The Fish took to the pitch in the teeming rain at St Paul’s knowing that a win would put them top of the league. If that was making the players more nervous than usual, they certainly didn’t let it show, getting off to their usual flying start! Mathieu Ramsamy danced down the left wing then squared to Andrew Mott, who stuck the ball in the top corner from 20 yards out. A cracking strike and just what the home support was looking for to settle their own nerves! 1-0, Andrew Mott, 4 mins
Despite the cold and damp conditions, both teams were going hell for leather in the opening stages, but as the game settled down Fisher began to dominate. On 12 minutes, Harvey Brinkley won a free kick on halfway and launched it long into the box. It was headed away but Fisher worked it wide to Ramsamy who won a corner on the left. The corner was taken short, and the resulting cross was claimed by the Canterbury keeper.
As the game reached the quarter hour mark, Fisher really should have made it two. More great work by Ramsamy down the left wing saw him beat his man and square for Campbell-Palmer who opened his body and tried to side-foot home from close range, but he sent the ball wide of the right hand post.
Fisher began to press relentlessly for the second goal, winning another corner just a minute later. Canterbury headed the ball off the line, then scrambled the loose ball away for another corner. Hamill took the corner to the near post, where it was headed behind for a corner again. Canterbury cleared the corner this time, but Campbell-Palmer picked up a loose ball in midfield a minute later and found Ramsamy on the edge of the box with a clever diagonal ball. The little winger had to check back, but then drove to the byline and won yet another corner. This time the corner came to nothing.
Canterbury’s first attack of note came on 21 minutes, a long cross from the left being overhit and nodded out for a throw by Richie Hamill in the left back position. The throw was taken long into the box and nodded down by the Canterbury number 8, but it lacked any power and Dan Wheeler in the Fisher goal picked up easily.
Fisher’s next sniff of goal came on 27 minutes, Rob Brown being brought down 30 yards out right in the middle of goal: prime Richie Hamill territory thought the Fisher faithful! Hamill’s curling effort rose harmlessly over the bar, however.
After half an hour, disaster struck. A long ball into the box was nodded down on the 18 yard line and found Lawrence in acres of spaces just 8 yards out. He turned and slid the ball under the helpless Wheeler for the equaliser. 1-1, Lawrence, 30 mins
The goal lifted Canterbury and they were awarded a free kick some 25 yards from goal just a minute later. The Fisher wall did enough to block the shot, the ball spinning high over the bar for a corner to Canterbury. The cross form the corner skidded across the box and Kushal Campbell-Palmer had to be alert to clear over his own crossbar from close range. Fisher managed to deal with the second corner more comfortably.
With ten minutes remaining in the half, Mathieu Ramsamy set off on another tricky run down the left, before being unceremoniously dumped on the touchline. Hamill swung the free kick into the box, where it was met by the head of Andrew Mott at the near post. The ball seemed to ricochet off a defender and take an age to nestle in the net, but nestle in the net it did! 2-1, Andrew Mott, 36 mins
Ramsamy was keeping up the pressure on the Canterbury City right back, and he burst down the left and into the box yet again on 39 minutes before going down on the byline, but the ref wasn’t interested and gave a goal kick.
There was still time for two more chances for Fisher before the break: first Hamill fed Campbell-Palmer on the edge of the box, but the ball was nicked away from his feet and he prepared to unleash his shot. Rob Brown met the loose ball 25 yards out, but shot over. Then on 44 minutes, a beautiful first time pass with the outside of his right foot by Pat Geddis sent Ramsamy scampering down the left wing. He drove into the box himself and shot low, but the keeper blocked with his feet and the ball went behind for a corner, which came to nothing.
Half time: Fisher FC 2-1 Canterbury City. Fisher were well on top at the break, and could easily have been ahead by a larger margin. However, Canterbury City were far from out of it.
The second half began somewhat scrappily, with no shortage of effort on either side, but both teams were struggling to beak the other down. Fisher’s first attack of note came on 53 minutes, Campbell-Palmer doing well to win a throw at the right corner flag, before Brinkley got in a low skiddy cross which was missed by the man at the front post then scrambled clear by the Canterbury defence.
