Fisher FC 2-0 FC Elmstead
After a full month without a home game, Fisher finally returned to St Paul’s on Saturday to face FC Elmstead. There were home debuts for Kiemon Robinson and Calum Crawley, with young George Ede partnering Mudiaga Wanogho at the back. Rob Brown took the captain’s armband, and Dean Harrison was able to name a very strong looking bench with first team regulars Hamill, Agyemang and Small named alongside Geddis and Collins.
A healthy crowd of 123 (yet again, one of the top 10 crowds at Step 6 across England) took advantage of the international break to back Bermondsey and Rotherhithe’s finest, with season ticket holders from Millwall, Dulwich Hamlet, Huddersfield Town, Reading, Fulham, Leyton Orient and Cambridge United all in attendance. They were to witness a cagey and competitive first half which was not short on effort but saw the final ball from both teams lacking the quality to break down two resolute defences.
The first real chance of the half came on 6 minutes, when FC Elmstead won a free kick for a foul right on the edge of the D. However, the shot was straight into the arms of Nic Taylor who made light work of it. Fisher broke straight up the pitch and the new face in the number 9 jersey, Keimon Robinson, turned his man and won a foul midway inside the Elmstead half. Rob Brown curled the free kick into the box but it was headed clear.
Captain Brown was driving his team forward and after some nice footwork in the middle of the park he slipped the ball to Robinson who was tackled on the edge of the box just as he was about to pull the trigger. A minute later, a ball over the top into the Elmstead area was chased down by Robinson. The visiting keeper came out and the two collided, but the loose ball was scrambled clear. The keeper required some treatment but was able to resume.
On 20 minutes, Robinson pounced on a loose ball 30 yards out, took a couple of strides forward and shot but it was straight at the Elmstead keeper. Elmstead then enjoyed a trio of dangerous attacks down the left. The first saw a cross into the box headed up into the air, and Nic Taylor did well to gather under pressure. A minute later, the ball was cut back from the byline but met by Wanogho who headed clear and Ede completed the clearance. Elmstead tried a third time to get down the left wing but this time George Ede did well to close down his man and block the cross.
It was then Fisher’s turn to spurn a trio of chances. On 25 minutes, Crawley drove into the box and crossed across the face of goal. Jamie Brown met the cross on the volley at the back post and put it back across goal, but Robinson couldn’t get the ball under control and Elmstead cleared. A minute later, Robinson did well in the box and squeezed off a cross, but again there were no takers and again Jamie Brown picked up at the back post. He tried to find Ramsamy in the box but the ball was intercepted. The third chance came when Wanogho cleaned up a loose ball at the back and chipped forward to Ramsamy in space. The little winger controlled deftly, turned and drove towards the heart of the Elmstead defence, but his shot went well wide.
Ramsamy’s trickery won Fisher a first corner on the half hour mark, but after a short corner Ramsamy’s cross into the box was taken by the keeper. Elmstead broke straight up the pitch and a snapshot from the left corner of the box went into the side-netting, with Taylor looking to have it covered.
After 37 minutes, there was an amusing scene for spectators in the stand. Wanogho was strong and resolute in the tackle, winning a 50-50 and then sliding in to win the second ball on the stand-side touchline. The Elmstead player was quick to get out the way of the sliding centre back, and when one of his own players suggested he might have competed for the ball, he complained that Wanogho “was coming in like a madman!”
Fisher then squandered their best chance of the half. Jamie Brown’s cross from the right was plucked out of the air by Robinson who had his back to goal. He spun his man and then shot from the centre of the goal, but the ball ran wide with the keeper stationary.
With five minutes left before the break, the action was showing no signs of slowing down. An Elmstead cross from their left wing led to a stramash in the box and shouts for handball from the visitors, but the ref wasn’t interested. Moments later, Moffat was robbed midway inside the Fisher half and Elmstead had a three on three. The ball was worked to the left but the number 12 shot high and wide from the left hand corner of the box. Just before the half-time whistle, Fisher had a big shout for a penalty of their own. Robinson capitalized on some slack defending and bore down on goal. He was then flattened by a burly centre back when about to shoot, but the ref waved away the claims from the home team.
Half time: Fisher FC 0-0 FC Elmstead. An evenly balanced first half with both teams enjoying possession in their opponents’ final third, but neither producing the little bit of quality needed to break the deadlock.
