Fisher 3-1 Canterbury City - We're under no pressure, we're enjoying it and long may it continue, says table-topping Fisher boss Dean Harrison
Fisher 3 – 1 Canterbury City
|Location||St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6NT|
FISHER 3-1 CANTERBURY CITY
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 20 November 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from St Paul’s Stadium
FISHER manager Dean Harrison praised his players for sticking together like glue after they reached the summit for the first time in the reformed clubs nine-year history.
A crowd of 87 braved the wet and chilly conditions to see Harrison’s men beat Canterbury City 3-1 to rise to the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 37 points from 17 games.
Beckenham Town are now in second-place with 35 points from 16 games, followed by Corinthian (32 points from 15 games); Cray Valley (29 points from 13 games); Chatham Town (28 points from 14 games) and Sheppey United (27 points from 14 games).
Cray Valley host Beckenham Town on Wednesday night.
Fisher took an early lead through central midfielder Andrew Mott before Ben Smith’s side equalised on the half-hour mark through midfielder Rob Lawrence, before Mott headed in his second goal of the night, following a lucky ricochet.
Fisher wrapped up the points with an injury-time penalty from left-back Ritchie Hamill, who has now scored six goals this season, extending Canterbury City’s run to six straight defeats in the league and they remain in thirteenth-place in the table with 19 points from 14 games.
“My thoughts are that was a battling performance. It was a war out there, it wasn’t a night for football purists, it was a night for warriors,” said Harrison.
“I spoke to (programme editor) Ian Murphy in the week and I said ‘has the club ever been top of the league since it reformed’ and he said no!
“I think we’ve been reformed now for nine years, next year’s the 10 year anniversary so that’s a lovely thing for the club and everyone whose apart of this club and whose put all the work in to keep it going. Everyone deserves that, all the supporters to the board to the backroom.
“It means a hell of a lot, a hell of a lot to a hell of a lot of people who come and support us every week, who work hard to keep this club going. It means a hell of a lot!”
Canterbury City left-back Gary Sayer hit a deep free-kick into the Fisher penalty area from the half-way-line, which was knocked on by towering striker Jordan Casey and Fisher keeper Dan Wheeler comfortably collected the bouncing ball.
Seconds later, Hamill released pacey winger Mathiew Ramsamy down the left, easily beating Canterbury right-back Michael Turner for pace, before he pulled the ball back for Mott to drill his first-time shot into the top-left-hand corner from 22-yards, giving Fisher the lead with only 148 seconds on the clock.
“It was a really nice goal actually,” said Harrison.
“I was really pleased with that, very simple. Just a little up, back and through and he then pulled it back to the edge of the box and the finish was sublime to be fair. It was a really good start. To get an early goal, it settles everyone down.”
Hamill then played a long diagonal ball out of defence for right-winger Trey Small, who slipped the ball into target-man Kushal Campbell-Palmer, whose first time shot on the turn rolled past the near post from 12-yards.
Canterbury City went close to drawing level in the 10th minute.
Rob Lawrence floated in a free-kick from the right and the ball was cleared out to Liam Quinn. The holding midfielder played the ball inside to Josh McCallum, who teed up Dave Pilcher, who took a touch before flashing his right-footed drive just past the left-hand post from 35-yards.
Fisher missed a glorious chance to double their lead just five minutes later.
Hamill played the ball into Campbell-Palmer’s feet and he rolled the ball out to Ramsamy, who whipped in a lovely low cross towards the near post for Campbell-Palmer, who side-footed his shot across the keeper and past the far post from eight-yards out.
“He’s got to score that, he knows that. He’s disappointed with himself and that makes it 2-0 and settles us down even more,” admitted Harrison.
“He opened his foot too much and it just come off and went past the far post unfortunately.”
Ramsamy swung in Fisher’s second corner of the night and holding midfielder Pat Geddis found a pocket of space at the near post to steer his header towards goal, only for it to be headed off the line by Sayer.
Lawrence whipped in a quality cross from the right wing and Ollie Lee steered his near post header from 10-yards, which bounced comfortably into Wheeler’s hands.
