After three consecutive away matches, the Fish finally returned to Fortress St Paul’s for the SCEFL Challenge Cup third round tie against Snodland Town. Dean Harrison showed every sign of taking the competition seriously, naming a strong starting line up. Kush Campbell-Palmer was cup-tied so Afo Soyemi-Olade took the number 9 jersey, with a welcome return to the bench for Tunde Aderonmu after a long spell out injured. Luke Haidarovic replaced Mudiagha Wanogho in the centre back position, and Richie Hamill returned to his usual midfield role with Jacob Skelly coming in at left back.
The first chance fell to the home side on 8 minutes, Ramsamy breaking into the box on the left hand side and poking the ball past the keeper but along the face of goal. Rob Brown tried to force home but was crowded out by two Snodland defenders who managed to clear. On 13 minutes, Snodland had a great chance to take the lead when Haidarovic tried to head clear but could only head across the pitch some 20 yards out. The Snodland number 11 picked up, advanced into the box then checked inside before squaring towards the penalty spot. Jamie Brown flung himself at the ball to block the shot from the onrushing midfielder.
With a quarter of an hour on the clock, Fisher suffered a blow when Haidarovic went down injured. He received treatment for several minutes before trying to continue, but he lasted only another five minutes before needing to be replaced by Wanogho. He was limping heavily and must be a doubt for the weekend. In the meantime, Fisher won their first and second corners of the evening, but both were cleared at the near post.
On 22 minutes, Snodland came close to breaking the deadlock when a powerful shot from distance flew narrowly over Wheeler’s bar. Ramsamy then tried his luck from outside the box, and his low shot was tipped around the post by the Snodland keeper. The resulting corner was headed just over.
Just past the half hour mark, Pat Geddis, while facing his own goal, drove the ball off a Snodland player some 25 yards out. The ball went behind the Fisher goal, but the ref signaled for a corner when Geddis was claiming loudly for a goal kick. Jamie Brown cleared the corner at the near post, but the ball went behind for a second corner. From that second corner came the opening goal: a simple low ball into the six yard box which was sidefooted home by Matthews. 0-1, Matthews, 32 mins
Fisher tried to get back level and played a number of free kicks and corners into the box without troubling the Snodland keeper. As the half looked to be petering out, Jacob Skelly went on a strong run down the left wing, cutting in along the byline and crossing low. A defender fluffed his clearance inside the six yard box and Rob Brown met the loose ball first time with a sidefooted finish that the keeper got a lot on but couldn’t quite prevent from trickling into the bottom left hand corner! The Fish were level on the stroke of half time! See it again here thanks to @John84Green: https://twitter.com/John84Green/status/1082739081614893058 1-1, Rob Brown, 45 mins
Half time: Fisher FC 1-1 Snodland Town. If truth be told, it had been a scrappy half with few real chances for either side. Neither side deserved to be in front, and the sides went in at the break with all still to play for.
Fisher came out for the second half full of intent. Ramsamy shot high and wide after good work by Kasai on the right flank, then Soyemi-Olade nearly forced an own goal after a strong run and low cross from the right was nearly put through his own net by a Snodland defender. Soyemi-Olade did have the ball in the net after 58 minutes, converting Ramsamy’s low cross after Hamill had released the winger on the left hand side of the box, but the flag was up for offside against Ramsamy. A few minutes later, Tunde Aderonmu came on for Ramsamy to play through the middle, with Soyemi-Olade moving out to the left hand side.
Snodland had a shout for a penalty on 74 minutes, claiming for handball inside the Fisher box after a rare foray forward, but the ref wasn’t interested. On 78 minutes, Snodland swung a dangerous free kick into the Fisher box, but the home defence cleared and Fisher counter attacked immediately. Aderonmu burst into the box and his powerful shot was beaten away by the keeper with both hands, but only as far as Hamill on the edge of the box. Hamill slipped it wide left to Soyemi-Olade, who crossed low and Rob Brown met the ball on the six yard line with a nice clipped finish. A lightning break finished off in style! See it again here: https://twitter.com/John84Green/status/1082750051271827456 2-1, Rob Brown, 79 mins
Soyemi-Olade was looking lively and won a free kick some 20 yards from goal on 82 minutes. Rob Brown clearly fancied his hat-trick and stood over the ball, but his effort went well over. With a couple of minutes of regulation time remaining, Snodland took a free kick from just inside their half long into the box. The first header was partially cleared, then the follow-up shot was blocked by the home rearguard.
With 92 minutes on the clock, Harry Tobin cleared a cross from the left behind for a Snodland corner. This was surely the away team’s last chance to force extra time, and they sent their keeper up for the set piece. The corner was taken to the near post and cleared, then returned into the box by Snodland. Dan Wheeler claimed the ball confidently under pressure, and immediately threw the ball long to Soyemi-Olade just inside the Fisher half. He hared down the right wing towards the empty net, but under close attention from the last man, his shot ran agonizingly across the face of goal and wide in what turned out to be the last action of the night.
Full time: Fisher FC 2-1 Snodland Town. A hard-fought and scrappy encounter in which neither side really got into a rhythm or showed much fluency in their attacking play. Credit goes to Snodland for a strong performance, but the Fish shaded it over the piece and did enough to win it in the second half. Onto the quarter finals we go!
Man of the match: the award has to go to Rob Brown for his two coolly taken finishes which steered the Fish into the quarter finals!
Fisher vs Snodland
Tuesday 8 January 2019
SCEFL Challenge Cup – 3rd Round
Rob Brown 45, 79
Jimmy Mathews 32
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