A full coach of players, staff and supporters set off from St Paul’s for the East Kent coast and the long trip to Deal Town on Saturday. The Fish welcomed back Rob Brown from suspension, who slotted into his usual number 10 jersey. Richie Hamill moved back to left back to accommodate him, with Jacob Skelly dropping to the bench. Mudiagha Wanogho retained the captain’s armband.
The Fish were on the front foot from the kick off. Campbell-Palmer shot well over after a promising move 5 minutes in, and a flowing passing move gave him another sight of goal 5 minutes later, but this time he sent his effort wide. Fisher forced several corners as Deal struggled to get out of their own half, and Kasai saw a header cleared off the line on 13 minutes before a powerful shot from Wanogho went wide on 15 minutes.
Jamie Brown twice got forward from right back and sent across teasing balls that were just asking to be turned home, but on neither occasion could an orange jersey get on the end. Campbell-Palmer was holding the ball up well and bringing the midfield into the game, and Ramsamy was starting to pose questions of the right back. A sign of the away team’s dominance was that the home keeper started to waste time at goal kicks as early as the 20th minute! He was warned several times by the ref, and twice went down with alleged knocks before bouncing up again once the physio came on, but got away with his gamesmanship throughout the afternoon.
For all Fisher’s dominance, however, they were dealt a sucker punch on 29 minutes. A rare venture forward from the home team saw a cross played along the byline from their right. Hamill and the Deal striker both went for the ball, and the Fisher player looked to have played the ball back the way it had come (albeit this was at the opposite end from the gathered Fisher supporters!). The ref pointed to the spot, the Fisher players were incensed, but there was no changing his mind. Up stepped Pilcher to take the spot kick, but Dan Wheeler dived to his left to pull off a superb save. Sadly, the Deal player got to the rebound first and tucked home the loose ball. 1-0, Pilcher, 29 mins
The home side’s lead was undeserved at this stage, but the Fisher players didn’t let their heads go down. Mott took a boot in the face in the box on 32 minutes, and would surely have been awarded a free kick anywhere else on the pitch, but the ref settled for a corner which Tobin headed wide.
Ramsamy then won a free kick on the edge of the box after bamboozling his opposite number, but Hamill sent the ball over. Two minutes later, Ramsamy tried his luck himself, cutting in from the left wing and trying to shape the ball into the top right hand corner. It was a goal we’ve seen him pull off many times before, but this time his shot went narrowly over.
Half-time: Deal Town 1-0 Fisher FC. A strong first half performance, perhaps just lacking a little bit of their usual fluency in the final third, saw the Fish unlucky to go in a goal behind at the break. Deal had posed no threat, penalty aside, but the Fish would have to echo their second half turnaround against AFC Croydon the week before to get something out of the game.
Fisher came out for the second half attacking the covered Alan Moss end, which reverberated with Fisher songs throughout as the noisy away support roared on their side. They won a corner in the first minute which was cleared by the Deal defence, before Jamie Brown’s pace saw him create the space down the right to work the ball back into the box. Campbell-Palmer got in between two men to meet the cross, but there wasn’t enough pace on the ball to trouble the keeper.
The Fish continued to dominate possession in midfield but were finding it harder to get in behind the Deal backline. Hamill had an effort from a free kick on 20 minutes, but it was too close to the keeper to trouble the scoresheet. Rob Brown was next to test the keeper with a powerful volley, but the keeper parried away from danger.
A few minutes later, Rob Brown came off for Luke Haidarovic, and the substitution was to prove an influential one. Hamill played a free kick over the Deal defensive line, with Haidarovic timing his run to perfection to find himself alone 8 yards out. His shot was blocked but the ball came back off him and continued towards goal, where it kissed the keeper’s right hand post and nestled just inside the net! Delirium ensued behind the goal as the Fisher faithful celebrated in style! 1-1, Luke Haidarovic, 80 mins
For the remainder of the match, Fisher huffed and puffed but just could not find the winning goal. A number of corners were forced but no clear-cut chances were created. However, as the game went into six minutes of added time (much of that due to the home goalkeeper), Fisher had two golden chances to seal the three points. Fisher beat the offside trap and Chandler Kasai burst through on goal. He opened his body and tried to roll the ball under the advancing keeper, but he managed to get just enough on it to stop the shot. Ramsamy then had a carbon copy of his chance in the first half, cutting in from the left and curling the ball narrowly over.
Deal themselves then forced a couple of corners in the dying stages without threatening the Fisher goal, and the two sides had to settle for a point.
Full-time: Deal Town 1-1 Fisher FC. The Fish will rightly be disappointed not to have won a game they dominated from start to finish. However, for long periods it looked like they were going to come away with nothing at all, and the never-say-die attitude that this group shows week after week allowed them to grab a late equaliser. Whether it was two points dropped or one point gained will be revealed at the end of the season!
Man of the match: This week’s award goes to Andrew Mott: he has been in impressive form in recent weeks, and once again covered every blade of grass on the pitch. He never shirks a tackle, frequently wins balls in the air that he has no right to win, and his drive and will to win really drove on the rest of the team to find that equaliser. A special mention, too, for the 34 travelling supporters: a fantastic effort for such a long trip on a freezing Saturday just after Christmas!
Deal Town 1-1 Fisher
Saturday 5 January 2019
SCEFL Premier Division
Dave Pilcher 29
Luke Haidarovic 80
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