Meridian VP 1-3 Fisher FC
Fisher made the short trip to Charlton to face Meridian VP on Saturday, and the only Christmas present Dean Harrison was looking for was an eighth straight win in the league. Nic Taylor missed out and was replaced by Daniel Carpanini, but otherwise Harrison was able to name a very familiar looking side.
Fisher’s first opening came after 5 minutes. A push on Pat Geddis in midfield was rightly penalized by the ref, and Richie Hamill floated a great free kick onto the head of Toyeeb Babatunde in space in the box. Unfortunately, the big hitman couldn’t get enough of a connection to divert the ball into the net. Three minutes later, a Trey Small run down the left hand side of the pitch was ended when the tricky winger was pulled back outside the box. Hamill’s free kick this time was driven low into the box but was cleared by the Meridian defence.
Trey Small threatened again on 12 minutes, with a driving run followed by a powerful shot which was tipped over the bar by the Meridian keeper. The resulting corner went straight into the side netting. Only two minutes later, however, Fisher did open the scoring. A goal kick was taken short by the Meridian keeper, but the defender miscued horribly and Mathieu Ramsamy gathered, ran into the box and finished easily to the top left hand side of the net. Clinical finishing once more from Ramsamy, who continues his incredible record of having scored in every Fisher match he has started (10 goals in 8 games now!) 1-0, Ramsamy, 14 mins
Richie Hamill’s set pieces were a constant threat to the Meridian defence, and Fisher twice came close to doubling their lead as a result. On 18 minutes, Dan Flemming connected with a Hamill free kick from the left side, and his flying volley went narrowly over. Then on 23 minutes, the Meridian keeper dived low to his left to push away the free kick, and Dwayne Agyemang hit the outside of the post from the rebound.
Just a minute later, Fisher did make it two. Ramsamy picked the ball up on the right wing and played it into Toyeeb Babatunde’s feet on the edge of the box. Fisher’s number 9 took one touch, turned and shot low and hard into the bottom left hand corner. The keeper got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out. 2-0, Babatunde, 24 mins
After 28 minutes, Meridian had a very weak shout for a penalty when a cross from the right hand side of the box was blocked by Agyemang. There was no question of the ball having hit the Fisher defender’s hand, and it was cleared long up the pitch. Babatunde tried to get on the end of it, but the keeper cleared.
On 32 minutes, Meridian did manage their first shot on goal, but it was a weak volley from the edge of the box and Carpanini gathered with ease. Six minutes before the break, Ramsamy threatened again with his volley forcing a fine save from the Meridian keeper. The last chance of the half fell to Meridian, with pinball in the Fisher box ending up with a Meridian attacker hooking the ball from the byline over Carpanini and across the face of goal, but there were no takers and Fisher scrambled the ball away.
Half time: Meridian 0-2 Fisher. A comfortable half time lead for the Fish, who would surely be looking to boost their goal difference in the second half.
It has to be said that the second half was a largely turgid affair. Fisher’s lead never looked to be in any doubt, but nor did they create as many chances as they have been accustomed to during the fantastic recent run of form. The first real action of the half came 13 minutes into the half. A Ramsamy run down the right was halted when he was tripped just inside the box. The linesman flagged for a penalty, and Hamill smashed home. 3-0, Hamill, 58 mins
Immediately after the goal, Jamie Brown came on for Pat Geddis. On 62 minutes, Trey Small wriggled into the box after Ramsamy managed to thread the ball through to him, but the Meridian keeper caught his shot at his near post. The Meridian number 9 then had a shot from the edge of the Fisher box, but Carpanini caught the ball under no pressure.
Halfway through the half, Dean Harrison made a double change, bring Lee Friend on for his debut and Connor Westney for his first appearance since his injury on his debut against Corinthian Casuals Reserves in the cup. Babatunde and Ramsamy made way. Just two minutes later, Westney was in the wars again! A clash of heads with a Meridian defender resulted in a free kick being given to Fisher. Hamill floated it across but Luke Haidarovic’s header landed in the hands of the grateful Meridian keeper.
After 74 minutes, Ash Wright had to be alert to head a cross over his own bar. Toyo Adeshina cleared the corner at the near post, and a Meridian player tried his luck from distance but blazed the ball miles high and wide. Two minutes later, Richie Hamill won a free kick down by the corner flag on the left hand side. He sent over a great ball which was met by Jamie Brown at the near post but his header went narrowly wide.
With 9 minutes remaining, Meridian pulled one back. A defensive mix up saw the Meridian number five clean through, and he finished well. 3-1, 81 mins
For the remainder of the match, Fisher pushed hard for a fourth. A long ball into the channel found Lee Friend who was tackled, but Jamie Brown ran onto the loose ball and shot low but straight at the keeper. With five minutes left on the clock, a lovely ball by Trey Small out to the right wing was crossed by Brown and Friend slid in at the back post but could only divert the ball wide of the goal. Small then flicked the ball over the head of a defender, gathered the ball again and played in Brown but his shot was kept out by the Meridian keeper at full stretch.
In the final minute, Fisher had two more great chances. First Westney nearly scored a great solo goal, picking up on the left touchline after tackling the right back, cutting infield and beating several men, weaving his way along the 18 yard line and then shooting from the edge of the box but his shot was tipped wide. A scramble from the resulting corner was then nearly hooked in by Dan Flemming who was up from the back, but somehow Meridian scrambled clear and the final whistle followed shortly thereafter.
Full time: Meridian 1-3 Fisher. If the players and staff were perhaps a little disappointed at failing to keep another clean sheet, they were certainly delighted at making it eight straight wins in the league. The three points were never really in any doubt, and the run just keeps going!
Man of the match: a tougher one than usual this week – for one, nobody scored a hat-trick for a change! Mathieu Ramsamy scored yet again, continuing his superb record, Ritchie Hamill pulled the strings in midfield as usual and was a big threat from set pieces including getting the third goal from the spot, but this week’s award goes to Trey Small. Even if he didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet this week, he worked hard throughout the game and was still battling for balls and looking to extend Fisher’s lead right up until the last minute.
Meridian VP 1-3 Fisher
Saturday 30 December 2017
SCEFL First Division
Mathieu Ramsamy 14
Toyeeb Babatunde 24
Ritchie Hamill 58 (p)
Stanley Ugwoke 87
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Photo courtesy of David Anderson, Fisher’s unofficial match photgrapher.
See all his Fisher matchday photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brockleylion/