Fisher 0-3 Phoenix Sports - We will turn things around, says Fisher joint-boss Billy Walton

Monday 11th August 2014

Southern Counties East Football League
Monday 11th August 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Champion Hill Stadium

FISHER joint-manager Billy Walton says he needs financial backing to turn around a beleaguered state of affairs on the pitch.

The Fish suffered a 6-1 defeat at Ashford United on the opening day of the season before going down to a 3-0 home defeat to Phoenix Sports to plunge to the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League table.

Phoenix Sports, meanwhile, became the third different league leaders in only four days after stunning big-spending Greenwich Borough with a 1-0 home win on Saturday, before their comfortable 3-0 win at Fisher tonight.

Fisher enjoyed plenty of first-half possession but Enoch Adjei drilled a screamer into the top near corner to hand Phoenix Sports the lead six minutes before the break.

Adjei took only 137 seconds into the second half to drive home his second goal on the night, before Ricky Freeman, who scored a penalty on Saturday to stun Ian Jenkins’ side, accepted a gift from Fisher goalkeeper Ben Lancaster to wrap up the scoring during a dominant second half performance from the men in green.

Lordswood, Holmesdale and Phoenix Sports have all led the table at this early stage of the season, but Walton is concerned that history is repeating itself at Champion Hill.

“I thought the scoreline flattered them to be honest with you,” Walton said after the game.

“I thought we shot ourselves in the foot.   We’re dominating the game, completely in control.

“I was disappointed with all their goals because their goals to me weren’t good goals, they was our mistakes again. Individual error, individual errors cost us.”

Tonight’s defeat puts Fisher in a familiar position for their long-suffering fans.

Walton added: It’s not rocket science is it? If you concede nine goals in two games you’re going to be bottom of the league. Simple as that!

“I think tomorrow we may have a chance of going up a couple of places if results go our way, we go up.

“Under no illusions. I’ve said to you a million and one times I know how difficult this job us but you can see the first 45 minutes we competed. As soon as we ran out of steam, as soon as we get a bit leggy and people stop doing the things we ask them to do, we look ragged.

“But when we’re fit and we’re all doing the right things you see out there tonight when we’re fully fit and fully raring to go we can beat anyone. We just can’t do it over 90 minutes.

“We’ve got to train. We’ve got to train harder.  Unfortunately we’re not in a position where we can pay out money to train twice a week. We just haven’t got the money to do it so unless someone comes and helps us. 

“We can’t afford to train at £80 per hour on a 3G pitch. We just haven’t got the money so we’ve got to put up with what we’ve got and that is it. It’s frustrating, it is annoying but that’s it. That’s how we are.”

Walton, who admitted he is desperate to win their FA Cup tie at Selsey on Saturday so they can bank £1,500 in much-needed prize money, said: “It is sad.  I’m a very honest person. I give a honest opinion to people when they ask me. I give an honest opinion to players and we’ve just got to hope, not hope, we will turn things around. We will get better!

“I don’t want us just to kick it long and stuff but realistically you need financial help. I’m not a miracle worker. I’m not (Chelsea manager) Jose Mourinho. I know I’ve got faults, I know I’m not the best manager in the world or the best coach in the world. That’s why I’m at a club I love.

“My heart does bleed for them. There’s no one at this club that wants to be more successful than me. I just want the club to be successful. I’m not in it or me. I want the club to be successful and to move on.

“If ever I wanted to wind a year of my life forward I want it to be this year. It’s not all doom and gloom.

“I’m sad tonight because I don’t like losing at tiddlywinks let along a football match. I’m quite a passionate person. I wear my heart on my sleeve and we’ve just got to work hard and turn things around.  As you’ve seen tonight in phases in the game we’re a good side, in other phases we’re poor.”

Phoenix Sports joint-managers Steve O’Boyle and Tony Beckingham looked on at a comfortable second half performance from their side to claim top spot after two games.

“Not so comfortable first half,” admitted O’Boyle.

“I said to them at half-time, basically after Saturday and whatever our boys expected maybe to be one or two nil up after ten minutes and when it never happened we panicked a little bit and whatever and I thought first half performance wasn’t fantastic.

“The goal came at a very good time, six minutes before half-time, good strike and after that went in I thought we settled down and we was the better side from then on in.”

Speaking about being at the summit for 24 hours, O’Boyle added: “Two clean sheets. Really good. If you had offered me that Friday night I would have bit your hand off. Two good wins. A good week so far. There’s a long way to go.”

Phoenix Sports had the first shot on goal inside the opening five minutes, when Freeman unleashed a right-footed drive from 35-yards which flashed wide of the right-hand post.

