Sutton Athletic 2-3 Fisher
Saturday 4 February 2023
SCEFL Premier Division
Scorers: Jacob Katonia (16 mins), Michael Sarpong (44 mins), Cedric Nganga (73 mins)
After a midweek blip with defeat to Phoenix Sports, Fisher resumed their impressive league form with a fine win at this season’s surprise package, Sutton Athletic by the odd goal in five.
Manager Ajay Ashanike brought back in Malaki Coker, Lewis Duberry, Billy Brown who all missed the midweek game with Luke With swapping bench duty for a starting role with Eni Amgbaduba. The changes paid off handsomely with Brown and Duberry both competing for man of the match awards by the end after hard working shifts keeping Fisher on the front foot.
Fisher started the game strongly and inside the first five minutes Lewis Duberry found space to crash a shot against the cross bar and Cedric Nganga wriggled away from his marker to swing in an effort that found the side netting. Fisher’s eager pressing was keeping the hosts penned into their own half with Brown harassing and closing the defenders at every opportunity. Just past the quarter of an hour mark Fisher took the lead. Jacob Katonia picked up Nganga’s flicked header on halfway and powered goalwards in a trademark surge into the box, taking on the defender on his outside before calmly slipping the ball under the keeper from an acute angle, giving the prolific midfielder his fourteenth goal of the season in just twenty two games.
Fisher continued to press looking for a second goal, but despite a lot of territory could not find a final pass to create a clear cut chance. Katonia came close with a carbon copy of the move for his goal, but on this occasion the ball just went wide of the far post as he again beat the keeper from a tight angle virtually on the by line. Out of nowhere though, the hosts conjured up an equaliser, as a long clearance bounced around on halfway and courtesy of a missed tackle and fortunate deflection the ball sat at the feet of Dan Gunner who from fully forty yards went for goal, catching Sam Amedu too far off his line and the back peddling keeper was unable to keep the ball out as it dipped under the bar.
The Sutton equaliser was harsh on Fisher who had controlled large periods of the half but got their reward just before the break when Nganga’s quick feet and ability to stay on his feet when clipped allowed him to feed Michael Sarpong, whose measured effort from just inside the penalty area rolled into the corner of the net via a deflection that left the keeper with no chance.
The second spell saw Sutton provide greater threat and play higher up the pitch. Amedu needed to be alert to tip a cross come shot over the bar and Joseph Adewunmi pulled off a terrific block when a low cross was fired in behind the Fisher back line.
Eni Amgbaduba was introduced early in the second half for Luke With who had started to show more interest in arguing decisions than closing the Sutton defence and who ironically then received a yellow card for taking too long to leave the field. The switch was just what Fisher needed and Amgbaduba’s presence and eagerness to close put them back in the front foot. The powerful forward picked up a harsh booking himself when looking to have won the ball and Michael Sarpong had too much to say to the referee about it and was rightly sin binned even if the original decision was debateable.
Playing temporarily with ten players did not affect Fisher and whilst a man down they extended their lead. Amgbaduba closed as Sutton played out from the back and muscled the ball off the defender before calmly teeing up Cedric Nganga to sweep the ball home and give Fisher a two goal cushion with seventeen minutes to play.
Fisher went looking for a fourth to wrap the game up and Billy Brown saw several good crosses from surging runs down the right just evade a final touch, before on eighty minutes Sutton pulled another goal back to make the game closer than it should have been. A chipped through ball saw Arlie Desanges beat Amedu to the ball and loft it over the keeper and beat a frantically retreating Conor Darwish to the net.
Despite growing frustrations with some of the referee’s decision making as he continually overruled his assistants’ flags, Fisher managed to play out the remaining time with little alarm on their goal for a win that takes them up to eleventh in the table and provides good momentum to take into Tuesday evening’s League Cup quarter final against Stansfeld.