Bearsted 2-2 Fisher
Saturday 9th April 2022
SCEFL Premier Division
Scorers: Shoderu (50 mins), Katonia (60 mins)
Fisher returned to the scene of their early season FA Vase win to take on Bearsted in the season’s penultimate away game. Much like the Vase encounter the game was rather subdued and despite a flurry of second half goals never really set the pulses racing as the sides settled for 2-2 draw.
Luke Thomas returned to the side after being ruled out during to work commitments in the week with Vincent Follea dropping to the bench. Jacob Katonia was also brought back in for bench duties.
Both side’s styles of play seemed to blunt each other in the early exchanges, with the ball spending a lot time moving along the back lines of each side, with everyone waiting for the other to engage like two boxers pacing round the ring but no throwing punches.
Fisher perhaps though showed slightly more attacking intent and Darnelle Bailey King saw a well delivered cross plucked off the head of Isaac Thompson and Michael Sarpong saw his goal bound shot blocked as Fisher tried to unlock the hosts defence
As the half wore on the home side started to gather a little pace. A speculative effort landed on the roof of Tommy Taylor’s goal and a quick interchange of passes saw a Bearsted forward waste a good opportunity having escaped in the right channel. Bearsted looked to have opened the scoring on thirty eight minutes when Sam Stace cut in from the left and curled a low effort that beat Taylor but rebounded off the base of the post.
The hosts did not rue the miss for long as a minute before the break they went ahead. Dan Melvin had space at the far post to head goalwards after Fisher had not won the first aerial battle in the box cleanly and amidst much confusion, with a header away from Fitzgerald, the ball hitting the bar and bouncing down towards the line, Taylor ending in a heap on the floor and the assistant referee indicating a goal the home side’s players tentatively celebrated.
It looked as if it was to be chalked off as the referee went across to speak to the linesman after calling the physio on to treat Taylor, but after a long discussion he pointed to the centre circle and the goal was confirmed. With only 75 in the ground and a third of them Fisher supporters the goal was not met with much cheer adding to the rather subdued atmosphere of the first half.
Fisher started the second spell more positively and it was little surprise that just five minutes into the half they equalised. Manny Shoderu sprung the offside trap in picking up the ball wide on the left and cut inside his marker and though his shot was partially blocked the defender’s touch only succeeded in ballooning the ball over the stranded keeper and it floating into the net.
Again the goal was met with a rather odd reaction as it was followed by the referee again going over for long discussion with his assistant – although this time not to talk about the legality of the goal, but to discuss the assistant’s fitness, which saw him bow out of the game with a leg injury. A lengthy delay ensued as a replacement was sought from the crowd, with a reserve team player from the Bears taking his place on the line with agreement of both sides in order to ensure the game was played to conclusion.
Jacob Katonia was introduced off the bench to replace Fidan Fejzi and the change paid an instant dividend as Katonia was slipped in down the left and he surged on goal before sliding a delightfully measured effort wide of the keeper into the far corner to turn the game on its head and see Fisher in front. Fisher almost added third as Sam Fitzgerald rose well to plant his head on a Temi Oladejo corner, but the home keeper was well placed to grab the ball.
The game then became very scrappy, with the hard pitch cause several players to cramp and require treatment, breaking up the momentum of play. With ten minutes remaining though, Fisher were pegged back as a failure to clear a corner after a bout of head tennis saw Joel Wakefield slam home.
Both sides searched for a winner – Fitzgerald was needed to make several timely interceptions as the Bearsted forwards pressed on, but it was Fisher who came closest to snatching all the points when in the last attack of the game substitute Esteban Salgado skipped through a couple of tackles and his low cross come shot was deflected and rolled agonisingly along the face of the goal with several players just unable to get a final touch and the ball eventually crept past the far post for a corner, the clearance of which signalled the end of the game.
Fisher are now becoming the leagues draw specialists, with an eleventh stalemate of the season being the highest in the division, but as with several other of those draws, they left the game with feeling the three points were there for the taking.