But Fisher, who enjoyed plenty of possession during the opening 25 minutes, were to be denied a ninth-minute goal by visiting goalkeeper Rob French, who is on-loan from Ryman League Division One South side Faversham Town

Fisher skipper Danny Maguire swept his right-footed free-kick over the wall from 30-yards and French dived to his left and got both hands to the shot to push the ball around the post.

“We started the game very well,” said Walton.

“I think up until they scored we was the better side and the goal right before half-time, against the run of play, changed the complexion of the game.

“They’ve brought in French in from a higher level club. He’s pulled off a great save. It could have put us 1-0 up but as I’ve said a million times I don’t want to go on about Dan all the time. He can do things like that. It’s just a shame it didn’t go in. He’s pulled off another great save.”

O’Boyle praised goalkeeper French, adding: “He’s on loan from Faversham until the end of the month. Our goalkeeper’s out injured at the moment, he’s on his way back. He’s come in, he’s been fantastic.  On Saturday he was unbelievable and again tonight, he’s as safe as houses really.”

Maguire whipped in a free-kick with his right-foot from the right which was met by Harvey Hanifan’s glancing header at the far post, which the defender directed wide from eight-yards.

Phoenix Sports started to edge themselves back into the game at the half-way mark.

Left-back Jake McIntyre played the ball into quiet winger Louis Valencia, who found Rikki Cable, who turned Fisher midfielder Billy Walton before stroking his right-footed drive towards goal from 25-yards, which was comfortably saved by Lancaster.

O’Boyle said: “I thought he done well to get the shot away, not enough power really in the shot.

“I thought we actually started quite well for the first five minutes and for some reason or another things weren’t just working really in the first 25 minutes.”

But Phoenix Sports climbed from ninth-place to top thanks to Adjei’s stunning strike six minutes before the break.

Right-back Myles Keizer-Burrows played the ball down the line to Adjei, who sped forward, cut inside before drilling his right-footed shot into the top near corner from 20-yards, Lancaster clutching thin air as he moved to his left.

Referee Alexis Stacchini decided not to caution Adjei despite the goalscorer jumping over the perimeter fencing into the empty terracing behind the goal as he celebrated his wonder-strike.

O’Boyle said: “I think that’s a fantastic goal!   We keep on telling him he’s got a weapon with his pace and start taking people on the outside. He got the ball and he was nice and direct and a great strike at the end of it.  A great goal!

“I weren’t really thinking about what we were going to say at half-time. I still think it was still maybe six minutes to go. It probably did change the half-time team-talk.”

Walton added: “They’ve spread it out wide and he’s cut in and the only time Ashley (Henry-Brown) hasn’t marked him tight the whole game, he’s got a wonder-strike, which in hindsight from that distance should the goalkeeper save it? It’s gone straight over him. It’s gone straight through him more or less so I was disappointed.”

This was the spark that Phoenix Sports needed and a clever diagonal pass from Shaquille Richards found Cable inside the box and despite opting not to shoot first time he brought the ball under control before cutting on to his right boot and curling his shot harmlessly over the bar.

Cable turned Maguire down the left channel before cutting the ball back for Russell Bedford, but the Phoenix skipper sliced his volley wide from fifteen-yards.

O’Boyle said: “Rikki done well there. He got one-on-one with the fella and screwed it back across. It just weren’t a very good finish by Russell really.”

Thunder and lightning bolts made an unwelcome visit in the area either side of half-time.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at half-time.

Walton said: “We said at half-time, we haven’t done anything wrong. We’re playing against a side that had a good result on Saturday and we’re competing and we’re sort of on top of the game so go out and do the same things.”

O’Boyle added: “Our thoughts at half-time, we was sloppy with the possession of the ball.

“I turned round and said to my players’ and said you’ve got 90 minutes to win a football match. We tried to win it in the first ten minutes and when that never worked we sort of panicked and we didn’t know what to do. Sometimes you’ve got to relax and grind teams down. That’s what you’ve got to do sometimes, not panic after ten minutes if you’re not 1-0 up.”

Adjei was released down the right and he cut the ball back to Keizer-Burrows, who whipped in a first time cross towards the far post where Freeman glanced his header wide of the post.

But Phoenix Sports doubled their lead through Adjei’s second of the night.

Fisher went to sleep for McIntyre’s throw-in from the left and Adjei picked the ball up and cut into the penalty area before driving his right-footed angled drive into the bottom near corner from sixteen-yards.

O’Boyle said: “He’s had a good night really. He’s cut inside, a decent strike. Maybe the keeper could have done better but it was a strike at goal. That’s all he can do really. He’s put his foot through it, a good strike and he’s ended up with a brace by the end of the night. He’s done well.”