Half time match stats courtesy of @throssfilms:
Fisher started the second half the way they meant to continue: in the first minute of the half, Robinson ran on to a bouncing ball and tried to lob the keeper from range, but the ball floated over the ball and landed on the roof of the net. Jamie Brown was next to threaten, turning inside his man on the right wing and trying to curl the ball into the top corner, but just not being able to wrap his foot around the ball quite enough.
The two sides then exchanged corners which came to nothing, before Fisher finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark. Ramsamy ran on to a sliderule pass into the box, then ran across his man and was brought down right on the byline. The ref was well positioned and pointed straight to the spot. Captain Rob Brown stepped up and coolly sent the keeper the wrong way in front of the Dockers End support – 1-0 (Rob Brown, pen, 60 mins) – see it again here: https://twitter.com/FisherFC/status/977580926388592640
As he often does, Dean Harrison made his first change shortly after the Fisher goal, Pat Geddis coming on for Harvey Brinkley. A minute later, Jamie Brown hit the byline and crossed for Robinson, who was free on the penalty spot, but the keeper held his header. On 65 minutes, a beautiful through ball from George Ede then released Ramsamy, who twisted and turned inside the box but saw his shot blocked on the six yard line.
Elmstead then missed a real chance to get back into the game. An inviting cross to the back post found a man in space but, under pressure from Jack Rogers, he seemed to misjudge the flight of the ball which struck the player rather than the player striking it. Nic Taylor gratefully grabbed the loose ball.
Fisher kept pushing to extend their advantage, and when Rob Brown’s shot was blocked on the edge of the box the captain reacted quickest to reach the ball, play a delicate one-two with Robinson and then create space for a second shot, but again it was blocked. A minute later, the Elmstead keeper blocked a snapshot from Robinson with his legs. Fisher then made a second change, Richie Hamill replacing Tim Moffat in the middle of the park.
Fisher’s midfield maestro didn’t take long to make an impact: on 75 minutes, his delicate chip over the top found Robinson on the right, who rounded his man, drove into the box and shot towards the top corner. The Elmstead keeper could only parry the fierce shot upwards, and the dropping ball spun towards the goal, but the keeper recovered to grab it on the line. Fisher then made their final change of the match, Ramsamy being replaced by Trey Small.
On 79 minutes, Rob Brown set off on a mazy run, hurdling two crude attempts to bring him down then slipping in Robinson, but the young number 9 elected to shoot low rather than high this time, and the keeper dived at his feet to block. Elmstead then enjoyed an extended period of possession without threatening the Fisher goal. With two minutes remaining, the home team came close to finishing off the visitors. Jamie Brown drove towards goal, then squared for Rob Brown who lunged at full stretch and poked the ball towards the bottom left hand corner, but the keeper got down to save.
The last few minutes saw a whole series of chances for Fisher: Hamill shot from outside the box but the Elmstead keeper was equal to it; Rob Brown flicked the ball over a defender to find Jamie Brown inside the box, but his shot from a narrow angle was stopped by the keeper; Trey Small shot from the left hand side of the box and the keeper could only push the ball along the six yard line but no Fisher players were following up; then Robinson shot from inside the box after good link-up play with Trey Small, but the keeper blocked with his legs once again.
Robinson was playing like a man possessed and was simply determined to score. He drove in from the left wing after turning his man once again, but shot earlier than he needed to and sent the ball wide. Finally, on 96 minutes, Fisher did make it two. Trey Small dribbled along the edge of the box and was tackled. The ball span up in the air, Small reacted quickest and stabbed the ball low into the bottom left hand corner: 2-0, Trey Small, 96 mins.
As usual, Fisher FC videographer @john84green captured the goal – watch it again here: https://www.facebook.com/100007108035188/videos/2063284040585177/
There was just time for Elmstead to miss an absolute sitter on 97 minutes, with a shot blazed over from only a few yards out, before the ref finally called an end to proceedings.
Full time: Fisher FC 2-0 FC Elmstead. A well-deserved victory for the home team: if the first half had been even, the second half was largely one way traffic and only the FC Elmstead keeper prevented a greater winning margin for the Fish. Another home clean sheet is always pleasing too. Now on to the Easter double header: Snodland Town away on Friday 30 March, followed by Crockenhill at St Paul’s on Monday 2 April. See you there!
Full time match stats from @throssfilms:
Man of the match: there were a number of contenders for the award – George Ede showed composure beyond his years at the back, Rob Brown led by example in the captain’s armband and Keimon Robinson was a livewire throughout the match and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. However, the award – as selected by our matchday sponsors – goes to Mudiaga “madman” Wanogho who was an immovable force of nature at the heart of the Fisher backline!