Sutton Common Rovers 0-1 Fisher
Wednesday 10th August 2022
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Scorer: Joshua Montella (82 mins)
Following Saturday’s goalless draw Fisher headed to leafy Surrey to take on Sutton Common Rovers in a replayed FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie at AFC Whyteleafe’s Church Road ground. The Fish made one enforced change to the starting line up with Joshua Montella coming in at centre forward for the illness stricken Julio Da Mata.
The game followed a similar pattern to the first tie with Fisher looking the more dangerous in open play and Rovers threatening at set plays, although the Fisher defence dealt well with some early corners. In the man though the two sides largely cancelled each other out with neither side able to find fluency in attacking moves. Fisher made some of the half’s better chances with Joshua Montella escaping down the right and sending over a low cross the just evaded Darnelle Bailey-King running in at the back post and Bailey-King went close again when slipped in down the right and firing a shot over the angle of cross bar and post.
A feisty half saw Luke Thomas booked late on for a heavy tackle as he looked to close down on a loose pass although he did appear to be pushed off balance into the tackle. However the tackle raised tempers in the heat and when with the last chance of the half the hosts wasted a glorious opportunity with a free header from a corner bouncing over the bar after being headed down with too much force and scuffle broke out in the area seeing the referee calm things with a stern talking to both captains and a blast of the half time whistle.
The second spell saw the game open up and this proved to be to Fisher’s advantage with the midfield trio of Sarpong, Bromfield and Usifoh starting to get on top of their opposition’s trio. Sarpong fired a half chance over the bar with the ball not quite sitting for him as the Fish pushed for an opening goal. At the other end chances were rarer for the hosts with Sam Fitzgerald and Joseph Adewunmi at the heart of the defence looking formidable with countless aerial duals won and repeatedly getting in first in the tackle.
A quick Fisher counter attack saw Montella jink clear of marker and with the ball on his favoured left foot it seemed he was well set to score but his shot was not quite wide enough of the keeper allowing a fairly routine low save. Fidan Fejzi then picked up a cleared ball and powered forward before fizzing in shot for fully thirty-five yards that whizzed over the bar with the keeper looking beaten though it was to be his last involvement as he departed for Manny Shoderu and Malaki Coker was introduced for Usifoh in a show of attacking intent for the Fish.
It soon paid off as with just under ten minutes left on the clock Sarpong’s clever lofted diagonal ball out of midfield was poorly dealt with by the Rovers back line and was only half cleared to Shoderu who fired in a shot that the keeper could only palm away, but the awareness of Bailey-King meant he raced to the pick up the rebound and pulled the ball back to a perfectly placed Joshua Montella who switched the ball to his left foot before firing it into the net from twelve yards out. The delight of the 40 strong Fisher following was there for all to see as Montella rushed towards the bulk of them behind the goal.
Rovers tried to rally for an equaliser but found the Fisher back line in imperious form helped by the immaculate handling of big Sam Amedu in goal. In a tight cup game to see your keeper come for everything and confidently pluck it off forwards heads lifts the whole team. Fitzgerald threw himself in front of the only half chance the host created in the late flurry – epitomising the team spirit and desire in the side. In fact, it was Fisher who looked the more likely to add to the score in the final moments, Swift counter attacking gave Shoderu two chance’s he should have done better with, firing over with one and with the easier chance only picking out the keeper when given a clear sight of goal. A further quick break from late substitute Dennis Asante saw him time a pass through to Bailey-King, but for once his touch was lacking and took him wider than he wanted allowing the keeper to save low down by his post form his driven effort. It was not to mater however as after another brief melee by the benches, Fisher managed to play out the seven extra minutes added and the referee brought an end to proceedings to set off great celebrations between the team and fans.
For the second time in three years the Fish had knocked out higher league opposition in the FA Cup with a heroic performance and now face another Step 4 side, Sittingbourne in the next round.