AFC Stoneham 3-3 Fisher (Fisher win 3-1 on penalties)
Saturday 29 October 2022
Izusu FA Vase First Round – Replay
Scorers: Jacob Katonia (19 min), Jiseph Adweunmi (78 min), Cedric Nganga (86 min)
Penalty scorers; Luke Thomas, Jed Brown, Manny Brown
Fisher finally confirmed their advance in the FA Vase after another exciting penalty shoot out victory against AFC Stoneham in a replayed first round tie.
The Fish had been ordered to replay the tie by he Football Association after winning last week on penalties following a 2-2 draw, before it was established a Stoneham player had not been allowed to take part in the penalty shoot-out due being sinbinned a towards the end of the game.
Manager Ajay Ashanike shuffled the pack a little with a start for Alli Abdullahi seeing German Petrov switch to the bench to allow for a 352 formation which also saw Cedric Nganga start in place of Jed Brown.
Fisher started the game well and forced an early free kick in a dangerous position but after his wonder strike last week and hat trick md week, Michael Sarpong could not conjure up a similar delivery and it was easily cleared.
A loose ball out from Justice Owusu gave the hosts their first opportunity with a scrambling tackle from Abdullahi seeing a corner and the hosts show the danger their set play delivery would pose.
Fisher then had a huge shout for penalty with a bouncing ball clearly striking the arm of Stoneham defender though the officials were either unsighted or adjudged it to be non-intentional. Rather than an opportunity to take the lead the Fish immediately found themselves behind as they failed to deal with a ball into the box and a Stoneham player stabbed the ball goalward, which appeared to be cleared off the line by Luke Thomas only for the assistant referee to indicate the goal and give this hosts a 14th minute lead.
Parity was restored just five minutes later as Abdullahi sent a sweeping ball cross field for Darnelle Bailey-King to race onto on the left flank. Skipping his marker he tore down the left wing and then centred to find Jacob Katonia who controlled and stroked the ball into the corner of the net for a classic counter attacking goal.
Having battled back quickly, Fisher found themselves behind again just as quickly as some head tennis in the area saw the ball find its way to Stoneham forward to and home with Fisher looking for a flag that never came from the assistant.
With such a frenetic opening twenty five minutes the rest of the half settled into a midfield battle with nether sider creating much in the way of further chances, but worrying a hamstring injury to Isaac Thompson saw him withdrawn at half time.
Fisher came out for the second spell looking to press forward, but a series of fouls awarded against both sides and some frustration over decisions for throw ins and corners saw players temperatures rise, with the referee deciding he had heard one too may appeal and sin binning Manny Shoderu.
With a player short, Fisher’s task then became even harder when what seemed a shoulder to shoulder challenge saw a Stoneham forward tumble and the referee point to the spot. The kick was duly dispatched and Fisher now found themselves 3-1 down.
Any chance Fisher had to get back into the game seemed to vanish when having seen substitute Jed Brown sent sprawling in the box, Jacob Katonia saw his penalty comfortably save by the Stoneham keeper.
Manager Ashanike threw caution to the wind and adopted a 343 formation with Manny Brown joining the fray in place of Shoderu. What happened next in the remaining thirty minutes will live long in the memories of the twenty Fisher fans who travelled down the M3 for the second time in two weeks, as Darnelle Bailey -King and Jacob Katonia celebrated Halloween a few days early and terrorised the Stoneham back line with some wizardly wing play.
Thirteen minutes from time Fisher grabbed a lifeline as a recycled short corner routine allowed Bailey-King to whip over a tantalising cross that saw the keeper grasp nothing but sky and Joseph Adewunmi nod home to pull a goal back.
The game was all one way at this point with Fisher pouring forward, Adewunmi was sent uop front to help force the equaliser. A late chance saw Sarpong rise at the far post, but his header was flicked onto the post by the keeper and it looked like it may have been the last chance. However, a neat interchange of passes saw Jed Brown just fail to beat the keeper to the ball, but the keeper couldn’t hold on and the ball found its way to Katonia who jinked into the box, stayed on his feet when clearly clipped and dragged the ball back for Cedric Nganga to sweep home for another dramatic late equaliser.
Owusu needed to be alert to a couple of very late Stoneham attacks, but penalties it was. Luke Thomas fired Fisher ahead in the shoot-out and they got an immediate advantage when Owusu, having saved to his right the week before, won the battel of minds and went left to save the opening Stoneham kick. However, the advantage was not driven home as Katonia skied his kick before Owusu pulled off the best of his saves with a terrific one handed stop low to his left to put Fisher back ahead after tow kicks. Jed Brown converted with ease as did Stoneham’s third kicker and Manny Brown put Fisher within a save of the next round when he scored Fisher’s fourth attempt which Owusu sealed after again guessing left to save and send Fisher through, before disappearing under a pile of team-mates.
The resilience of Fisher’s young side is certainly something special and will no doubt be needed again when they face and unbeaten this season side in Jersey Bulls in the next round on November 12th.
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