Rusthall 2-2 Fisher
Saturday 10 December 2022
SCEFL Premier Division
Scorers: Isaac Thompson (63 mins pen), Luke With (87 mins)
Fisher produced a terrific second half comeback to gain a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw against high flying Rusthall on a bitterly cold afternoon in Tunbridge Wells.
Suspensions, injury, illnesses and weddings deprived Fisher of several key players and tested the depth of the Fisher squad, seeing a midfield pairing of Darnell Bromfield and Nader Zeddini and right back Atta Gyedu allowing Luke Thomas to cover at centre back with the returning Prince Imoru back from injury. There was also space on the bench for Darnelle Bailey-King and Friday’s late signing Temi Oladejo, back for a second spell at the club.
With the pitch declared fit by the referee after an eleven o’clock inspection, Fisher arrived at the ground surprised to find several parts of it still frozen solid, but the officials decreed it still fit for play, despite concerns from players of both sides. With parts of the pitch softening and some still hard choice of footwear was a difficult decision and the early part of the game saw several players slip as they got to grips with the difficult surface. Fisher however, made the better start and the early play was very much in the hosts half despite the slope being against the visitors.
Chances for either side were few and far between, with the final ball understandably being difficult to judge and both keepers were relatively untroubled for half an hour. However, that soon changed when on 32 minutes Atta Gyedu tried to play out from the back and was robbed in possession and trying to track back he tripped a Rusthall winger to concede a penalty. Former Fish Louie Clarke stepped up and rolled the ball home after sending Owusu the wrong way. Having looked rarely troubled up till then, Fisher were suddenly in disarray and within five minutes had gone further behind as Clarke found space through the centre and Owusu’s fine save was in vain as Dwan Archer rifled the rebound into the roof of the net.
Fisher tried to rally with Bromfield trying his luck from distance but not finding the target and Nganga sending in some dangerous balls from the right, but little was working with Fisher struggling up the slope. The second spell was to see that change though, with Bailey-King replacing Gyedu at right back providing a better link with Nganga and seeing Fisher push on more.
On the hour mark they almost pulled a goal back as Isaac Thompson’s swirling cross deceived Tommy Taylor, another former Fish, who was relieved to see it bounce away off the far post. Manny Brown was introduced for a tiring Zeddini and this move gave Fisher a better platform in midfield with Brown quick to the second ball and hooking it forward at every opportunity to the obvious delight of the teenager You Tube fans amongst the Rusthall crowd.
Minutes later the goal Fisher needed to get a foothold back into the game arrived. Jacob Katonia burst into the box and was upended allowing Isaac Thompson to fire the ball powerfully into the top corner from the resulting spot kick. Momentum was very much with Fisher and having forced a corner Luke With’s header back across the box looked set to be nudged home by Katonia before a miraculous dive from Taylor tipped the ball away but resulted in both him and Katonia colliding with the goal frame and needing extensive treatment, not helped by plummeting temperatures as both players lay prostrate on the floor. Whilst Taylor was able to continue Katonia was forced off to be replaced by Oladejo.
Another dangerous corner was delivered into the Rusthall box with a series of Fisher shots somehow blocked before the ball was finally cleared and the hardy band of Fisher fans behind the goal started to think time may run out on the comeback. With darkness falling and the pitch now refreezing the players studs clattered on the solid surface like horses trotting round the parade ring. Time was running out, but with three minutes left on the clock a high ball into the Rusthall box saw Eni Amgbaduba challenge well to win the header which allowed Luke With to take on the ball and shoot on the turn, with his low effort bobbling along the rutting turf out of the reaches of Taylor and nestle in the far corner, for an equaliser that was no less than Fisher deserved.
Having offered little in the second half Rusthall suddenly threw bodies forward and only a terrific goal mouth block by Darnell Bromfield stopped them finding a late winner coupled with a tremendous double save from Owusu after a very late free kick was fired in. Fisher managed the late onslaught though and secured a valuable point to lift them out of the relegation places.