AFC Croydon 1-2 Fisher FC
Fisher made the short trip to the Mayfield Stadium to face AFC Croydon on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. With Flemming and Pekun suspended after their red cards against Erith Town, Geddis still suspended after his red against Chatham, and Rob Brown suspended as a result of accumulating too many yellow cards, it was a depleted Fisher eleven which took to the pitch before another healthy away following of 31. Meanwhile, after suspending former Fish favourite Nic Taylor, AFC Croydon lined up with another former Fish number 1, Dan Carpanini, in goals.
The Fish started the game brightly, looking to get crosses into the box to trouble Carpanini in the Croydon goals. Mott and Tobin both had headers wide after good Hamill deliveries within the first 15 minutes, and Small and Kasai were causing problems for the home defence down both wings.
With 18 minutes on the clock, Campbell-Palmer was fouled in a dangerous area, and got his head to the resulting Hamill free kick, but a fantastic save from Carpanini kept the scores level. Trey Small was next to threaten for the Fish, heading just over the bar on 32 minutes.
However, despite the early pressure, the home side were coming into the game more and more, and causing problems of their own for the Fish down both flanks. Sloppy defending down the Fisher right allowed a cross to come in, and with the defence posted missing Croydon sent a free header from the six yard line back the way it had come and into the corner of the net. 0-1, Koroma, 36 mins
Fisher didn’t heed the warning, and a swift Croydon counter-attacking move very nearly led to a second. A brilliant Dan Wheeler save clawed the ball away but Fisher couldn’t clear the rebound and the ball pinballed around the box with several home players lining up to try to force the ball home. Somehow it stayed out, and Fisher kept their heads to go in at the break just the one goal down.
Half-time: AFC Croydon 1-0 Fisher FC. For all the early pressure, if truth be told, Fisher had been far from their best. AFC Croydon had become more and more dangerous as the half progressed, and it would take a big turnaround in the second half for the Fish to get back on top.
The men in orange came out for the second half looking fired up and ready to atone for their first half performance. After only 49 minutes, Trey Small thundered a shot towards goal from the edge of the box, only to see Carpanini somehow twist in midair to tip the ball over the bar.
It was all Fisher in the opening stages of the half, and it didn’t take long for the equaliser to come. With 60 minutes on the clock, the Fish were awarded a free kick in prime Richie Hamill territory. The midfield maestro did what he did best and stepped up to stroke the ball low into Carpanini’s bottom right hand corner, despite the best efforts of Carpanini’s right hand and the post. Another fantastic Hamill strike which you can see again here thanks to roving Fisher videographer @John84Green: https://twitter.com/John84Green/status/1079050011244199937 1-1, Richie Hamill, 60 mins
There was only one side going to win the game now, and Fisher put everything into finding that winning goal. Chandler Kasai had an effort from close range stopped but then spilled by Carpanini almost straight from the restart, but Fisher couldn’t quite force the ball over the line.
Fisher won a series of corners, and one of those found Wanogho unmarked at the back post. Fisher’s captain for the day tried to cushion a volley back across goal but it flew narrowly over. The big defender had another great opportunity a few minutes later, the ball following at his feet inside the box after another Hamill corner was only partially cleared. This time he shot low and hard along the ground, and the ball beat Carpanini only to bobble centimetres past the far post.
Wanogho wasn’t to be denied, however, and on 76 minutes he met another excellent Hamill delivery from a free kick on the left. His firm header gave Carpanini no chance, the Fish were ahead! Watch it again here: https://twitter.com/John84Green/status/1079053780363153409 1-2, Mudiagha Wanogho, 76 mins
Fisher kept going forward as they sought to put the game beyond the home team. They had to weather a couple of late free kicks which were played into the Fisher box, but Dan Wheeler and his backline stood resolute and didn’t give AFC Croydon a sniff of goal. Five minutes of added time later, and the three points were heading back to Rotherhithe and Bermondsey!
Full-time: AFC Croydon 1-2 Fisher FC. The Fish worked so hard for this in the second half, and really ground out that victory when it looked like it might not be their day. There is an awful long way to go in the season, but if the Fish want to stay in contention, this is exactly the sort of win they need to pull off when not at their best!
Man of the match: This week’s award goes to Mudiagha Wanogho: commanding in the air as ever at the back, the captain led by example and could have had a hat-trick to his name too, but he got his name on the scoresheet when it really mattered and clinched the three points for the Fish.
AFC Croydon Ath. 1-2 Fisher
Saturday 29 December 2018
SCEFL Premier Division
Bankole Karoma 36
Ritchie Hamill 60
Mudiagha Wanogho 76