Holmesdale 3-3 Fisher (Holmesdale go through 4-2 on penalties)
Tuesday 31 October
SCEFL Challenge Cup Second Round
Scorers: Brandy Makuendi (7 min), Fred Obasa (28 min), Eniye Amgbaduba (90+6 min)
A penalty shoot-out ended Fisher’s hopes of advancing in the Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup after a last gasp equaliser had dragged Fisher back into the tie with fellow Premier Division side Holmesdale.
Work commitments and injuries saw yet more changes to the Fisher starting line-up, which is certainly not helping the fluidity of play. Youngster George Taylor came in for his first appearance of the season in goal and debutant Shay La-Rose, signed at the weekend from Tilbury, slotted in at left back, with recalls for Fred Obasa, Brandy Makuendi and Inesh Sumithran. On the bench an old face returned, with Julio Da Mata a welcome signing on Monday, looking to add to his eighty previous appearances in Fisher colours.
With the poor Autumn weather causing many postponements on the night, Fisher arrived to find a decent playing surface, despite some heavy afternoon showers. Playing down the slope Fisher settled well and used the slick surface to get their passing game going, with Holmesdale struggling to hold them at bay, as Flavio Jumo and Charles Yiadom-Konadu probed. Thomas Ngegba saw and early shot trouble Liam Northwood, the Holmesdale keeper, but he recovered to save well from Jumo’s follow up effort.
It didn’t take long for Fisher to go in front. Yiadom-Konadu picked the ball up twenty yards from goal and feinted to shoot on his left foot twice to bamboozle the defenders, before firing off a right foot effort that Northwood could only parry into the path of Brandy Makuendi, who tucked the ball away for his first Fisher goal.
Despite Fisher having a lot of territory some poor defending afforded Holmesdale chances to equalise, with Taylor pushing away an effort that looked to be heading for the top corner and Oshinowo firing over when well placed, after getting on the end of a long ball across the box.
Just past the half hour mark Fisher doubled their advantage, as Northwood seemingly troubled by the wet surface, failed to gather a flicked on header that bounced awkwardly in front of him and Fred Obasa eagerly snapped up the rebound.
The two goal cushion should have seen Fisher take control, but some very poor decision making and lack of game management saw them repeatedly play backwards, allowing Holmesdale to get higher up the pitch. Ten minutes from the break, pressure down the left channel saw Fisher fail to pick up and clear their lines and Deandre Williams robbed Namory Kane and then fired home low into far corner. Three minutes later the tie was level again as more poor defending saw a long throw allowed to bounce inside the six yard box and some half-hearted efforts to gather and clear allowed former Fish front man Wale Odedoyin to prod the ball home. Odedoyin could have put Holmesdale in front on the stroke of half time but couldn’t keep his header down as Fisher seemed to be putting on Halloween fright night special at the back.
With the slope to contented with in the second spell Fisher were further hampered by the withdrawal of Yaidom-Konadu at half time, having tweaked a knee in the first spell. Although Julio Da Mata provided energy and bite in midfield, the switch meant Fisher lost their main creative input and chances become very few and far between. It was little surprise therefore when on sixty three minutes Holmesdale took the lead for the first time from more calamitous defending as Fisher looked to have repelled several long throws, a recycled ball into the box saw Chidi slip and La-Rose’s effort to clear looped off Odedoyin’s leg and floated over Taylor into the far corner.
Fisher battled to get back into the game, but lacked the guile to create and too many wrong options and poor hold up play in the final third stopped them building any sustained pressure. Flavio Jumo saw a powerful run end with a wayward shot and time looked to be running out for Fisher. However deep into injury time Shaye La-Rose got the better of a Holmesdale defender trying to shield the ball out of play for a goal kick and cutting in from the left, was brought down for a clear penalty. Substitute Eniye Amgbaduba kept his cool to calmly convert, giving Fisher two minutes to try and find a winner.
Time ran out as Fisher pumped the ball forward and so the tie went to penalty kicks to see who would advance to the third round. After Holmesdale opened the scoring from the spot, Sumithran saw his blasted effort saved, before Holmesdale doubled the lead with another successful kick. Ade Gbolahan then saw his woeful effort saved before Taylor gave Fisher some hope with a good block to his left. Amgbaduba then converted as calmly has he had just minutes earlier and Taylor looked to have done enough to beat away Holmesdale’s fourth kick only to see it squirm from his hands and fall into the opposite corner. La-Rose put some pressure back on Holmesdale with a confident conversion, but the Dalers kept their nerve to convert their final kick to seal the tie.
Fisher will now only have two more chances of cup success this season in both the Kent and London County cups, but more importantly need to get some players back from injury, find a settled side and regain the early season form, with a run of very tricky games against in-form sides on the horizon.