Fisher 3-1 Sutton Athletic
Tuesday 7 March 2023
SCEFL Challenge Cup Semi Final 1st Leg
Scorers: Manny Shoderu (21 mins and 31 mins), Andres Tobon (85 mins)
Fisher will take a two goal advantage into the second leg of the SCEFL Challenge Cup semi-final after a 3-1 win at St Paul’s against Sutton Athletic.
With injuries still severely hampering manager Ajay Ashanike’s selection options, there was a start for Andres Tobon in place of the suspended Isaac Thompson and Manny Shoderu and Malaki Coker also made starts with Eric De Caleheiros unavailable and Ollie Milton cup tied.
The opening spell of the game saw both sides press for control. Conor Darwish was well placed to block an early effort from Evans for the visitors and a flicked header from Eni Amgbaduba drew a save from Hyde in the Sutton goal, as the sides swapped chances. Hyde was again tested when Andres Tobon fired off a volley, after Amgbaduba had won a flick on, pushing it away for a corner.
With twenty minutes gone Fisher took the lead after some excellent build up play. Andres Tobon carried the ball into the Sutton half and slipped a sublime through ball along the floor, splitting the Sutton centre halves and into the path of the well timed run of Manny Shoderu. Shoderu neatly rounded the advancing keeper and calmly rolled the ball in to the empty net to give Fisher early control of the tie.
Ten minutes later Fisher has doubled their advantage after Michael Sarpong’s superb dead ball delivery, after a foul on the left, found Amgbaduba running round the back of the Sutton defensive line and he sent a measured header back across the danger area where Manny Shoderu was waiting to stoop and head home his and Fisher’s second.
Shoderu almost grabbed a hat trick shortly before half time when ghosting into the box to challenge for a chipped ball in, but he was denied in the air by a combination of keeper and defender, which saw the keeper land awkwardly and receive extensive treatment on his ankle.
The second spell saw Sutton come out of the blocks flying, searching for a way back int the tie. Having been trapped in their own half by Fisher’s enthusiastic pressing for a lot of the first spell as the looked to play out from the back, the visitors appeared to adjust their style and use longer diagonal passes to bring their fast wingers into play. Both former Fish, Neil Spencer and Jacob Kalonda saw more of the ball and on 53 minutes they pulled a goal back. A long cross field ball from Kalonda found Spencer who raced to the by line before pulling the ball back for prolific hit man Arlie Desange to sweep home from three yards out.
With just a single goal advantage in a two legged tie, Fisher were caught a little in a dilemma of whether to hold with what they had or push on to extend the lead. As the half wore on, they moved towards the latter. Lewis Duberry, almost grabbed a birthday goal as he saw his long range effort beaten away by Hyde and forced a series of corners, but couldn’t find an opening, with Sarpong heading the bets of the deliveries wide.
Luke With came on for Amgbaduba, who appeared to badly twist his ankle when challenging for a high ball and he was quickly involved in a sweeping move that teed up Sarpong for a shot that went narrowly wide. With ten minutes remaining Ashanike threw on Darnelle Bailey-King, who had answered the bosses SOS call to add to the depleted bench and immediately the winger flashed over a dangerous cross that made its way to Sarpong near the penalty spot, but the midfielder had one touch too many and was closed down when he tried to get his shot away. But five minutes later Fisher were to get what could be a vital third goal. Inesh Sumithran’s overlapping run saw Bailey King feed him on the right and his whipped cross flicked off a Sutton head and found its way to Andres Tobon on the edge of the area and he fired a low drive onto the far corner to restore Fisher’s two goal advantage.
Moving into the first of eight minutes stoppage time, Sam Amedu pulled off a terrific save to keep Fisher’s advantage, superbly blocking danger man Desange’s one on one effort. There was still time for Fisher to press for a fourth and Malaki Coker wriggled in from the left but saw his shot saved by Hyde at the near post.
The final chance of the game fell to the visitors when a late corner found its way to the back post, but Fenn, alone in space, stabbed his snapshot effort wide, meaning Fisher will start the second leg in three week’s time two goals to the good, as they look to reach the League’s Challenge Cup final for the first time in their history.
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