“Dan did well. He dealt with everything that he had to deal with tonight. He’s an Essex lad whose moved over this way. We got him in earlier in the season and he’s been doing well,” said Harrison.
Canterbury City equalised following a well-rehearsed set-piece routine with 29 minutes and 15 seconds on the clock.
Goalkeeper Jack Delo launched a big free-kick forward into the Fisher box where centre-half Laurence Harvey got around the back to knock the ball on for Lawrence to sweep his right-footed shot across Wheeler to find the bottom far corner from 12-yards.
Harrison said: “We missed the first header and nobody reacted, which is not like us, we normally react to everything, so we’re disappointed with that one but they were a threat from set-pieces, that’s what they play off, so we had to be aware of that.”
Fisher received a huge slice of luck as they regained the lead with 35 minutes and 13 seconds on the clock.
Hamill swung in a free-kick from the left and Mudiagha Wanogho came up from the back to position himself at the near post. The ball bounced off Mott and then bounced off his marker and Mott flicked the ball into the bottom near corner.
“Went in off Motty. Yes, right-place, right-time and a nice response,” said Harrison.
“We work on our set-pieces and we’re doing alright with them so it’s always lovely when they go in.”
Fisher were denied a third-goal thanks to a smart save from Canterbury City keeper Delo just before the interval.
Geddis was inside his own half when he pinged a diagonal 60-yard pass which released Ramsamy down the left and his left-footed drive, on the angle from 12-yards, was blocked by Delo’s feet at his near post.
“Damo was a threat. We know he was a threat in behind the full-back tonight. We tried to get him in as much as possible and the keeper did well,” added Harrison, who revealed he was happy during the half-time interval.
“At half-time I was quite happy with what we were doing. Disappointed with the goal we conceded but quite happy with the way we were playing. I thought we were getting decent width in and we were a danger going forward.”
Sadly, there is no reaction from Canterbury City manager Smith, who left the ground while Harrison was being interviewed from within the shelter of the main stand at St Paul’s Stadium.
Canterbury City wasted a glorious chance to grab an equaliser just 58 seconds into the second half.
Brett Ince found space down the left-channel to put over a cross, which Rob Brown tried to clear away at the near post but he failed to dig the ball out from under his feet and sliced the ball into Lawrence’s path, who clipped the ball past the near post with the outside of his right-boot.
“They rode their luck in the first half with Kushal’s one and we rode it there with that one, so that’s football,” came Harrision’s reply.
Fisher midfielder Mott had a chance to score his hat-trick in the 12th minute when he released Ramsamy down the left and his low cross was cleared back out to Mott, who drilled his right-footed shot past the left-hand post from 25-yards.
Harrison added: “He was unlucky. It was there for him. It would’ve been nice for him to get a hat-trick because he works so hard. It’s always lovely for him to get on the scoresheet. A hat-trick would’ve been nice for him.”
Nothing was falling for Canterbury City within the final third during the second half and it was Fisher who struck the base of the near post inside the final 18 minutes.
Campbell-Palmer had to do it all on his own as he wriggled his way past two Canterbury players down the by-line and the only thing that was missing was the finish, drilling a left-footed shot against the base of the near post from eight-yards.
Harrison said: “It was brilliant, along the by-line. He was very unfortunate. I was wondering what he was going to do. If he was going to put it across the goal and he just keep going, unfortunately he just hit the post.”
“I thought he worked hard. I think he put himself about. He battled with the centre-halves, they’ve got two big strong centre-halves (Harvey and McCallum) and he put himself about with them. It was a good battle to be fair.”
Canterbury City almost grabbed an equaliser inside the final nine minutes, courtesy of a set-piece.
Pilcher floated in a free-kick form the left and Fisher keeper Wheeler attempted to punch the ball towards safety. Canterbury’s two centre-halves Harvey and McCallum both rose with the keeper, who was relieved to see Wanogho had got back to volley the ball off the line as the ball dropped.
