Fisher 1-1 Bearsted
(AET: 1-1 at 90 mins. Bearsted won 4-3 on penalties)
Saturday 15 October 2022
Kent Senior Trophy – Second Round
Scorer: Jacob Katonia (57mins)
Photo credit: Dave Anderson
Fisher bowed out of the Kent Senior Trophy at the first round stage after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Bearsted in a game they really should have got done and dusted in regulation time.
Having played the same opposition in the previous week in the league, in a tight game, another close encounter was expected and so that played put. Manager Ajay Ashanike brought in the week’s new signings to allow further rest to his injury hit squad. German Petrov started in a defensive midfield role and bothers Manny and Jed Brown had places on the bench along with the returning Billy Brown. There was also a debut for youngster James Poole in goal.
After a rather slow start by both sides, the visitors took the lead on fourteen minutes when a flighted cross from the right evaded the Fisher defenders and with Poole staying on his line, found Ollie Freeman, scorer of two goals in the league meeting, to head home unchallenged from close range.
Fisher could have got back on level terms instantly as Joseph Adewunmi saw a header flash just over the bar, after a good delivery from a free kick by Isaac Thompson. Minutes later Fisher went closer still, when Sam FitzGerald, having just been cautioned for a vigorous challenge to blunt a Bearsted attack, found himself on the end of another well delivered free kick and his hooked shot fizzed just wide of the angle of upright and crossbar.
The half ended in controversial fashion following some pinball in the Bearsted area. With one shot charged down the ball fell to Patrick Hoy who slammed home from twelve yards out but his contact with the ball was simultaneous to the referee blowing to stop play for what he perceived to be a head injury to a Bearsted player who was laying on the floor. The puzzlement of the players and spectators was furthered as the game restarted with the referee dropping the ball for the Bearsted goalkeeper to pick up.
The second half saw Fisher play with greater tempo and just minutes in they squandered a glorious opportunity to equalise when Jacob Katonia got in down the left and his low centre found the in-rushing Thompson, but the forward got the ball stuck under his feet, when any clean contact would have guided the ball over the line, allowing the prostrate keeper to gratefully gather.
Just before the hour Fisher did finally level, as from a free kick on the right Thompson’s delivery evaded the jumps of Petrov and FitzGerald but ricocheted off the knee of Jacob Katonia and wrongfooted keeper Benham to nestle the far corner.
In search of a winner, Fisher threw on three substitutes, with Brown, Brown and Brown coming on for Zeddini, Bailey-King and Hoy; certainly a first for Fisher and a commentators nightmare with all three substitutes having the same surname.
Jed Brown fired narrowly over with an early touch and then with ten minutes remaining saw a header from a tantalising Katonia cross rebound off the near post with Billy Brown slamming his follow up effort against the far post before finding the side netting with a further attempt from that rebound, leaving everyone stunned and the Bearsted defence relieved at how the ball had stayed out of the goal.
Bearsted then had a late chance of their own to win the tie, but James Poole made two excellent smothering saves to thwart the late attacks.
The frenetic pace of the last ten minutes did not carry over in extra time which saw little attacking play or chances of note as both sides seemed to either be conserving energy or settling for spot kicks which duly arrived.
Fisher got off to worst possible start as Thompson’s kick was at an easy height for Benham to push away to his left. Jed Brown, Luke Thomas and Jacob Katonia then scored with well taken kicks and when Poole saved low down from fellow keeper Benham’s effort the contest was locked up at 4-4 with one to take. However, Manny Brown sent Fisher’s last kick at a comfortable height for Benham to save, this time this right, and Bearsted converted their final effort to take the tie.
With Fisher’s season already twenty games old, and fixtures pilling up, there will not be too much upset at being out of the competition but there will still be a feeling that the opportunities to go through were there for the taking.
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