It has been a busy few weeks at St Paul’s as pre-season training has been interspersed with matches as Ajay Ashanike’s side prepare for their SCEFL Premier League campaign.
Fisher opened their pre-season fixture campaign by taking on Step Four side Basildon United at St Pauls. The early chances fell to Fisher with one of the 8 trialists in the squad seeing his effort well saved and Manny Shoderu having back post effort well blocked. Former Welling Town forward trialling for the Fish, Eni Emgbaduba looked a handful upfront and a powerful run into the area saw strong claims for a penalty waved away. At the other end former Fish Fred Agyemang looked set to score capitalising on an error at the back but saw his shot hit the outside of the post, but when given a second similar change he made no mistake, racing through to calmly convert. Just before half time Fisher had a chance to equalise but Emgbaduba’s header was just over.
Basildon brought on a different side for the second half and the fresh legs paid off as they doubled their lead after a corner was not well dealt with the Fisher defence and a loose ball was rifled home. A third goal quickly came as a break down the right allowed the winger time to fire home. Fisher battled back and forced several chances and had another good penalty shout denied with the offence deemed to be outside the area. And the resulting free kick wasted as the full-time whistle went.
A slightly flattering scoreline for the visitors who took their chances whereas Fisher did not, but there is plenty of time and games for the Fish to work on that.
A planned midweek fixture against OIR was postponed at late notice when the opposition could not source a pitch, so Barkingside were invited to take part in a training game at St Pauls on the Thursday evening which saw Fisher win 2-0, with a trialist converting a penalty and another trialist slotting home in second half to double the lead. With almost all players given some game time it was a useful workout for the side.
Next up, Brightlingsea Regent of the Isthmian Premier League were the visitors at St Pauls as Fisher
With several trialists in the squad manager Ajay Ashanike looked to rotate players against step three opposition, but it was an existing player in Fidan Fejzi who had the first chance, well saved by the Brightlingsea keeper. Minutes later the keeper pulled off a very impressive block as Fejzi again looked to score after Dennis Asante had played him in at the far post, Asante then wasting the rebound hitting it high and wide. Not to be outdone Sam Amedu in the Fisher goal made several outstanding saves from one-on-one situations to see the sides go into the break goalless.
Five minutes into the 2nd half former Welling Town man Ollie Sotoyinbo opened the scoring for the visitors tapping in a low cross, before Sam Amedu again made a great save to stop the visitors doubling their lead. Fisher equalised soon after with some patient build up play masterminded by the eye of Cedric Nganga who threaded a couple of great passes top open up the Brightlingsea back line and allow a trialist from Essex Senior League side West Essex to curl the ball home. The Step Three side always looked dangerous, as would be expected and Amedu pulled off two more excellent saves before Sotoyinbo headed home to restore the visitors lead. However Fisher fought back again and striding onto a lay off Cedric Nganga stroked the ball home for a classy goal. Both sides looked for a winner and exchanged good chances with Michael Sarpong firing the last chance wide to leave the game locked up at two goals-a-piece.
Finally on Tuesday night Fisher continued to make good progress with their pre-season preparations, following up Saturday’s promising performance against step 3 side Brightlingsea with a 2-1 victory over a Woking XI consisting of their under 23 and academy scholars.
On a sultry evening Fisher still manged to play with good tempo and whilst the scores remained goalless in the first half the home side created the better chances with Darnell Bailey King chipping over when well placed and Manny Shoderu also spurning a chance at goal. The heat got to a few as a bad challenge on Joseph Adewunmi led to tempers rising which referee Dan Wyatt expertly managed with some words of wisdom and a few yellow cards to calm things down.
The second spell saw Woking take the lead, rather angst the run of play when space down their right allowed the winger a run on goal and his low centre was tapped home. Despite a flurry of substitutions the game kept its pace and structure and Fisher looked the more attacking with Cedric Nganga pulling the strings in midfield. A fine solo goal from a former Chatham Town academy player on trial equalised and five minutes later Dennis Asante nipped on to get to the ball first after some defensive hesitation and neatly lob the ball home. It was lead Fisher did not look like surrendering as the players to their credit worked hard in the heat to seal an encouraging victory.
We now move onto to play a couple of away fixtures travelling to Burnham on Crouch to play Burnham Ramblers on Saturday and a trip to play Woodford Town next Tuesday.