Sittingbourne 0-1 Fisher
Tuesday 23rd August 2022
Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Scorer: Darnell Bromfield (16 mins)
Photo Credit: Dave Anderson
At full time in the 1966 World Cup final with the Germans having scored a late equaliser, Alf Ramsey’s words were, “you’ve had them beaten once now go out there and beat them again” and that was the message Ajay Ashanike gave his Fisher side in this replayed FA Cup Preliminary Round game. Having been pegged back by two very late goals in the first game on Saturday, Fisher were in no mood to relinquish their slender lead, courtesy of Darnell Bromfield’s sixteenth minute goal and a heroic second half defensive performance saw the Fish home to set up a First Qualifying Round tie at home to Spelthorne Sports on Saturday week.
Having picked up two injuries on Saturday, Fisher were forced into changes with seventeen year-old Tobi Irefin coming in for Fidan Fejzi and Manny Shoderu taking the place of Michael Sarpong. Malaki Coker also started in place of Josuhua Montella with coaches Luke With and Michael Williams drafted into bench duties.
The game stared in a fairly open manner – both sides spent time deep in each other’s half with a hosts header flashing past the Fisher post from a well delivered cross being the closest to a goal in the first ten minutes, which also saw a somewhat harsh yellow card for Darnelle Bailey-King as he contested a bouncing ball.
The tie came alive on sixteen minutes as Fisher took the lead. Coker did well down the right and his low cross was picked up by Manny Shoderu who back to goal shielded the ball magnificently and after twisting and turning to create space sublimely laid the ball off for Darnell Bromfield who drove the ball low and hard with the bounce off a difficult goalmouth being enough to beat Sittingbourne’s Gilbraltarian international keeper and send the 35 visiting supporters wild.
Sittingbourne replied strongly spending long periods in the Fisher half with Matt Warren looking a class act in their midfield constantly probing with through balls for the speedy wingers. However, they seemed to abandon this plan if favour of pumping high balls into the Fisher box, coupled with a bombardment of exceptionally long throws that Fisher dealt with superbly. The calmness of Sam Amedu in the Fisher goal spread through the side, as he impeccably judged when to come and catch or punch and when to leave the ball for his defenders to head away and not a header was missed.
Fisher almost doubled their lead on thirty-five minutes when Prince Imoru swivelled to get a shot away from a loose ball after a corner had caused havoc, but his well hit effort flew just wide of the post with the keeper looking beaten. Sittingbourne pilled on some pressure before the break and Fisher looked to be hanging on slightly as the half time whistle came to give them a chance to regroup.
The second half saw a fired-up home side lay siege to the Fisher goal. Twenty long throws were catapulted into the Fisher penalty area during the half and all twenty were repelled with Joseph Adewunmi and Sam Fitzgerald absolutely dominant, aided by Osemen Usifoh and Manny Shoderu always being on hand to hook on their headed clearances, allowing Coker and Bailey-King to scamper after the clearances and ease the pressure. Both full backs, Luke Thomas and Prince Imoru coped well with their speedy wingers and such was Fisher’s composure under the aerial threat they were not afraid to concede a throw in in blunting the attacks.
Time ticked on a several Sittingbourne attempts flashed wide of each post, albeit well watched by Amedu. The aerial bombardment continued, to the home fans frustration as they too seemed to sense Adewunmi and Fitzgerald were simple not going to be beaten in the air. Every Fisher player gave their all to harry and compete to see Fisher over the line – it really was proper old school Fisher spirit. Four minutes of added time went up on the board and thoughts turned to Saturday’s last gasp heartbreak for the Fish, but the eyes of the Fisher players told everyone it wasn’t going to happen again. A late free kick on the edge of the box was blocked by the stoic wall, Amedu came and punched where needed, Adewunmi and Fitzgerald met everything else that was thrown into the box and finally the whistle went and to a huge roar from the players and fans Fisher were through in night that will live long in the Fisher folklore as for the second time this season we put out higher league opposition after a replay.