Bermondsey Town 4-2 Fisher
Tooting & Mitcham 2-0 Fisher
Saturday 8 August
Fisher’s pre-season preparations continued with two different sides playing matches in the morning and afternoon. It had been 10 years since Fisher last played a double header on the same day, but the weather was as hot today as it was in 2010 when Leyton and Croydon Athletic provide the opposition. This time around Bermondsey Town and Tooting and Mitcham were the opponents.
The morning game played behind closed doors at a deserted St Pauls would not have allowed anyone peering through a gap in the fence much opportunity to recognise many players, with a team compromising mainly of trialists. Only Rob Brown, Danny Childs, Christian Udo and keeper Christian Villanucci would have been recognisable and the unfamiliarity of the players to each other played a part in a disjointed first half which saw defensive errors gift Bermondsey Town two goals. The first came when Fisher were caught in possession resulting in a clumsy tackle conceding a penalty which was duly dispatched. The second shortly before half time saw Bermondsey’s pacey striker nip in to steal the ball as Villanucci waited for it to arrive in his area rather than kicking clear. Fisher had wasted several good chances during the half so felt the game was still very much there to be won.
In an immediate blow to these hopes, the second half saw Bermondsey add to the lead within a minute of the restart with a shot in off the post. However as Fisher started to get know each other they clawed their way back into the game with a trialist smashing home from 25 yards out on 75 minutes and Christian Udo scoring from the spot five minutes late following a defender handling in the box. With Fisher pushing forward for an equaliser they were caught out again at the back by a long ball over the top and the on rushing Bermondsey forward finished well to complete his hat trick, seal the game and send Fisher to a 2-4 defeat.
The coaching team then made a hasty journey across South London for the afternoon game with Tooting and Mitcham United, which featured a more familiar Fisher line up. A cagy first half saw neither side create many chances although the young Tooting line up had far more of the possession leaving Fisher to play on the counter. Fisher’s best chance of the half came when Joel Flavien- Howard picked up a good cross field pass and cutting in from the left saw his curled effort just fail to dip into the top corner. Malaki Coker on his first start of pre-season looked sharp and got through a lot of work on the right flank.
However as the game went on, the afternoon heat rose and the impressive movement of the Tooting side caused Fisher increasing problems. Five minutes before the break Tooting took the lead with a well-placed shot after their forward had found space in the area to get onto a flighted through ball. The disappointment of going behind so near to the break after a hard working half was compounded as Melvin Adesida limped off after tweaking an ankle in the build up to the goal.
The second half saw Fisher spend more time in the visitors half as Jacob Katonia got to grips with the centre of midfield. However the heat became an increasing factor and with the Fisher squad spread thinly over the two games the larger bench of the hosts allowed them to refresh legs as Fisher tired. The game slowed and became very stop start with injuries and cramps affecting both sides. A slick Tooting move saw a powerful shot skim the bar as more and more space appeared for both side’s forwards with tracking runs becoming fewer and fewer. Late on Fisher’s trialist forward hit the side netting when jinking in from the touchline and some promising positions lacked a clinical final ball as Fisher went looking for an equaliser. It wasn’t forthcoming and with the final kick of the game Tooting doubled their lead with a scuffed finish had just enough pace on it to roll into off the far post.
In conditions far too hot for football it was probably not a bad thing that the game had been behind closed doors as it was certainly not one for the memory bank, but will have allowed manager Ajay Ashanike to see what to work on for the next few weeks of the pre-season campaign.
Line up v Tooting & Mitcham: Trialist, Thomas, Lockwood, Adesida, Fitzgerald, Atkinson, Katonia, Trialist, Flavien-Howard, Lemba, Coker. Subs: Villanucci, Trialist, Udo, Trialist.