Fisher 2-2 Sittingbourne
Saturday 20th August 2022
3.00pm Kick Off
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Fish goal scorers:
Emmanuel Shoderu (52′)
Darnelle Bailey-King (73′)
Photo Credit: Dave Anderson
Fisher came within a whisker of pulling off one the days cup shocks against higher league opposition with last gasp drama pegging them back and forcing a replay of this Preliminary round tie against Sittingbourne.
Darnelle Bailey-King returned to the side having missed the midweek game against Erith Town and Manny Shoderu and Prince Imoru were givens starts with Foday Jaiteh and Osemen Usifoh dropping to the bench.
The Isthmian League visitors started brightly and had the game’s first opportunity with a half-cleared corner fired widely over the by Alex Addai, but Fisher settled and the early exchanges saw both sides slightly blunt each other out in midfield. Fisher’s first glimpse of goal came when Joshua Montella got on down the left and Manny Shoderu’s acrobatic effort couldn’t get a meaningful touch goalward.
Fisher then saw a strong claim for a penalty waved away as the ball appeared to strike a Sittingbourne defender’s hand under pressure from Fidan Fejzi. With play waved on the resulting cross somehow evaded Joshua Montella who looked well placed to turn the ball home. Fejzi was causing the Sittingbourne defence some problems and another mazy foray into the area brought a further penalty shout.
The half time whistle saw the sides still deadlocked with Fisher looking comfortable against their loftier placed opposition, though both sides reflected teams that have found the net hard to fill in the early season games. The second spell was to change this!
With second half just four minutes old, Fisher’s pressing, which had worked well in the first spell, paid off as a combination of Malaki Coker, on for Montella and Luke Thomas stole possession on half way and Thomas burst forward sending over a low crowd than under pressure from Fejzi a defender could only knock into the path of Manny Shoder who slammed the ball into the roof of the net to give Fisher the lead and see St Paul’s erupt.
Fisher could quickly have added a second but Darnelle Bailey King could not quite get a touch on Fejzi’s cross with the keeper looking stranded. Sittingbourne then saw a great chance for an equaliser spurned as Addai escaped the back four to race onto a ling ball and rounded the outrushing Sam Amedu in the Fisher goal. With the goal at his mercy an equaliser seemed inevitable but for Luke Thomas’s bursting recovery run seeing him slide to clear as Addai slipped the ball into the unguarded net – a truly exceptional piece of defending from the skipper. Amedu then saved Fisher with a smart low save.
With Sittingbourne starting to threat, Fisher needed to find something more. Oseman Usifoh replaced Shoderu and his pass found Fejzi who floated a majestic ball over the Sittingbourne back four that Bailey-King raced onto to chest it away from the keeper and to the delight of the Docker’s End see it roll into the far corner. The -Rotherhithe Roar’ that greeted the goal has never been louder.
With twenty minutes remaining there was still a lot to play for in the game, but Fisher had a chance to seal the tie when another but of wing play from Fejzi and the overlapping Imoru sent over a low cross that Bailey-King couldn’t quite turn goal wards at the far post. It was to be Imoru’s last involvement as a lengthy injury break saw him hobble off to replaced by debutant Conor Darwish. With Sarpong also receiving lengthy treatment the time to be added was mounting.
With a minute of normal time remaining Sittingbourne were given a lifeline – a low cross from Addai was deflected goalward off Michael Sarpong’s boot and flicked onto the bar by an outstretched Amedu, before landing under a combination of his and Sam Fitzgerald’s bodies, amidst much confusion the assistant referee flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line.
With nine minutes of added time Fisher were tiring and midway through the added time conceded a soft penalty with Adewunmi making slight contact in the back of substitute Dafunso and again a decision by the assistant referee saw a penalty awarded.
Harry Harding went low to Sam Amedu’s right, but Amedu was equal to it and palmed it away but with to everyone’s horror Harrison Pont was first to the rebound and squeezed the ball home from an almost impossible angle to level the tie. There was still time for some late Sittingbourne pressure and Fisher had to survive a series of testing corners and a couple of gigantic long throw’s into their box before the final whistle ended a pulsating cup-tie.
Fisher will feel they were in full control for 85 minutes but were hanging on after the last gasp drama and the sides will go again on Tuesday evening.