Fisher FC 3-0 Phoenix Sports Reserves
Fisher looked to bounce back from Saturday’s cup disappointment with a swift return to league action against Phoenix Sports Reserves on Tuesday night. Toyeeb Babatunde dropped to the bench and Trey Small came into the starting lineup, while gaffer Dean Harrison rang the changes in the back with only Harvey Brinkley retaining his place in the back four: Jack Rogers, Pat Geddis and George Ede all came in.
Phoenix forced a corner in the first minute after Brinkley was forced to head behind, but Fisher managed to clear and went straight up the pitch on the attack. Sam Pekun’s pace, which caused problems for the Phoenix defence all night, took him away from the right back but his dangerous cross didn’t find a taker in the box.
Jamie Brown, man of the match on Saturday, continued his fine form with a great display against Phoenix. On 7 minutes, he burst down the right wing and was unceremoniously bundled over. Richie Hamill puts across the free kick which was met by the head of Luke Haidarovic who sent it back across the face of goal, but Phoenix cleared. Three minutes later, it was Trey Small who won a free kick on the other wing. Again it was swung in and the keeper came for the ball but fumbled under little pressure. Luke Haidarovic’s follow up header was cleared off the line, but the ref blew for a very soft-looking foul on the keeper.
Phoenix had looked strong and dangerous in the early part of the game, and on 11 minutes sent a curling shot from range towards the Fisher goal, but Nic Taylor watched it safely wide. Fisher returned to the attack, and Jamie Brown found himself in space on the right wing. His cross to the back post for the waiting Pekun was diverted behind for a Fisher corner by a desperate lunging block by a Phoenix defender. From the corner, a Trey Small snapshot into the turf sat up nicely for the keeper to claim.
On 17 minutes, Fisher had a real scare as the new-look defence missed successive chances to clear and allowed the Phoenix attacker to shoot from an incredibly narrow angle almost on the byline. Nic Taylor looked to have his goals covered, and the ball hit the outside of the post and went behind for a goal kick. From here on in Fisher took control of the game, even if they weren’t playing with quite the same attacking fluency they have had for much of the season.
On 20 minutes, captain Harry Draper was knocked to the ground and Richie Hamill lined up for one of his trademark free-kicks. He got the ball up and over the wall, but it lacked the power to beat the keeper who caught comfortably. Watch it again here: https://twitter.com/FisherFC/status/955895151561465856
Two minutes later, Sam Pekun had a real chance to open his goal-scoring account for Fisher. Trey Small won a header, flicking it on for Pekun who ran on to the bouncing ball and hit a fizzing, dipping volley just wide of the keeper’s right hand post. On 24 minutes, Pekun again threatened when Jack Rogers found him on the edge of the box. He turned his man and shot, but the defender got enough of a touch on it to take the sting out of the shot, and the keeper collected.
Halfway through the half, Jamie Brown won another corner for Fisher. Luke Haidarovic won the header at the near post. It looked to have gone behind for a goal kick, but the ref gave a corner and the Fisher players appealed for handball! See what you think here (who needs VAR): https://twitter.com/FisherFC/status/955896910350553088
By now, it was all Fisher. Several more corners were forced, before Fisher finally made the breakthrough on 33 minutes. Jamie Brown popped up on the left wing this time, and danced around several men before cutting the ball back from close range to the onrushing Harry Draper. Draper slid in together with the defender, and the ball looped into the net. 1-0, Harry Draper, 33 mins
Draper was in the thick of the action just three minutes later. The Fisher rearguard stood firm, blocking several shots with combined efforts, before a Phoenix player went down in the box looking for a penalty, much to Draper’s ire. Draper and the Phoenix player tangled, but the ref was on hand to calm them down and award the goal kick to Fisher. Fisher continued to press until the break, Hamill sending a shot just past the right hand post on 39 minutes, then successive crosses from Brown and Trey Small (after a lovely bit of skill to leave his man standing) were blocked for corners to Fisher. Neither came to anything, and the sides went in at the break with Fisher holding a one goal lead.
