Fisher travelled down to Tunbridge Wells knowing a win would take them to within one point of league leaders Corinthian in the pursuit of the single promotion spot available. Manager Dean Harrison was afforded the rare luxury of being able to name an unchanged side with the entire squad available apart from long term absentee Luke Haidarovic, who ligament damage looks set to have ended his season.
Fisher played up the slope in the first half as both sides found it hard to find any rhythm on a difficult surface that caused the ball to bobble and saw passes fall short of their targets. Despite the disjointed start it was Fisher who edged the early encounters forcing a couple of corners and winning two free kicks in dangerous areas. Most of the deliveries were well marshalled by the Wells defence but Mudi Wanogho may feel he might have done better when rising unchallenged to meet Trey Small’s corner but fired his header high and wide. At the other end keeper Dan Wheeler showed safe hands to claim several threatening balls into the Fisher box in another commanding display from the Fisher custodian.
The first flowing move of the game arrive midway through the half and some slick combination passing on the counter attack eventually saw Chandler Kasai released on the left of the area. His poked effort with the outside of his right boot was well blocked by the advancing keeper and cleared by a retreating defender. The Tunbridge keeper was becoming the busier and he had to be off his line quickly to beta Andy Mott to a ball chipped through the home side’s back four just minutes later.
A goal seemed to be coming and Damien Ramsamy, looking a real threat it he number 9 shirt, was stopped in his tracks when bursting into the area as the surface caused the ball to rear up and deflect of his arm. At the other end a Wanogho slip almost saw Wells with a sight of goal in the area but his outstretched foot from a seating position just managed to poke the ball to safety. Fisher we relooking the more likely to open the scoring and following two quick corners the opener finally arrived as Dan Flemming flicked the ball goal wards and it found its way to Damien Ramsamy who fired high into the roof of the net from six yards out. Footage of goal: https://twitter.com/i/status/1109480183524982786
The goal brought the game to life and the half-finished amidst a couple a quick counter attacks from both sides and a few hearty challenged one of which left Kasai needing extended treatment for head injury.
The second spell saw Fisher smartly out the blocks and a quick throw out form Wheeler sent Kasai away down the left eventually forcing a corner which Wells cleared at the second attempt. However rather than setting the tone for the half this move was very much the exception for the next thirty minutes as the game got bogged down in midfield. Wells adopted a patient build up approach and Fisher looked to sit in and take their chance on the counter attack. Afi Soyemi-Olade replaced Trey Small and a lively cameo form him caused the home side some concern down the right flank, but space was at a premium and the pitch still causing the sides difficulty resulting in a bad clash of head when Geddis jumped to nod on a bouncing ball and having won the jump for the ball received a forehead to the face for his trouble resulting in several minutes of treatment. The break in play allowed Wells to regroup and double their efforts for an equalizer and saw their best period of play as they forced several corners putting the Fisher defence under a stern test. Good work on the left to the Fisher area created space for a powerful shot that to all in the ground looked goal bound down to keeper Wheelers right, but somehow the Fisher stopper threw himself down and as the massed home fans on the South bank terrace roared a strong hand tipped the ball around the post turning the roars to groans.
With the hosts now in ascendency Harry Tobin was introduced for Rob Brown and shortly after Kushal Campbell Palmer replaced Ramsamy as Fisher sought to see the game out. Campbell-Palmer’s hold up play allowed Fisher to take some pressure of the defence. Soyemi-Olade saw a good run and cross cut out by the diving Wells keeper and a couple of promising positions were negated by a lack of a final ball as Fisher strived for the second that would kill the game off. Without the second goal there was always the danger of a late equalizer coming from nothing and with the ninety almost up the referee awarded the seemingly inevitable and traditional late disputed free kick on the edge of the Fisher area. Wheeler managed to parry clear and allowed Fisher to smash the ball up the other end where some sensible possession play saw the clock run down and sealed the three points.
With the title rivals all having games in hand all Fisher can do is keep winning and see how the contenders hold their nerve in their catch up games and un that respect today’s win was job done. The side were not hat their most fluent but roared on by 32 travelling fans they stuck admirable to the task on a trick pitch against opposition who are stronger than their league position suggests.
The usual suspects all made a claim for Man of the Match, Ritchie Hamill joined the midfield well from left back, Andy Mott was everywhere, Pat Geddis tackled and broke play magnificently, and both Chandler Kasai and Damien Ramsamy proved a handful going forward but in a tight game you need your keeper to command the box, claim everything and make the key saves when required and Dan Wheeler did that and more today to take the award.
Tunbridge Wells 0-1 Fisher
Saturday 23 March 2019
SCEFL Premier Division
Mathieu Ramsamy 38