Fisher 0-1 Deal Town
Tuesday 14 March 2023
SCEFL Premier Division
Fisher fell to a narrow defeat against an inform Deal Town, with the visitors early goal being all that separated the teams in a scrappy game.
Deal came into the game on the back of five wins without conceding, taking them to second place in the league table and so they proved a stern test for Fisher. The Fish too arrived in good form, having won their last three in all competitions, but were still hampered by injuries to key attacking players. Luke With returned up front replacing the injured Eni Amgbaduba and Prince Imoru came in at right back to replace Inesh Sumithran, with Fisher were still unable to put out an unchanged side this season.
The game started at great pace, with Fisher forcing an early fortuitous corner after Conor Darwish had burst down the left, with the referee missing the ball cannoning back off him as it went out of play. Deal cleared their lines though and in their first attack opened the scoring. Having won the ball in midfield a raking pass found their left winger who, not being closed quicky enough, sent over an early first time cross, finding Ben Chapman in space between the two centre halves to head the ball over Sam Amedu into the top corner. It was a very sloppy goal for Fisher to give away, with manager Ajay Ashanike sure to have warned the side about Deal’s threat from crosses and dead balls.
Fisher fought back well, with both full backs pressing on and on the right, Prince Imoru created a good opening cutting in and finding space but dallied in getting his shot away and was closed down. Whist Fisher were busy in midfield, the final ball was often lacking, and neither Andres Tobon nor Isaac Thompson on either flank could quite get away from their markers when fed down the line. The most likely avenue for a goal came from the aerial threat of Luke With, as the tall striker won several headers in the box, but a well organised Deal defence secured the second ball effectively.
Fisher saw two strong shouts for penalties turned down, as Malaki Coker’s drive appeared to be charged down with an arm, albeit from close range, amidst debate about natural arm positions and Isaac Thompson appeared to be held in the box, before being finally felled just outside. The resulting free kick was driven low by Lewis Duberry but well saved by the Deal keeper. At the other end Deal picked up a free kick of their own when Joseph Adewunmi appeared to have won the ball and been kicked himself by the Deal forward, but with the forward ending up on the floor the referee booked Adewunmi in one of many decisions that frustrated both sides. Amedu produced a good save at full stretch to turn away the resulting powerful strike.
On the half hour Fisher were dealt a further injury blow as skipper Luke Thomas aggravated his hamstring and limped out of the action to preplaced by Inesh Sumithran.
The half time break came with the solitary goal all that was between the sides and Fisher with good hope of getting something back in the second half. Ollie Milton was introduced for Malaki Coker and seconds after the restart Conor Darwish also succumbed to an injury and was replaced by Manny Shoderu. Try as they might though, a determined Deal rear guard, quelled Fisher attacks as the game became littered with long stoppages for injuries and the players on both sides grew increasingly frustrated with some curious decisions during aerial duals. This finally ended with Lewis Duberry being sin binned although his words to the referee seemed tame compared with many utterances heard clearly across the ground earlier.
Oddly, being temporarily down to ten men galvanised Fisher and they pressed forward. Ollie Milton escaped onto a through ball down the right channel, but the Deal keeper saved well as he shot low and hard. Billy Brown added some zip to the Fisher front line in a late cameo and saw a rasping drive just drift over the bar with the keeper for once looking beaten and Manny Shoderu failed to keep a late chance down when the ball was fed back to him after a scramble in the area as Fisher continued to press for an equaliser.
Having not conceded in their last five games Deal seemed content to protect the one goal lead, although their left winger was a constant outlet on the counterattack, but in truth they rarely troubled the Fisher goal in the second spell bar a curling effort that went just wide of the post and a couple of corners that Fisher dealt with well.
The final chance saw a fine deep cross from Sumithran reach the head of Luke With, but he elected to try and tuck in his header in at the near post rather than go across the keeper as he gained success with his headed goals this season and the chance went begging.
The celebrations of the Deal side on the final whistle showed how determined they had been to pick up the points in their quest for second or possibly, with leaders Erith and Belvedere‘s current hiccup, the title, and based on this organised performance they won’t be far away.
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