Phoenix Sports Reserves 1-1 Fisher FC
Fisher took to the field for the final time in season 2017-2018, already assured of a 3rd place finish in what has been an exciting and entertaining campaign. Luke Haidarovic captained the side from centre back, with starts for Jack Bullock in midfield and Alfie Collins up front. Unusually, Fisher named only three subs, Georges Ede and Phelps being joined by Ben Hayes.
Fisher were the first side to threaten, Richie Hamill curling a free kick narrowly over the bar from 25 yards out to the right of goal after Trey Small had been tripped. Two minutes later, Hamill had another chance to open the scoring. He started the move with a lovely cross-field ball to Mathieu Ramsamy on the left wing, who then hit the byline and put in a delicious curling cross. The home keeper and a defender both went for it without managing to make much contact, before a second defender headed to the edge of the box. Hamill had continued his run and hit a half volley just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.
The early part of the game took place almost entirely in the Phoenix half, with the home side venturing forward for the first time on 19 minutes. They won a throw-in on the left touchline down near the corner flag, and the throw was taken long into the box but drifted behind in the wind for a goal kick. On 21 minutes, the home side then had their best chance of the half. Nic Taylor came to the edge of his box after a long ball was played through, but the striker beat him to it and hooked the ball up and over the Fisher keeper. Taylor rushed back towards his goal-line as the ball came down, but Pat Geddis beat him to it and headed off the line for a corner. Fisher managed to scramble clear the resulting set piece.
With 20 minutes remaining in the half, Fisher should have taken the lead. A home defender misjudged a long ball from Hamill and Ramsamy capitalized on the error, bearing down on goal and shooting from just inside the box, but the keeper managed to block his shot, and then got up to save Trey Small’s follow-up from the edge of the box. Fisher continued to press for the opener, and Alfie Collins stabbed a shot wide of the left hand post after Hamill had dribbled along the byline and then cut the ball back to Collins via a deflection.
Collins had another shot after 33 minutes, this time a snapshot from the edge of the box which was held by the keeper after good work by Trey Small to rob the Phoenix left back. Phoenix broke up the park immediately and forced a corner which was half cleared, before their number 5 had a shot and then a header blocked. Fisher finally completed the clearance.
On 39 minutes, Jack Bullock was brought down 25 yards out to the left of goal. Hamill curled the ball into the box this time, and Bullock himself met the cross with a looping header which the home keeper held under his crossbar. As Phoenix broke up the pitch, they won a free kick in front of the dugouts which aggrieved the Fisher bench. Gaffer Dean Harrison was sent to the stand… sorry, asked to stand behind the railing… for his protestations.
Half-time: Phoenix Sports Reserves 0-0 Fisher FC. A typical end of season affair with little at stake apart from pride, but Fisher will still have been disappointed not to have been in front at the break.
Fisher came back out for the second half determined to break the deadlock, and it didn’t take them long to do so. With 51 minutes on the clock, Jack Rogers won a throw-in on the left touchline level with the 18 yard box. He took it short to Jack Bullock, who knocked it first time towards the byline for Mathieu Ramsamy. The little winger’s low cutback was met on the volley by Trey Small, who steered it into the bottom right hand corner, giving the keeper no chance. A lovely little move and a very tidy finish. 1-0, Trey Small, 51 mins
The away side had a good chance to double their lead a minute later, Jack Bullock intercepting a loose pass in midfield and driving forward before laying off to Alfie Collins on the edge of the box. Collins got round the first man, but was then crowded out. However, disaster struck on 59 minutes when Luke Haidarovic was adjudged to have tripped his man just inside the box. A penalty was awarded, and expertly converted into the bottom right hand corner with Nic Taylor going the other way. 1-1, Flynn (pen), 59 mins
Fisher got back on the front foot right away and after Hamill sprayed the ball out left, Ramsamy’s delicious curling cross was headed behind. Hamill took the corner short, received the return pass and curled a shot just wide of the keeper’s right hand post. On 64 minutes, Phoenix played a free kick long into the box which was headed out firmly by Geddis. The ball was returned into the box, but Nic Taylor claimed it unopposed then launched a superb diagonal ball down the left channel for Ramsamy. Just as he had done for the opening goal, Ramsamy hit the byline and cut the ball back, but this time Collins side-footed wide.
Ramsamy was a thorn in Phoenix’s side throughout the game, and on 69 minutes another diagonal ball from Hamill found the mercurial winger. He took one touch then drove a shot across the keeper but narrowly past the far post.
The final 20 minutes were largely scrappy, the wind picking up and sending gusts of sand across the pitch. George Ede came on for Collins on 71 minutes, with Haidarovic going up front and Ede slotting in at centre back. On 80 minutes, Phoenix broke down the right and a low cross across the face of goal evaded everyone on both sides. Ben Hayes replaced Jack Bullock a minute later and went straight up front, then on 85 minutes Haidarovic shaped to shoot from outside the box before slipping it through for Ramsamy, but his shot could only find the side netting.
Time was slipping away, but just enough remained for a final chance for each side. First Calum Crawley upended his man 25 yards from goal, but the free kick was curled over by the Phoenix number 3. Then Ramsamy fed Hamill who flicked the ball into the box for Hayes, but the ball was nicked away from him as he tried to get a shot off. Jack Rogers took the resulting throw long into the box, and the keeper spilled it but managed to collect at the second attempt.
Full-time: Phoenix Sports Reserves 1-1 Fisher FC. Disappointing not to end the season on a high with a victory, but with third place already assured and no chance of catching the top two, the game counted for very little and will not live long in the memory. Typical end of season fare!
Man of the match: this week’s award goes to Dean, Neil, Richard, Jason, Harry, Donna and all the players who have turned out in the Fisher FC colours this season. It’s been a monumental effort from a very young side playing the best football in the league. Sadly, it wasn’t quite enough to guarantee promotion, but we’ll be back to give it a right good go next season!
Match report editor’s end of season awards – as I was unfortunately unable to attend the SC Thamesmead match on Saturday and the club awards night which followed, I thought I would use my final report of the season to give out some awards of my own:
1) Player of the season: plenty of contenders, and those who won the awards on Saturday were richly deserving, but my player of the season goes to Mathieu Ramsamy. A livewire up and down both wings, a creative spark able to beat his man with ease, and a deadly finisher. A fantastic haul of goals and assists, and one we all want to see in the Fisher FC colours next season!
2) Young player of the year: again, plenty of contenders – most of the team seems to be young enough to qualify. However, my award goes to Pat Geddis, who took his time to break into the team but has made the right back spot his own over the course of the season. Strong, committed and calm under pressure, he has also filled in well in several other positions, and has continued to develop and improve his game with every passing week.
3) Comedy moment (and yellow card) of the year: not a hard decision, this one. Gravesham Borough away and Nic Taylor’s booking for simulation some 40 yards from his own goal, with the ball out of play…
Phoenix Sports Res 1-1 Fisher
Tuesday 24 April 2018
SCEFL FIrst Division
Trey Small 51
Callum Flynn 59(p)