Pat Geddis was then booked for a late sliding tackle 25 yards out to the right of goal. The free kick was in a good position, but the Canterbury number 9 shanked his effort even further to the right of goal. Fisher hit back straight away, a lovely through ball by Mott finding Ramsamy whose low cutback from the byline was only cleared as far as Mott, who had continued his run, but he drove just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
Ramsamy tried again on 68 minutes, somehow keeping the ball in on the left touchline and putting in a dangerous cross which was headed out at the near post. Dean Harrison then made his first change of the night, bringing Chandler Kasai on for Trey Small.
On 71 minutes, Campbell-Palmer chased down a long ball out of defence and did brilliantly to win a throw at the right corner flag. He then received the throw inside the box on the byline, dribbled along the goal line beating two men, then cut in and rattled the base of the post! So close to a third for Fisher.
Canterbury won another free kick in a dangerous position on 78 minutes, this time level with the 18 yard line to the right of the box. The cross came in and was met by a Canterbury head, but the ball drifted well wide. A couple of minutes later, Canterbury won a free kick midway inside their own half and threw it long into the box, but Dan Wheeler punched out and Wanogho completed the clearance.
Harvey Brinkley had to go off with a knock on 82 minutes, and was replaced by Jacob Skelly who made his Fisher debut. He came into the midfield, and Pat Geddis dropped back to right back. Fisher weren’t content to sit on their lead, and the ball spent the next few minutes in and around the Canterbury penalty box, without Fisher managing to create a clear cut opportunity.
With just a minute left on the clock, and Canterbury pushing high up the pitch, Richie Hamill won the ball on the halfway line on the right and found himself the furthest forward man on the pitch! He drove all the way to the 18 yard line, but the last defender got back to slide in and give away a corner. Hamill curled in a dangerous cross from the corner, which was headed out to the edge of the box to the waiting Mott, but it bounced just before him and he could only send it back over the bar.
The board was put up for 5 minutes of added time, and after the first of those Harrison made his final change for the Fish, Mathieu Ramsamy coming off to a rousing reception after a great performance, and Afilabi Soyemi-Olade replacing him.
As the lock showed 94 minutes, Mudiagha Wanogho held off the Canterbury attacker to usher the ball behind for a goal kick. Somehow, the ref saw fit to signal a corner! The cross came over and missed everyone, but Canterbury gathered on the right touchline and played the ball back across. Fortunately for Fisher, a free header at the back post was sent wide by the Canterbury player – heart in your mouth time!
Chandler Kasai set off on a run midway inside the Canterbury half in the 96th minute, before being chopped down. The ref played a clever advantage and the ball was slipped through to Campbell-Palmer who advanced into the box, drew the keeper, and then was brought down as he prepared to shoot from 12 yards. The ref had no hesitation in awarding the penalty, and Hamill had even less hesitation in sending the keeper the wrong way before crashing the ball into the roof of the net! 3-1, Richie Hamill (pen), 96 mins
Full time: Fisher FC 3-1 Canterbury City. A well deserved three points for Fisher, although Canterbury made them work hard for the win in the second half. Incredibly, this puts Fisher top of the league, even if other sides have games in hand. It’s the first time the reformed, fan-owned club has been top of this league: there is obviously an awful long way to go in the season, and nothing is won in November, but Dean, Neil, Richard, Jason, Charlie and the rest of the coaching staff should rightly be proud of where they have taken the club since the dismal days of season 2016-2017!
Man of the match: Andrew Mott scored twice, showed good footwork in the middle of the pitch and help Fisher keep and regain possession between his range of passing and his tough tackling, but the award has to go to Mathieu Ramsamy who was unstoppable down the left. He created the first goal, was fouled for the free kick that led to the second, and had his opposite number on toast all evening!
Fisher 3-1 Canterbury City
Tuesday 20 November 2018
SCEFL Premier Division
Andrew Mott 4,36
Ritchie Hamill 90(p)
Rob Lawrence 30
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