FIsher 2 Epsom & Ewell 1
Fisher’s pre-season preparations continued with a game under lights at St Pauls against Epsom and Ewell from the Combined Counties League. Anyone watching the behind closed doors game through the fence may have been mistaken as to which side was which with Fisher fielding a number of trialists and the visitors including a clutch of former Fish in their line-up. Making their way back to SE16 for the evening were Dwayne Agyemang, Jacob Skelly, Afo Soyemi-Olalade and George Ede under the guidance of coach Tim Moffatt, with Harvey Brinkley and Nic Taylor also on the books of The Salts but not in the playing squad. For the Fish there were also a couple of returnees with Daniel Carpanini in goal and exciting winger Jamie Yila both signing registrations forms after the game.
The visitors got the perfect start to the game and inside two minutes took the lead when an attack down the right saw a low cross bundled home by Tariq Straker before Fisher had settled. Rather than the early goal leading to an open game the two sides rather nullified each other with promising approach play and midfield switches seeing poor final balls resulting in clear chances being few and far between. The visitors looked the more likely to score from open play, profiting from several good attacks down the right flank. In return Fisher had a couple of shouts for penalties turned down following mazy runs from Jamie Yila into the box.
The ball did end up in the Fisher net a couple of times, but a quick advancing Fisher back line had caught the Epsom strikers offside and despite good finished the lineman’s flag was clearly up on both occasions.
Fisher drew level shortly before the break when a cross from the right saw Yila compete with his marker inside the box and with both players ending on the floor the referee pointed the spot, perhaps more from an accumulation of close decisions than anything obviously wrong with the tackle, as there was a feeling this was the weakest of the three shouts for a penalty of the half. Josh Biddlecombe duly slammed home the spot kick and the sides went into the break level which on balance of play Fisher had perhaps not fully deserved.
The introduction of Luke Thomas in the second period gave Fisher more purpose going forward and with Julio DaMata an increasing presence in the midfield Fisher showed greater dominance. However as with the first half the final ball or timing of the last players run was not sufficient to provide many chances. In the Fisher goal second half substitute Carpanini looked assured pushing a well struck free kick away from danger and claiming some dangerous crosses well.
Jacob Katonia entered the fray off the bench giving the side a more familiar look and Fisher pressed for a winner which duly arrived when Katonia burst through the back line to slam home past the advancing keeper with three minutes left on the clock. Rob Brown almost added third on 90 minutes when he got through but a difficult bounce saw him forced to check inside the final defender and despite getting a powerful shot away saw it rebound off the keeper and bounce wide of the upright in the final action of the game.
Line Up: Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, DaMata, Fitzgerald, Trialist, Trialist, Biddlecombe, Trialist, Brown, Yila. Subs: Carpanini, Katonia, Thomas, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist.