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Match Report: Westfield 0-0 Fisher – FA Cup

Westfield 0-0 Fisher
Saturday 5th August
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Attn: 181

Fisher made it five replays in a consecutive FA Cup matches as they battled to a goalless draw at Westfield of the Isthmian League in an Extra Preliminary Round tie.
A difficult journey, featuring a punctured tyre on the mini bus necessitating the squad cramming into cars and then horrendous traffic in driving rain did not set the day up well, but a disciplined performance made light of the earlier problems.
Manager Ajay Ashanike gave a debut to centre back Mark Chidi after signing the talented former West Bromwich Albion youngster on Thursday night and he put in a strong showing at the heart of the Fisher back line allowing Luke Thomas to revert back to right back in the only change from last Saturday’s opening day win.
The home side showed their higher league quality in the opening exchanges, with both wide players causing Luke Thomas and Conor Darwish to be very busy in both full back roles. Despite their pace and good footwork though, the final ball from the marauding wingers never found a clear chance for the Westfield forwards. It was set plays caused the Fisher defence a greater challenge, with Sam Amedu saving very well at the back post from a powerful headed effort.
At the other end Ezekiel Miller drove a low effort goalwards, but it was easily gathered by the host’s keeper and Eniye Amgbaduba caused problems from a corner with his header cleared off the line before the referee signalled a foul in the build up. Tobi Irefin also dragged an effort wide but clear sights on goal were few and far between for the Fisher front line.
Fisher lost Tobi Irefin, whose powerful running was starting to cause Westfield some problems, after the young winger challenged the keeper as he dribbled a through ball back into his area, picking up a caution as well as a knock in the process and seeing hi replaced by Jojo Kinzonzi.
On the stroke of half time Sam Amedu pulled off the save of the game, diving at full stretch to keep out a rasping effort from Caleb Wright.
The second spell saw Westfield push hard for the opening goal and Fisher were forced to defend in numbers, with Mark Chidi marshalling the back line superbly and Ezekiel Miller and Tyron Mbuenimo terrier like in front of the back four.
With the rain turning from drizzle mode to full on torrential option, Fisher’s afternoon suddenly looked like unravelling, as the influential Miller limped off and minutes later a quick turn from the Westfield striker saw him spin Prince Imoru and with contact from the defender’s outstretched leg tumbled when set to run through on goal, bringing a fairly obvious red card for the denial of a goal scoring opportunity. A quick reshuffle saw Pat Hoy and Kyron Cooper introduced, with Luke Thomas switching to centre half and Billy Brown slotting in at right back. Brown excelled in the final twenty minutes to blunt the threat of the Westfield winger.
In the closing minutes Fisher almost snatched a match winning goal as Eniye Amgbaduba was denied, firstly by a very well timed last ditch tackle at full stretch from the host centre half as the big striker burst into the left hand side of the box and then clever work from Mbuenimo on the left touchline saw Amgbaduba bustle onto the through ball and give the referee a tough decision to make as he went over under pressure from the Westfield defender, but despite the 41 strong Fisher faithful roaring for a penalty from behind the goal the referee waved away the shouts.
Westfield searched for a late winner in injury time, but the Fisher back line repelled everything thrown at them in true cup fighting traditions to take the tie back to St Pauls on Tuesday night. We do love a replay!

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