Half-time: Fisher 1-0 Phoenix Sports Reserves. Fisher were well on top by the break, and would looking to extend their lead in the second half. Phoenix were not completely out of the game, however, and the next goal would be important. Half-time stats, as always, from Fisher FC resident statistician Simon (@throssfilms)
In the first minute of the second half, Fisher nearly doubled their lead. A cross to the back post form Jamie Brown was headed back across the six yard box by Trey Small, and Sam Pekun met the ball but sent his header just wide. On 54 minutes, Phoenix had a chance from a header themselves, a deep cross from the left finding a man in space but he couldn’t get over the ball, sending it up into the air and Fisher cleared.
On the hour mark, Harry Draper sent a shot flying over the bar after good work by Trey Small down the left wing, then Phoenix immediately broke up the pitch and won a free kick 25 yards out after a hand ball. Nic Taylor made a great save away to his right to knock the shot away. Fisher broke up the pitch themselves, and Trey Small won a corner down the left. The ball was worked short to Hamill on the corner of the box, and he smashed a shot high into the side netting. Just for a moment, the Dockers End faithful thought it was in.
Just three minutes later, Fisher did manage to extend their lead. Jamie Brown did well to keep the ball in on the right side, then doubled back and crossed for Trey Small who chested the ball up for himself then hit it on the volley as the ball came back down. The keeper had no chance – a great goal. See it again here thanks to Fisher’s official matchday videographer, John (@John84Green)! 2-0, Trey Small, 64 mins https://twitter.com/John84Green/status/955923131025317891
If Fisher thought the game was over, they were wrong. Just a minute later, Phoenix were awarded a penalty after a pull in the box by Haidarovic. It looked soft, and justice was done when Nic Taylor got down to his left to hold a very weakly struck spot kick.
On 69 minutes, Fisher made their first change of the evening, replacing Draper with Mathieu Ramsamy. Fisher began to push hard for the killer third goal, Pekun flicking a low cross from Hamill into the hands of the keeper, Small then shooting straight at the keeper and good hold-up play from Pekun, and then Ramsamy sending a drive from the left hand edge of the box narrowly over.
With ten minutes left, Richie Hamill displayed a trademark drop of the shoulder which allowed him to ghost away from his man then shoot from the edge of the box. The keeper blocked his attempt, then just beat Small to the loose ball. Phoenix then had a great chance of their own, the number 11 finding space in the box and shooting hard from close range, but Taylor did superbly to tip over the bar. From the corner, Jack Rogers had to head off the line.
That was the end of the threat from Phoenix, and Fisher continued to press. Ramsamy hit a shot which the keeper could only gather at the second attempt, Hamill had a free kick punched clear then Ramsamy won yet another corner which came to nothing. Jack Bullock replaced Trey Small on 84 minutes, then Alfie Collins came on for Sam Pekun with two minutes left.
Right on 90 minutes, with the final action of the game, Fisher finally managed to make it three, and it was another cracker. A lovely one-two between Jamie Brown and Richie Hamill allowed Brown to hit the byline and cross along the six yard line. Ramsamy took a touch with one foot to control it, then passed it into the net with the other foot beyond the despairing lunge of the defender. Again, John managed to capture it. 3-0, Mathieu Ramsamy, 90 mins https://twitter.com/John84Green/status/955923691447226369
Full-time: Fisher 1-0 Phoenix Sports Reserves. In the end a comfortable win for Fisher, and a welcome return to winning form. The clean sheet was also very pleasing after shipping four goals on Saturday. However, it could have been a different story had Phoenix converted their penalty, and Fisher will be looking to build on this and start another winning run in the league at Crockenhill on Saturday. See you all there (don’t forget it’s a 2pm kick off!)
Man of the match: Sam Pekun was a thorn in the side of the Phoenix side, Trey Small was always dangerous and scored a lovely goal, and Nic Taylor had little to do but made two fantastic saves and also saved a penalty when he was called upon. An honourable mention, too, for the Fisher support – not one of them was sent off this time… (see Saturday’s match report if you missed the drama http://www.fisherfc.org/2018/01/22/match-report-fisher-3-4-fhp/ and listen again on Talksport2! http://www.fisherfc.org/2018/01/22/dockers-end-two-get-a-mention-on-talksport2/)
However, for the second time in four days, Jamie Brown takes the award. A hat-trick of assists, numerous dangerous crosses and excellent link-up play as always from the winger, and a deserved man of the match.
Full-time stats from Simon:
Fisher 3-0 Phoenix Sports Res
Tuesday 23 January 2018
SCEFL First Division
Harry Draper 33
Trey Small 61
Mathieu Ramsamy 90