Erith & Belvedere 3-3 Fisher
Saturday 3 December 2022
SCEFL Premier Division
Scorers: Isaac Thompson (18 mins, 48 mins, 62 mins)
Fisher picked up a valuable league point after a thrilling three all draw with runaway league leaders Erith and Belvedere on a cold afternoon at Park View Road.
With suspensions to Lewis Duberry and Manny Shoderu and wingers Billy Brown and Darnelle Bailey-King both unavailable, manager Ajay Ashanike had to shuffle the side, but welcomed back Jacob Katonia after he completed his suspension and a fit again Isaac Thompson made his first start for several weeks.
Fisher knew a tough task awaited with Erith and Belvedere sixteen points clear at the head of the table, although the early exchanges were relatively even with Fisher making first use of the slope. However, on ten minutes the Deres prolific front line opened up the Fisher defence with Danny Lear picking up on a weak headed clearance and slipping the ball to his right to find former Fish, Tunde Aderonmu, who advanced into the penalty area and stroked the ball under Justice Owusu.
Whereas many sides have tried to sit deep and contain the Deres, Fisher’s strategy of going toe to toe paid off just eight minutes later as Jacob Katonia squirmed through the right side of the Deres defence and cut into the box before unleashing a shot Molloy could only parry and as a defender attempted to slide the ball away for the corner Isaac Thompson pounced to ram the ball home from a tight angle at the back post.
Both sides continued to push the ball around the midfield and Cedric Nagana became an increasing influence on the game with his raids down the Fisher right wing with several low crosses causing some alarm to the Deres defence. It was the hosts however who would add the next goal, as having won a free kick twenty five yards from goal Ryal Palmer’s effort bounced awkwardly in front of keeper Owusu and bouncing up off his chest allowed Bradley Ryan to nod home for a soft goal from Fisher’s point of view, with the unnecessary free kick, keeper error and lack of reaction from the defence all culpable.
Fisher battled back well in during the remaining time in the half. Katonia saw another effort blocked having again waltzed through several tackles in a trademark mazy run and Michael Sarpong fired over when well placed, arriving to meet Nganga’s pull back, before an entertaining half came to a close.
Fisher started the second spell as they left off, pushing for another equaliser and it took just three minutes to come. Isaac Thompson picked up a stray pass forty yards from goal and quickly carried the ball forward aided by the decision of the Deres centre back to drop off rather than meet his run. This allowed Thompson to get within range of goal and then stroke the ball elegantly from twenty yards out into the top right corner, leaving Molloy in the Deres goal a spectator.
The ding-dong nature of the game continued and within five minutes it looked as if the hosts would retake the lead as Aderonmu picked up a loose pass and rounded Owusu before rolling the ball goal ward only for German Petrov to slide in and miraculously clear off the line.
Aderonmu was not to be denied his second of the game however, as on the hour mark he found a pocket of space in the box following an out swinging corner to meet Strachan’s header with a volley on the turn from eight yards out.
Like two heavyweight boxers slugging it out, back came Fisher almost immediately, with a carbon copy of their first goal as Katonia picked the ball up on the right danced past several tackles and fired off a shot that Molloy could only push into the path of Isaac Thompson who gleefully tucked home Fisher’s third, completing his second Fisher hat trick in the process.
With twenty minutes remaining Fisher were dealt a cruel blow as Joseph Adewunmi was given a red card for being the last defender after Danny Lear appeared to slip in front of him thirty yards from goal, with the Fisher players protesting for both an offside flag and the lack of any touch between the two players to no avail.
Fresh legs would be needed if Fisher were to save the point they had battled so hard for and Manny Brown, Atta Gyedu and importantly Osemen Usifoh, back after a long injury, were brought on as boss Ashanike managed his substitutes well. Luke Thomas switched to centre back and along with German Petrov put in a fantastic display in keeping the host forwards away from goal.
On the break Fisher then had a chance to take the lead for the first time as Thompson got onto a clearance and leaving his marker in his wake bore down on goal but saw his curling effort bounce off the post. Owusu was then called into action late on saving well with his feet from Aderonmu and then in the save of the game tipping away a swerving drive that looked like it may break Fisher hearts.
A pulsating game continued to the last and with another referee getting Qatari fever and calculating nine and a half minutes of added time, it was Fisher who almost pinched it when Usifoh poked an effort just wide of the post although to be fair no one in the ground would really have minded if the officials had added another half an hour such was the entertainment in the game.
There will not be too many visiting sides coming away from Park View Road with heads held high this season so the scenes as the players celebrated with the 41 travelling fans were more akin to a victory such was the impressive nature of the point gained.