win for Fisher who will be delighted with the clean sheet, another three goals and of course the all important three points. Dean Harrison will be particularly pleased: a representative from the league reliably informs us that he is the first manager this season to win the Manager of the Month award and not lose his next game!
Man of the match: an easy one this week – who else could take the honours but hat-trick hero Trey Small? His speed and tricky wing play has been a threat for Fisher all season, and he will be delighted to have added three excellent finishes to his tally for the season.
Full-time stats courtesy of Simon Throssell (@throssfilms):
Fisher 3-0 Sutton Athletic
Saturday 9 December 2017
SCEFL First Division
Trey Small 1, 23, 45