Phoenix Sports 2-1 Fisher
Wednesday 14 September 2022
SCEFL Premier Division
Scorer: Isaac Thompson (74 mins0
Photo Credit: John Cronin
Fisher briefly returned to league action amidst their busy cup schedule with a trip to Phoenix Sports, but returned pointless from a competitive match after a narrow 2-1 loss.
With injured players slowly returning, Darnel Bromfield was given a start for the first time in several weeks and their was also a return for Malaki Coker on the wing, with a debut for left back Tamas Amgbaduba. The bench also saw the recently re-signed Nickal-David Luzolo and Ryan Atkinson.
A tight opening to the game saw Fisher make good use of the slope and Isaac Thompson looked a constant threat trying to get in behind the Phoenix backline, pulling the ball back well on a couple of occasions but alas not into he path of the Fisher players arriving into the area.
On the quarter of the hour mark the games opening goal arrived with the hosts Ryan Hayes finding him self a yard of space on edge of the area with a clever switch of foot and then executing a precision chip into the top corner for a high quality goal.
Having taking the lead Phoenix looked to tie up the midfield and several very strong challenges came in with Pugh and Bird lucky to not be booked before Bird crashed into Osemen Usifoh once too often and received a yellow card.
Only a block in the six yard area by Sam Fitzgerald after Samuel Amedu had come far out but scuffed his clearance stopped Phoenix doubling their lead as Fisher were pushed back into their own half and the game lost some fluency. With heavy tackles still coming in it was no surprise when the hists went down to 10 with Bird upending Ufisoh as he skipped away from him leaving the referee no choice but to issue a second yellow to the midfielder.
Shortly before half time a Fisher corner saw the loose ball hammered goal wards by Usifoh and veteran Andy Walker pulled off an incredible point blank reflex save to somehow keep the ball out before the ball disappeared in a tangle of legs, leading to a caution for Michael Sarpong for his reaction to an unnoticed though possibly unintentional stamp.
Despite being down to ten, Phoenix had use of the slope and Hayes went close firing just wide of the upright as the hosts started the brighter. Fisher however looked to play with a little more purpose in the second spell, moving the ball quicker and another good corner saw Fitzgerald head back across goal where Thompson could not quite get the ball down to finish. Usifoh’s fine run down the left saw him centre but Sarpong’s finish lacked power as his attempt to place the ball found Walker. A further chance for Fisher saw Thompson fired a long range effort wide of the post.
Controversy then reigned as first Fisher looked hard done by as the linesman stood rigid just into Fisher’s own half to indicate an offside for a long throw ball, but two further stages of play ensued before the referee appeared to notice and after going over to talk to the assistant decided to overrule and allow a throw in the hosts in the far corner, despite play having has no assistant for those phases of play as he held his ground for his original decision. Fisher never cleared the throw and from an ensuing free kick, Hayes tantalising delivery was tucked home by Andy Pugh to double the hosts lead.
Fisher fought back almost immediately and Sarpong’s curling effort as space opening up in front of him smashed off the inside off the post and away to safety to walker’s relief. The lively Hayes then produced a fine save from Amedu who tipped his curling effort away for a corner but to the amazement of all players setting up for the corner a goal kick was awarded. It was the hosts turn to feel aggrieved, as from the kick up field Isaac Thompson cut inside and fired home via a deflection to give Fisher a lifeline.
Phoenix used all their experience to try to see the game out, with many breaks in play and substitutions by both sides stopping any build up of steam from the Fish. Luzolo and Atkinson were added to the fray but had little effect, whilst the lively Antony Connor added some pace and almost got in behind on a couple of through balls only to see Walker alert to smoother.
Sarpong’s frustration at the constants breaks and slowing up of play saw him sin binned for counting as Walker held onto the ball, although it perhaps woke the official up to the tactic, as with minutes remaining of the six added he finally punished the keeper, possibly for placing the ball down and picking it up again to give Fisher a last gasp indirect free kick inside the penalty area. Had the elaborate routine that followed ended in a goal then it would have been no more than Fisher deserved, but it seemed to confuse the Fisher players more than the wall and ended in a hurried effort come cross floating over the bar.
The final whilst left Fisher pointless, despite a performance worthy of a point and oddly with a goal difference of just -3 from five games sitting at the bottom of the early SCEFL table.