Kennington 3-0 Fisher
Saturday 25 March 2023
SCEFL Premier Division
Photo credit: John Cronin
Two crazy minutes early in the second half undid Fisher as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Kennington, after being in control for most of the first half.
With an eye on Tuesday evening’s massive Challenge Cup semi-final, Fisher rested several players, with Justice Owusu returning in goal, a debut for young left back Kayum Burgess, signed late on Friday from Chatham Town, and a first appearance of the season for winger Oneal Rowe. A late postponement of Basildon Town’s game also allowed dual registered German Petrov to dash down the M20 to play at centre back, allowing Luke Thomas further injury recuperation time on the bench. International duty also saw the influential Lewis Duberry unavailable, with Manny Brown bolstering the midfield.
Despite all the changes, Fisher made a good start and within five minutes Oneal Rowe found space on the left of the area to force a parried save from Stefan Lawrence in the Kennington goal, with Manny Shoderu just unable to get onto the rebound before it was hacked clear. Rowe looked Fisher’s best attacking outlet and when he again wriggled clear down the left channel his low cross was forced out for a corner which saw Prince Imoru penalised for a push as he looked to nod home at the back post.
Midway through the half the hosts had their first site of goal with Mohammed Cham slipping in behind a high Fisher back line, but Owusu did well in a one on one situation to block the forwards progress and Inesh Sumithran tidied up the rebound. Sumithran was managing to get forward well from his right back slot and sent over several good balls which found the eager running Ollie Milton but the Kennington defence were always on hand to smoother his runs. At left back debutant Burgess had a promising game showing good strength and reading of the game.
Fisher should have taken the lead just before the half hour mark, as some good build up play around the box saw snapshot chances for Shoderu, Rowe and Milton all blocked with the half cleared ball setting up Petrov and Sumithran for further strikes which again hit defenders as the Kennington back line was put under pressure. On the stroke of half time Fisher wasted yet another good chance as Rowe’s clever footwork saw him drag the ball back into the path of Shoderu, but his shot flew just wide of the corner of bar and post with the 26 travelling fans behind the goal expecting to see the net bulge.
Despite going in goal less, Fisher would have been confident that having had the better balance of chances and looked the better side they would secure the points in the second spell. A dramatic start to the second half changed all that. A good Fisher move down the left saw Rowe teed up and his fierce shot from the corner of the penalty area drew a fabulous save at full stretch from the Kennington keeper to tip the ball away from a corner. With the corner the hit deep Kennington were able to clear their lines and swept up field. Moving the ball well around the edge of the Fisher area it fell to Max Sutton who from twenty five yards drilled it into the top right corner leaving Owusu with no chance of reaching it. A minute later Kennington doubled their lead as Milton was dispossessed just outside the Kennington area and again a lightning break forward fed Mohammed Cham on the left, cutting inside he found space to shoot low and hard to beat Owusu at his near post and in an instant put Kennington into a commanding position.
Fisher huffed and puffed looking for a way back int the game, with Luke Thomas, Nader Zeddini and Luke With all coming on to add fresh legs. However they rarely looked like finding a route back into the game, over playing in midfield and looking for wonder passes rather than simply cycling the ball through simple five yard passes, meaning good positions were regularly wasted.
With ten minutes remaining Isaac Thompson drew another good diving save from Lawrence and escaping down the right saw his low cross scrambled away. Any chance of a late comeback was extinguished when Kennington added a third in similar fashion to their earlier goals, this time Elliot Moore using the space he found outside the box to pick his spot high to Owusu’s right.
Sarpong tried an audacious shot straight from kick off, causing some back peddling from Lawrence, but the effort summed up Fisher’s fruitless day of trying the extravagant options. They will need to revert to more pragmatic, simpler football to protect their two goal lead going into to Tuesday’s huge semi-final at Sutton.