Holmesdale 1-0 Fisher FC
Fisher travelled to Bromley on Saturday, looking to make it a magic ten league wins in a row. Dean Harrison made a couple of enforced changes to the team that performed so well at home to Erith & Belvedere last weekend, Dwayne Agyemang and Toyeeb Babatunde both missing out due to injury and being replaced by Nathan Hunter and Lee Friend respectively, Friend making his first start for the Fish. New signing Sam Pekun found a place on the bench. The pitch was soft and heavy, and everything pointed towards a war of attrition for 90 minutes.
Fisher started the better of the two teams, and the first real chance of the game came when a long searching ball by Ritchie Hamill found Trey Small in a dangerous position on the left wing after 10 minutes. Small advanced towards goal, but was crowded out by two defenders and settled for a corner. Fisher tried to take a short corner, but Holmesdale intercepted. They didn’t manage to clear the ball far, however, and Harry Draper gathered in midfield then sent a shot arrowing from the left side of the goal towards the top right hand corner. Sadly for Fisher and for the team captain, the ball thumped the crossbar and bounced to safety. Again, Holmesdale failed to clear properly, and Richie Hamill was upended when he picked up the loose ball just outside the box. The midfield maestro took the free kick himself, but it was blocked by the wall and ran behind for another Fisher corner. This time, the home keeper, who was to play a key role throughout the match, punched clear. In what was a frantic four minute period, Holmesdale then advanced up the pitch and won a free kick of their own at the corner of the Fisher box. Again the wall came to the rescue, and Hamill completed the clearance.
On 15 minutes, Hamill again tried to engineer the opening for Fisher, feeding Small whose shot from the left was blocked behind for another Fisher corner, but the home keeper came and caught the ball cleanly. Moments later, Fisher regained possession, Trey Small attempted another cross from the left wing and again it was deflected behind for a corner. In perhaps the only slight mistake in an otherwise flawless performance, Holmesdale keeper Adam Highsted came for the ball but fumbled it, and it was bundled behind for yet another corner. Trey Small took the set piece once more, and his cross was headed out only as far as Rob Brown who took a touch to create space for the shot, then hit the ball just past the keeper’s right hand post.
Fisher’s next chance came on 19 minutes when Lee Friend took a snapshot from the edge of the box, and Highsted got down smartly to save at his right hand post. Thereafter, the game entered a scrappy period, with both sides finding it hard to get the ball down and under control on an increasingly bumpy pitch. Harrison switched Mathieu Ramsamy and Trey Small to try to liven things up and get the dynamic Frenchman more into the game. On 37 minutes, the switch nearly paid off, Ramsamy cutting inside his man on the left flank then shooting, but his shot was straight at the keeper. A minute later, Nic Taylor in the Fisher goal sent a long ball up the pitch, and Lee Friend did brilliantly to chase the ball down into the left hand corner, beat the defender to the ball and then win a corner. Friend met the corner himself, but his header did not have the power to beat the inspired Highsted, who gathered.
As the game neared the break, Fisher were still the more dangerous looking of the two teams, even if clearcut chances had been few and far between. On 44 minutes, Trey Small hit the byline and cut the ball back, but the keeper claimed it at his near post. Then right on 45 minutes, a deep cross from Ash Wright nearly found the head of Small in the box, but again Highsted beat him to it.
Half time: Holmesdale 0-0 Fisher FC. It had been a real battle, with Fisher acquitting themselves well but unable to beat Highsted and find the opener. The game seemed, even at this stage, likely to be settled by a single goal, and the Fisher faithful behind the goal were hopeful that their team could continue their excellent winning streak in the second half.
Fisher redoubled their efforts in the second half, pushing hard to get the opening goal. 5 minutes into the half, they won yet another corner. Dan Flemming got on the end of it, but couldn’t get over the ball, heading it up into the air. Holmesdale completed the clearance. Three minutes later, a bad foul on the left wing on Lee Friend was penalized with a yellow card. Hamill curled the free kick into the box but once more Highsted came out to gather. A minute later, Ramsamy burst through from the midfield and was chopped down outside the box. Another free kick, another yellow card, but Hamill’s attempt went over.
Ramsamy was getting more into the game, picking up on the left hand side of the box where he was immediately surrounded by defenders. A lovely back heel took them all out of the game, finding Dan Flemming inside the box. The big centre back laid the ball off to Hamill, but his cross was blocked. A minute later, Ramsamy again got the ball on the left wing, this time winning another corner for Fisher. The ball was headed out to the waiting Hamill on the edge of the box. Just as he shaped to shoot, Lee Friend took the ball away from the midfielder and shot himself, but the ball flew over.
15 minutes into the half, Holmesdale threatened for the first time. Dan Flemming had to look lively to clear a cross from the left, being forced to knock it behind for a corner. The Holmesdale attacker won the header from the corner, but sent his effort well wide.
Five minutes later, the deadlock was finally broken and in the cruellest of ways. A low cross form the left wing was turned into his own net form close range by Dan Flemming. 0-1, Flemming o.g. 65 mins
Dean Harrison immediately rang the changes, replacing Ramsamy with Jamie Brown, and Friend with debutant Sam Pekun. A few minutes later, Ash Wright, who seemed to be carrying a knock, was replaced by Jack Rogers, who himself had had to be taken off injured at this very ground earlier in the season against FC Elmsted.
With 20 minutes left, a throw on the left from Rogers found Pekun in the box. The little forward held the ball up then laid it off to Harry Draper, whose dinked cross was gathered by the keeper who nipped in in front of Jamie Brown. Four minutes, Rob Brown picked on the edge of his own box and set off on a surging run. He reached the opposition box, before a misunderstanding with Small saw Brown lay the ball off outside while Small made a run inside the defender.
For the final quarter of an hour, Fisher laid siege to the Holmesdale goal. A long pass to Small allowed the winger to cut inside and find Sam Pekun, but the little livewire’s shot was tipped round the post by Highsted. Fisher then missed the best chance of the whole game, Pekun running in along the byline and cutting back to Small inside the six yard box, but he somehow sent the ball over with the goal gaping. With that miss, the Fisher faithful sensed that it just wasn’t to be their day.
Jamie Brown did well to win another corner with five minutes left, but it was headed out. Nathan Hunter was next to threaten, playing a one two and then electing to shoot rather than play the ball into the box, but sadly his shot went over. Right on 90 minutes, some great link up play between Pekun and Jamie Brown saw the latter’s shot tipped superbly over the bar by Highsted. The corner was scrambled away for yet another corner, but it came to nothing and the ref called an end to proceedings.
Full time: Holmesdale 1-0 Fisher FC. A result which was harsh on Fisher, Holmesdale scoring with one of their only real opportunities, and in the most unfortunate of ways. Fisher worked hard in very tough conditions, and on another day – and with another opposition goalkeeper – would probably have managed to grind out the victory. However, all good runs come to an end and Fisher just to have shake themselves down, admit that it was one of those days, and start a fresh winning run on Wednesday night at Forest Hill Park. See you all there!
Man of the match: it is unusual for your editor to give the man of the match award to anyone other than a Fisher player, but the clearly deserved recipient of the award is the Holmesdale keeper, Adam Highsted. An inspired performance from the on-loan stopper, who defied Fisher repeatedly and claimed almost every cross cleanly.
Holmesdale FC 1-0 Fisher
Saturday 13 January 2018
SCEFL First Division
Dan Flemming (og) 65