“He got around his goalkeeper, he covered well,” Harrison said of Wanogho’s timely goal-line clearance.
“There was a bit of a mess in there. As I say they’re a danger from set-pieces so they put it in the mixer and it just sort of ricochet about. He did well Muds.”
Canterbury City went even closer to equalising deep into time added on when Lawrence floated in a deep cross from the right and a towering McCallum rose at the far post to knock his header across the keeper and agonisingly past the far post.
Fisher sealed top spot by scoring a third goal, timed at exactly six minutes into stoppage time.
Brown released Campbell-Palmer through on goal down the heart of the pitch and he was brought down by Quinn’s rash tackle and referee Daniel Friar pointed to the spot.
Hamill stepped up to emphatically lash his left-footed penalty high into the roof of the net, sending Delo the wrong way.
“Lovely, a nice way to finish and the boys deserved it because they battled hard so nice to finish with a goal and put it to bed,” added Harrison.
“He’s a good player, he knows where the back of the net is!”
Harrison’s main objective is to retain his clubs current league status at the end of the season but they need just one more point to equal the club’s highest number of points in this division.
“My thoughts are we stick together like glue and we battled and we battled very, very hard against the elements, against everything not being on our side tonight,” said Harrison.
“It’s lovely, I mean there’s a long way to go and like we say our ambitions for the season are to stay up so every win for us is a bonus.
“We’re under no pressure, we’re enjoying it and at the minute we’re doing ok, so long may it continue.
“It’s a good start. We’re looking at about 38 will be the number to keep you up, around that sort of number, 38-40 ish. If we can get there, we’re doing our job, we’re doing ok.
“I don’t know if we’re title contenders. I think there’s a lot of good sides about at the moment but we’re working hard and we’re enjoying it.
“I’ve got a good team that works hard for each other, that’s all I ask them. It’s a happy dressing room, proper solid men. We don’t have any egos in there. We don’t have that problem. If anyone shows a bad attitude they’re gone, they won’t be welcomed so we’ve got a team of men in there who want to fight for each other and play for the badge.”
Harrison revealed right-back Harvey Brinkley pulled up with a hamstring strain tonight, while Rob Brown may have broken a foot following a strong challenge dead on the final whistle.
Fisher have home advantage over fourteenth-placed K Sports in the Kent Senior Trophy Second Round on Saturday.
Punjab United (champions), K Sports and Fisher were promoted from the First Division last season.
“It will be a tough game. We beat them here in the league a few weeks ago but you know what you get from K Sports. They’ll be like Canterbury tonight, they’ll be physical, they’ll be putting it about and they won’t want to come here and lose so it’s a tough game. Every game is a tough game for us. We don’t take anything lightly so another battle.
With his club virtually safe from relegation in December, Harrison was asked what his next target would be.
“I don’t think we’ve got any targets this year other than just staying up and being a part of this league and seeing how far we can go and just enjoying the season,” came the reply.
Fisher: Dan Wheeler, Harvey Brinkley (Jacob Skelly 83), Ritchie Hamill, Pat Geddis, Mudiagha Wanogho, Harry Tobin, Trey Small (Chandler Kasai 69), Andrew Mott, Rob Brown, Kushal Campbell-Palmer, Matthieu Ramsamy (Alilabi Soyemi-Oloade 90).
Subs: Jamie Brown, Tim Moffatt
Goals: Andrew Mott 3, 36, Ritchie Hamill 90 (penalty)
Booked: Pat Geddis 55, Mathieu Ramsamy 76
Canterbury City: Jack Delo, Michael Turner, Gary Sayer (Dan Keyte 90), Liam Quinn, Laurence Harvey, Josh McCallum, Rob Lawrence, Ollie Lee (James Turner 77), Jordan Casey, Brett Ince, Dave Pilcher.
Subs: Josh Froggatt, Kane Phillip, James Nurden
Goal: Rob Lawrence 30
Referee: Mr Daniel Friar (Rainham)
Assistants: Mr Ashley Barnes (Bromley) & Mr Lanray Alapafujah (Peckham, London SE15)