Fisher 3-3 Hollands & Blair
Saturday 2nd April 2022
SCEFL Preimer Division
Scorers: Da Mata (43 mins), Thompson (65 mins), Shoderu (70 mins)
After a disappointing March, but on the back of a good performance last week, Fisher looked to pick up more points against an in-form Hollands & Blair side, on a typical April afternoon at St Pauls. Sleet showers and sunshine gave an upside down feeling to the day and the match provided its own ups and downs to match the weather.
Having won four out of the last five and becoming a far more physical and direct side since manager Scott Porter took over the reins at the turn of the year, the visitors posed a the type of threat Fisher have found it hard to play against this season. The opening half hour proved that to be the case as a game played at a hundred miles an hour with the ball rarely touching the perfect playing surface saw Fisher fall two goals behind.
The opening goal came with just five minutes gone as a carelessly given free kick 25 yards out was drilled over the wall and despite Tommy Taylor’s efforts, perhaps hampered by thumb injury that almost ruled him out of the game, he could only parry the ball into the corner of the net.
On the quarter of an hour the lead was doubled as Ben Brown slotted from close range after Steve Smith had bustled through several weak Fisher tackles.
Between the goals Fisher had threatened themselves, with Temi Oladejo driving a free kick from range just past the upright and Jacob Katonia drawing a smart save from the Blair keeper as his dipping swerving shot from the edge of the box looked to be flying into the top corner.
With a two goal deficit it was vital Fisher pulled a goal back before half time and out the blue with two minutes left of the half midfielder Julio Da Mata popped up to seize on a missed header and comfortably slotted past the out coming Ware in the Blair goal.
Fisher almost went in on level terms when a speculative attempt from Da Mata saw Ware struggling with his footwork to cover the dipping effort and the keeper only just manged to turn the ball over the bar.
The impetus of the goal before half time settled the Fish players and the football and approach work showed more guile and quality in the second spell. Darnelle Bailey-King grew in his influence on the game and led his marker a merry dance, looking a danger every time he got on the ball. With Fisher pushing hard Ware made several saves from corners and dangerous balls into the box as Fisher pressed hard for an equaliser.
The pressure told on the visitor’s bench, who not for the first time sent a volley of advice to the referee and saw the manager get a yellow card when the referee’s patience finally snapped. The benches conduct may also have contributed to the decision to send Smith to the sin bin for further protesting a free kick and allowed Fisher to capitalise against the ten men and grab an equaliser. A long through ball saw Thompson beat Ware to a race to the bouncing ball and having nodded the ball over the keeper Thompson was felled. Despite the referee being unsighted, the assistant referee flagged for the penalty and Thompson picked himself up to dispatch the kick with ease and level up the game.
Five minutes later Fisher had turned the game around as Darnelle Bailey-King jinked down the right and sent in a measured cross which Manny Shoderu took on the turn and curled a low effort round the defenders and past the diving Ware to nestle the ball low in the corner of the goal.
Fisher pressed for a fourth to seal the game and Thompson saw a fierce effort saved as Bailey King continued to torment the visitors on the right flank. Fisher were denied the three points though late on when in the 88th minute Shoderu upended Smith and Ben Brown converted from the resulting spot kick.
Substitute Michael Sarpong could have found an injury time winner, but fired over after a corner had been cleared to him on edge of the area and in a final chance Tommy Taylor’s long free kick caused havoc in the penalty area but amidst a cluster of players the ball was nodded out for a corner which was cleared and left an exciting game locked at three goals each.