Sheppey United 1-0 Fisher
Saturday 14 August 2021
SCEFL Premier Divison
Report: After a break for FA Cup action Fisher returned to league football with a daunting trip to one of the pre-season title favourites Sheppey United. The Fish gave a debut to former Dunstable Town full back Temi Oladeju, signed in midweek to cover for the suspended Lenny Hein.
A newly laid 3G pitch greeted the side at Holm Park and having not yet fully settled caused both sides some problems with a difficult bounce of the ball and heavy travel causing some passes to be mistimed in the early stages.
Fisher absorbed some early pressure with Carpanini making a good low save after Sheppey’s Roberts found space in the box to turn and shoot as both home wingers looked threatening in the early stages. Fisher’s first chance fell to Jack Gibbon when he swung in a dangerous free kick from the left after Katonia had been upended in a counter attack, but saw the kick nestle on the roof of the net.
As both sides grew in confidence in the playing surface, the game opened up, with the hosts making further use of their tricky wingers. Tauren Roberts on the left caused most problems and Luke Thomas at right back had to be at his best to cut out the threat on several occasions. When he misjudged one tackle, prompting a yellow card the resulting free kick was narrowly flicked over by Jack Midson.
Fisher created a spell of pressure of their own late in the half with a couple of corners lacking precision in the delivery – possibly not helped by the constant change of match ball. The league, bizarrely this year, not insisting on any particular type of ball being used throughout games.
The half ended with Sheppey going closest to breaking the deadlock as a series of corners led to ever more frantic blocks as Fisher defended courageously after Allan’s header came back of the bar – Fitzgerald and Glasgow both throwing themselves in front of goal bound efforts from close range.
Half time saw a Fisher change with Thomas, on a yellow, withdrawn from his torrid half with Roberts and Dennis Asante coming on – in the resulting switch around Michael Sarpong dropped in at right back.
Shortly before the hour mark the deadlock was broken as Sheppey forced a series of corners, the second of which was hotly disputed by the Fisher defence. Fisher looked to have cleared the danger from the third of the deliveries but a poor shot back into the box received several deflections before fortuitously falling to centre back Ashley Sains who squeezed the ball home despite the efforts of Aaron Glasgow to block and put the hosts in the lead.
Fisher responded well with Katonia and Da Mata dominating the midfield and using the ball intelligently. Trey Small replaced Gibbon as Fisher pushed for an equaliser and Sheppey seemed content to play on the counter. This led to a very entertaining albeit frustrating final twenty minutes. Malaki Coker juts failed to apply a finish when the ball broke for him in the box and Trey Small’s pull back was scrambled clear as Fisher knocked on the door. With every attack Fisher made Sheppey quickly moved back upfield on the counter attack and always looked a threat to notch a second as Fisher threw caution to the wind.
Debutant Oladejo was replaced by Van Doleweerd and his energy provided further threat down the left with a strange offside decision halting his advance into the box. The final Fisher chance saw a scramble in the Sheppey box half cleared and a power driver from Michael Sarpong flew narrowly high and wide. It felt to all in the ground as if the equalising goal was coming but Sheppey managed to get the ball into the far corner and saw out the final two minutes with some clever if dull game management. Not many sides will take points form Holm Park so to see the hosts resorting to seeing out the game in this manner shows how hard Fisher pushed them and on another day could easily have nicked a point that no one could have begrudged.