Punjab United 2-0 Fisher
Saturday 16 September
SCEFL Premier Division
A lacklustre performance in Gravesend saw Fisher slip to 2-0 defeat against Punjab United.
Illness kept Tyron Mbuenimo out of the side, with Luke Thomas coming in at centre back and Jamie Brown slotting in at right back allowing Mark Chidi to play in a more advanced role in midfield than his usual centre back position.
Fisher started well, using the slope to quickly get on the attack and inside a minute Manny Shoderu let fly from the edge of the box only to see his strike blocked by the home keeper with the rebound evading the advancing forwards. A good move down the left then saw Conor Darwish fire in a low cross that was smothered away at the near post, but the delivery from the resulting corner was poor. Still Fisher pushed forward with Punjab unable to get out their half and a deft flick over his marker from Eniye Amgbaduba gave him space to fire a volley just wide of the post and Junior Yiadom-Konadu sent in a free kick that the keeper handled well under his crossbar, as the first ten minutes became one way traffic.
That was however as good as it would get for the Fish, as Punjab battled their way back into the game, utilising long diagonal balls well, held up by their target men and forced a couple of corners of their own. Clearly the first goal was going to be all important and it fell to Punjab in the eighteenth minute. Despite Fisher having the ball deep in the Punjab half, possession was carelessly lost leaving right back Jamie Brown up field where he had sought to join the attack. Punjab pushed a long ball down the channel and Yousaf Bamba skipped the covering Luke Thomas and cut into the area where he calmly slid the ball past Justice Owusu for a clinical finish.
Despite the goal being against the run of play, Fisher lost their momentum and from that point on the flowing passing dried up with the advantage of the slope they have used so well in the opening ten minutes suddenly seeming a difficulty, with through passes over hit and the ball running away from the forwards. Owusu needed to save well at close range and some well flighted corners took several attempts to clear as Punjab went in search of a second, with one clearance looking suspiciously like it had hit an arm enroute, fortunately judged not to be in an unnatural position.
Shortly before half time Fisher had a good chance to equalise when a corner on the right was hooked goal wards by Eniye Amgbaduba, but the ball passed wide of the post with both defenders and attackers rather statuesque, where any further touch could have tucked the ball home.
The second spell started slower than the first, with Punjab seemingly content to stick on their lead and Fisher lacking the guile in the final third to cause any alarm on the host’s goal. Ten minutes in however the lead was doubled out of nothing, as listening to a rogue call to see the ball out, Conor Darwish lost possession in the corner under a heavy challenge and a flighted cross saw Pauls Vines slip into the triangle between Owusu and his two centre halves for a free header to nod the ball home with everyone looking for everyone else to deal with the cross and the side looking for a foul on Darwish, who remained in heap on the side of the pitch and required substituting.
The reshuffle saw Jamie Brown switch to left back and Thomas Ngegba join the attack with Mark Chidi dropping back into the back four. Despite further attacking changes ten minutes later with Kyron Cooper, Jojo Kinzonzi and Brandy Makuendi all entering the fray Fisher could not find an attacking combination that worked. Too often the final ball was flicked rather than passed and higher balls into the box were comfortably dealt with the Punjab defence.
Teddy Jones came on for a debut late in the half and immediately made an impact on the left, almost managing squeeze in a shot from a tight angle, having got past a couple of defenders, but in truth Fisher never really put the Punjab goal at threat in the remaining minutes, as Punjab managed the game well to take the points.
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