Another fantastic win for the Fish
After a comfortable victory in the FA Vase last weekend, Dean Harrison’s men travelled to Sutton Athletic on Saturday, eager to continue their good cup form into the league and bounce back from the previous midweek’s disappointment against Bridon Ropes.
Fisher were fast out of the blocks but suffered an early scare when a shot from inside the box was poked just past the post by the home side. After just 10 minutes, Fisher took the lead. Dan Bowden ran onto a pass over the top and beat the Sutton keeper to the bouncing ball, getting just enough on it to flick it over him and into the net in front of the Fisher fans. A sharp finish from Bowden who was to be a constant thorn in Sutton’s side.
Despite Fisher’s general dominance, Sutton created a number of chances in the first half, and had two very good opportunities to equalise shortly after Bowden’s opener. Firstly, a shot angled across Nic Taylor’s goal narrowly missed his right hand post. Then on 15 minutes, Taylor then pulled off a stunning double save. Some nice play from Sutton in the midfield led to a ball being played into the box where the striker was unmarked. He unleashed a powerful shot which Taylor did well to block. The ball spun to the right hand edge of the box where another Sutton attacker gathered, cut inside, beat two Fisher defenders and then fired off a shot which Taylor somehow blocked again. Fisher broke immediately from Taylor’s second block with some direct running by Bowden, but he couldn’t quite feed Brown who was waiting to take a shot.
On 19 minutes, a ball into Bowden was knocked down by the striker to Jamie Brown, whose shot from the left flashed across goal and just past the post. Sutton continued to threaten on the break, and after a corner some pinball in the box saw a shot hooked just wide with the aid of a deflection. Nic Taylor punched the resulting corner to the edge of the box, where the waiting Sutton player chested down but fired wide.
On the half hour mark, Fisher broke down their right. Trey Small drove out of defence, exchanged passes with Ritchie Hamill and the ball was worked out to the left to Jamie Brown. His cross was headed clear but only as far as the waiting Dan Bowden whose shot was blocked, looping up into the air where the Sutton keeper gathered easily. Moments later, a sharp interception by Brown saw him feed Hamill, who unleashed an unstoppable piledriver from range with his left foot. The Sutton keeper was left standing but, fortunately for him, the ball flashed just past his right hand post.
Fisher were enjoying a period of pressure and two minutes later a corner from the left was headed weakly by a Sutton defender and fell invitingly for Brown. He drove his shot just over the bar, but Fisher did not have long to wait for the second. On 36 minutes, Toyo Adeshina ran onto a misplaced pass in the Sutton midfield. He drove down the right side, beat his man with ease, hit the byline and cut the ball back to the six yard line where Dan Bowden could not miss.
A minute later, it was almost three. First Rogers and then Brown had shots blocked in the box, before the ball was cleared to the right wing where Fisher won the free kick. Hamill swung it across to Flemming at the back post, but the big defender’s header went wide.
Three minutes before the break, a long throw from young Rogers found Jamie Brown inside the box. The left winger held the ball up, then fed Trey Small but the Sutton keeper plucked the ball from his toes. However, on 44 minutes, it was Sutton who nearly got the next goal. Nathan Hunter, a late replacement for Dwayne Agyemang at the back (and fresh from the terraces at Tooting last weekend where he had joined the Fisher faithful), collided with Sutton’s left winger. The ref awarded a free kick which was swung across to the back post. Fortunately for Fisher, a free header was sent wide and the half time whistle went moments later.
Half time: Sutton Athletic 0-2 Fisher FC. Fisher went in two goals to the good at the break and deserving of their lead. Sutton had their chances, but Fisher were largely on top and looked dangerous every time they attacked.
Fisher started the second half strongly, as they had done the first half. Jamie Brown mesmerised the Sutton right back, eventually winning a corner. Trey Small took the corner which the Sutton keeper punched clear just before it was met by Bowden’s forehead. The ball fell to Rogers who lobbed the keeper but also the bar.
10 minutes into the half, a looping volley from Jamie Brown had the keeper left stationary, but just fell the wrong side of the post. A minute later, good interplay from Small and Adeshina down the right led to the ball being played inside to Bowden on the right hand corner of the box. His shot on the turn went over the keeper but bounced back off the bar.
On the hour mark, a stiff tackle from the effervescent Harry Draper was punished with a yellow card. The free kick was hit into the box and flicked on by the first Sutton head, but came off a Fisher thigh and was gathered by Taylor. Halfway through the half, Sutton had another half chance when a long ball was headed partially clear and met on the volley, but the shot spun well over Taylor’s goal.
Fisher then had a sustained period of pressure which came close to yielding the third goal. Dan Bowden headed a pass from midfield on to Brown. He was tackled but the ball ran through into the box where it was met by Trey Small, whose shot was blocked by the fists of the Sutton keeper. Two minutes later, Bowden ran onto a loose ball, nutmegged his man and fired off a shot which the Sutton keeper partially blocked. The ball spun agonisingly onto the post: the hat-trick just would not come for Bowden, who had now hit the bar and post in a 15 minute spell.
Bowden was a constant threat, and with 15 minutes left he pulled down a Brown cross from the left on the very tips of his toes, then spun and shot but a defender managed to block. The ball broke to the edge of the box where Hamill gathered and was immediately fouled. Hamill picked himself up to take the free kick, which he squared across the 18 yard line to Rob Brown who was about to unleash a shot when he was brutally bodychecked by the referee, of all people! A certain yellow card but the man in black elected not to punish himself on this occasion.
With a little under ten minutes to go, Sutton pulled one back against the run of play. A cross from the left was blocked by Hunter’s hand and the ref immediately blew for a penalty. Hunter had his hands up to protect himself and there was certainly no intent, but the hand was away from the body and a penalty was probably the right call. Taylor was sent the wrong way with a good finish to the top left hand corner from the resulting spot kick.
Not for the first time this season – think FC Elmstead away or Bridon Ropes at home in recent weeks – Fisher found themselves pegged back against the run of play and despite having created numerous chances to put the game beyond the opposition. Harrison rang the changes, taking Adeshina and Small off for Cameron Stevenson and Pat Geddis, who came on to make his Fisher debut. Stevenson did not take long to make an impact: just four minutes after coming on, he played a ball over the top of the defence for Jamie Brown, who had popped up on the right hand side. Brown took the ball down deftly on the right hand corner of the box, then crashed the bouncing ball beyond the helpless keeper. Fisher’s two goal lead was deservedly restored.
Harrison made his final change by taking off the excellent Bowden, who received rapturous applause from the Fisher faithful. He was replaced by the second Fisher debutant of the day, Jack Bullock, and the final whistle sounded moments later.
Full time: Sutton Athletic 1-3 Fisher FC. A composed second half from Fisher saw out a deserved victory which never looked in doubt and could easily have been by a greater margin. A professional performance from Dean Harrison’s men.
Man of the match: Dan Bowden takes the award this week. Two sharp finishes and desperately unlucky not to get the hat-trick his all-round performance deserved.
Sutton Athletic 1-3 Fisher FC
Saturday 30 September 2017
SCEFL First Division
Dan Bowden 10, 37
Jamie Brown 85
Chris Mirlees 81(p)