Tunbridge Wells 2-1 Fisher
Saturday 25 February 2023
SCEFL Premier Division
Scorer: Manny Brown (72 mins)
Photo Credit: Dave Anderson
An understrength Fisher side failed to pick up points on their trip to Tunbridge Wells, losing out by the odd goal in three in a scrappy affair.
Illness to Malaki Coker coupled with injuries to Jacob Katonia, Billy Brown and Cedric Nganga and the unavailability of recent singings Andres Tobon and Eric de Melo Calheiros, saw Fisher put out a rather experimental line out with German Petrov in at centre back and captain Luke Thomas shifting over to right back. Prince Imoru slotted in at left back allowing Conor Darwish to join fellow full back specialist, Inesh Sumithran, in an unaccustomed wide midfield role.
With six defenders in the line up playing up the considerable Culverden slope, it was not a surprise that the game got underway with Fisher penned into their own half, although despite conceding territory their goal was rarely threatened. Veteran striker Trevor McCreadie should have punished Fisher midway through the half when a rebound found him free twelve yards out, but the target man lost his footing, and the chance went begging. The pace of Festus Kamara caused Fisher some problems down their left and following two mistimed challenges saw Prince Imoru cautioned. This lead to him switching with Conor Darwish, with the youngster marshalling the winger more effectively for the rest of the game.
At the other end Fisher too had problems creating anything clear cut. A well delivered cross from Inesh Sumithran, after a sweeping Michael Sarpong pass had sent him free down the right, was headed wide by Imoru. Petrov joined Imoru in the book for a clumsy challenge on half-way shortly before the break s both sides appeared to struggle with the surface.
Fisher showed more attacking intent in the second spell, aided by the slope, but without the pace of their injured quartet of wingers struggled to get behind the Wells back line, with Thompson a lone runner often frustrated by a bumpy surface. Whilst Eni Amgbaduba worked hard up front, he was denied any real service.
On the hour Fisher fell behind. Having failed to clear their lines on several occasions the ball was fed in low from the right and despite being first to the ball Joseph Adewunmi’s intended clearance ricocheted off Connor Pring into the net for a scrappy goal.
Minutes later Tunbridge had a chance to double their lead, when another scramble in the box saw McCreadie go to ground, The referee appeared to play on allowing the ball to be fed wide and an incoming shot blocked before coming back to give the penalty. It was unclear from his gestures whether it was for the striker being pulled to the ground or more likely held from getting back up. Either way it was irrelevant has after having trouble placing the ball on the spot, McCreadie pulled his kick well wide of the upright.
The let off saw Fisher have the best spell of the game aided by the introduction of Manny Brown off the bench. Lewis Duberry escaped several tackles down the right and cutting into the box fired over a low cross that found its way to Brown, whose shot on the turn beat the keeper low to his left to bring the Fish level.
Having found themselves level after an indifferent display Fisher really needed to get control of the game and secure the point. However the side seemed to have other ideas and trying to charge forward on the counter, a loose Sarpong pass was picked off on halfway and the ball worked down Fisher’s right with the resulting centre finding the head of McCreadie who planted it back across Amedu to regain the lead for the hosts within three minutes of being pegged back.
Fisher tried to regroup to find a further equaliser but it was the host who looked the more likely to add to the score, only thwarted by good defensive work from Luke Thomas stopping several good Wells breaks with men over. Some late free kicks gave Fisher opportunities to load the box, but the keeper claimed poor deliveries on both occasions and secured the three points for Tunbridge Wells.