Fisher battled back from two goals down, to finally win by going ahead late on against strugglers, VCD Athletic, on a bitterly cold evening at St Paul’s, picking up a much needed first league win since early October in the process.
Once again Fisher juggled their squad, with Mark Chidi, Callum Flynn, Tyron Mbuenimo, Thomas Ngegba, Billy Brown and Manny Shoderu all returning to the starting line-up after missing the weekend Kent Senior Trophy defeat at Erith Town.
Fisher made a lot of the early running and forced a series of corners, which saw the VCD keeper brought into action to make a smart save from Da Mata’s shot on the turn and a strong appeal for a penalty waved away, as Jospeh Adewunmi appeared to be sent flying by a shove in the back. VCD weathered the storm though and fought back to earn a series of corners themselves, with some dangerous in swinging deliveries causing some alarm for the Fisher defence.
Midway through the half, VCD took the lead, as Fisher’s over expansive play in midfield saw a loose pass picked off and Richard Jimoh sped away down the left, skipping past Inesh Sumithran and cutting onto the box, where he fired in a shot that seemed to be flashing across goal before Julio Da Mata in attempting to head the ball to safety over the bar, rifled his diving effort into his own goal.
Fisher continued to be masters of their own downfall and afforded VCD far too much space in midfield, and in playing out from deep often got caught out by loose passes. Some pretty passing and patterns of play was easy on the eye but causing no alarm for VCD as much of it was inside the Fish’s own half and still ended with an aimless thump forward at the end.
On thirty seven minutes Fisher fell further behind. A long throw into the box was only half cleared and Jimoh caught his marker Sumithran on his heels, as he quickly got onto the loose ball and from inside the penalty area arc, thumped the ball home.
Fortunately, Fisher halved the deficit immediately, as from the restart Billy Brown was fed the ball down the right and burst forward with his low cross expertly trapped by Manny Shoderu who spun and shot in one movement, beyond the reach of the VCD keeper.
Half time saw strong words in the Fisher changing room, with the side sent back outside into the cold night after just five minutes inside and a broken tactics board found in the bin at the end of the night! Whatever was said seemed to work, as with many of the crowd still finishing off their Bovril in the clubhouse, Fisher levelled the game a minute into the second half. A long ball forward saw Flavio Jumo race onto it and neatly stab it past the advancing keeper.
Having dragged themselves back into the game Fisher then lost a little momentum and the game became quite scrappy. Fisher abandoned the passing game and looked to get the ball forward quicker, but could not find any link up play higher up the pitch to force any real pressure on the VCD goal.
The introduction of Charles Yiadom Konadu on the hour mark gave Fisher a better platform and his constant probing started to open up some gaps. Good delivery into the box from a corner saw an almighty scramble, as the VCD keeper temporarily lost the ball and Mark Chidi almost scrambled it home amidst some pinball and another big shout for a Fisher penalty. Julio Da Mata also had the keeper scrambling across his goal with a low drive that passed just by the post.
At the other end Da Mata put in a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny Fred Obasa, after the former Fisher player, who only signed for VCD over the weekend rounded Leblond in the Fisher goal, but hesitated before tucking the ball home, to then have it miraculously robbed from his feet by the sliding Da Mata arriving from nowhere. On such desire to not concede, games are won!
With three minute left of regulation time, Fisher finally manged to find some good link up play as Callum Flynn started a move in the VCD half that travelled through four Fisher players before being pushed wide to Da Mata and his cross found Flynn, who had intelligently carried on his run forward after starting the move, and the left back careful teed it back to Flavio Jumo, who from twenty yards out smashed an unstoppable strike into the net.
Fisher played out the last few minutes and the five extra added on with little alarm, with some intelligent keep ball in the VCD half helping them see the game out and earn a much needed three points.
It was certainly not the prettiest of wins but sometimes elegant patterns of play and expansive passing need to be eschewed in favour of a bit a grit and determination in either penalty area to secure the points and this is certainly what manage Ajay Ashanike asked for and got in the second half. Old fashioned non-league heart and desire 1 modern professional coaching and systems 0!