Erith & Belvedere 1-2 Fisher
Wednesday 25th October
London Senior Cup First Round
Scorers: Teddy Jones (56 min), Thomas Ngegba (67 min)
Fisher advanced to second round of the London Senior Cup for the first time since the pandemic, beating a youthful Erith and Belvedere side by the odd goal in three at Park View Road.
Manager Ajay Ashanike returned to the dugout after a recent holiday and rung the changes with the starting eleven, after Saturday’s Vase defeat. There were debuts for Arthur Leblond in goal and Kevin Toualeu at centre back and starts for impressive young winger Teddy Jones and midfielder Flavio Jumo. There were also welcomed returns for Tobi Irefin from injury and Chales Yiadom-Konadu from suspensions.
Whilst the rain held off Fisher, the damp in the air made for a slick pitch surface, as Fisher battled their nemesis of a sloping grass pitch, with a slow start suggested it might again get the better of them. The Deres who had opted to rest many first teamers to focus on picking up league points at the weekend, naturally enough with a young side had plenty of eager runners and buoyed by playing down the slope looked to get forward early on.
However, the first big chance of the half fell Fisher’s way as Thomas Ngegba held up play deep in the final third and slipped in Teddy Jones, behind the right back, but his low shot evaded any touch as it flashed across goal and passed just wide of the far post. An audacious lobbed effort from Charles Yiadom-Konadu, who was enjoying plenty of possession, landed on the roof of the net as Fisher sought to take control of the game.
However, as the half progresses the Deres battled back well and Aiyanyo raced into the box to force a smart low save from debutant Leblond in the Fisher goal. Fisher were then forced into an early change with Andres Losada limping out of the game, to be replaced by Tobi Irefin, for his first action since being injured in the FA Cup campaign in August. Fisher were seeing a lot of ball but the link up play in the final third was missing, coupled with a lack of anyone taking control by pulling the trigger, leaving the Deres keeper relatively untroubled for the rest of the half.
Two minutes from half time, the home side took the lead. A long delay for a very heavy change on Tyron Mbuenimo saw Fisher switch off and conceding a sloppy free kick of their own, they failed to defend a well flighted delivery into the box. The high line froze and allowed three Dere’s runners to advance into the box, with Kehmani Aiyanyo using the space to slot home, giving Leblond no chance as the Fisher defence continued to hold their statuesque line!
The second spell saw Fisher use the slope well, Tyron Mbuenimo continued to push Fisher forward in a typical powerhouse performance in the centre of the park and Teddy Jones gave his marker a tough time with pace and good footwork. However, Leblond needed to make a reaction save as the Deres almost scored again in similar fashion to their opener.
Ten minutes in Fisher were level. Yaidom-Konadu picked up quick free kick from Luke Thomas and scooped a chipped pass over the full back for Teddy Jones to sprint onto to. The youngster cut into the box and calmly slipped the ball through the legs of the advancing keeper in a calm finish.
The goal seemed to dispirit the home side and ten minutes later Fisher were in front. Constant probing and closing from Jumo and Yiadom-Konadu won possession and pushed the ball forward where Ngegba and Irefin combined, exchanging passes to allow Ngegba space to shoot from the right of the box and tuck the ball inside the far post.
The remainder of the game saw Fisher firmly in control but a third goal wouldn’t come as Jumo, substitutes Amgbaduba, Imoru and Irefin all saw chances blocked or go wide and Fisher’s delivery from corners lacked penetration.
With only a goal lead there was always the chance any slip at the back would take the game straight to the lottery of penalties, but with Kevin Toualeu, looking impressive at centre back, heading clear anything sent forward by the hosts, stopping them getting much of a sight of goal. Only in the final seconds did they manage to create an equalising chance with another well delivered free kick, nodded down but only seeing the shot spooned over the bar.
The Fish had done enough and the final whistle saw them advance to the second round for only the second time in twelve years where they will meet the winners of the Cray Wanderers and Tooting & Mitcham tie in early December.