Star-striker Jon Main was originally on the team sheet at number 12 but his name was scribbled out and replaced by Harrison Carnegie.

“Jon is struggling from Saturday,” revealed O’Boyle.

“He’s played a long time Saturday, he’s not 100% fit and two games in a space of time, it’s not fair to ruin him there. We ain’t trying to kill him. He’s still aching and he’s still recovering from Saturday so he’s got the night off”

Walton felt Lancaster was at fault for the goal.

“Yes, I don’t want to go publically and slate anyone.

“Goals just before (half-time) and just after (half-time), a bad time for us and a good time for them.

“Two-nil down you have to change the game but for some reason we sat deeper and deeper.

“I watched them against Thamesmead and Thamesmead done exactly the same. When Thamesmead pressed and played they totally outplayed Phoenix. When they dropped off they let Phoenix back in the game, exactly what we did.”

Phoenix Sports were dangerous down the left during the second half and Cable twisted and turned his man before cutting the ball back but Richards failed to score against his former club, slicing his shot wide.

Freeman swung in a right-footed free-kick from 35-yards, which stung Lancaster’s fingers, before the keeper made a smart save on the hour-mark.

Richards played the ball through to Freeman, whose right-footed chip from 25-yards looked destined to loop in underneath the crossbar, but Lancaster back-peddled and used his oustretched right-hand to push the ball over his crossbar.

You got the feeling that Walton is going to drop hapless Lancaster for their FA Cup tie on Saturday after leaking nine goals in two games.

Walton said: “Just saves I would expect a goalkeeper to make, nothing spectacular so just a straight forward save from a straight forward free-kick.”

O’Boyle added: “A good little strike. He nearly got caught out the goalkeeper there. Obviously he’s done well to react to that. Ricky’s shot was a decent strike. The keeper’s done well to react to that really.”

Phoenix Sports camped in Fisher’s half for the remainder of the game with the home side offering very little at the other end of the pitch.

O’Boyle was full of praise for his new-look solid central defensive partnership of Scott Whibley and Chris Hill.

He said: “Scott’s come in from Tunbridge Wells, lovely guy, steady Eddie. They’ve had a really good partnership those two, let’s hope it continues!

“They’ve started well, two clean-sheets in a row, let’s see if we can get three and that’s what we’re saying to them tonight.

“As a defender I think you take pride in that and that’s what we learnt last season. We gave away too many silly goals and we want to cut them out.

“I think we’ve got enough people in our team who can score goals. If we can keep them out at the other end it’s normally a decent recipe.”

Whibley clipped a ball down the right flank for the overlapping Keizer-Burrows, who whipped in a cross from the by-line but Freeman cracked his right-footed volley over the bar.

But Lancaster’s blunder gifted Phoenix Sports their third goal in the final fourteen minutes.

Fisher substitute Alfie Roach played a harmless back-pass towards Lancaster who came rushing out towards the corner of his box to kick the ball straight to Freeman, who accepted the gift.  The striker took a touch before slotting his right-footed shot into the back of an empty net from 15-yards.

Walton said: “Just calamitous!  It’s ridiculous! Why not just kick it into the stands? Goalkeeper’s are in goal for a reason, because they can’t play football! That’s it. Period. They can’t play football so they go in goal and they become good goalkeepers. It’s a part of the game, you’ve got to have a goalkeeper and they become very good goalkeepers.

“You don’t dribble around the forward if you haven’t got that ability. He just takes it off him.

“Simon (Halsey) is back on Friday so we’ll sit down on Friday and we have to sit down and decide who we want to put in goal for Saturday’s FA Cup tie.”

O’Boyle said: “Rikki Cable’s done well closing the keeper down. The goalkeeper’s made a bit of a mess-up really.

“Open goal. If he did miss it I don’t think he’ll hear the end of it. It was an easy goal for Ricky. I don’t think he’s going to score many easier goals than that!”

Lancaster made a morale-boosting save when he dived low to his left at his near post to thwart Phoenix substitute Brett Ince scoring with a low right-footed angled drive after Cable’s short corner from the left.

Fisher, who were outplayed during the second half, created a couple of half-chances towards the end.

Maguire played the ball inside to right-back Aaron Seales who had time and space to hit a speculative right-footed drive flashing harmlessly wide of the left-hand post from 35-yards.

Fisher’s bright spark, Kieron Campbell, then drilled his right-footed screamer across keeper French and past the far post from 40-yards.

Walton insists he will turn things around.

“At the moment it’s a repeat of last year. I’ve said to (the players) in there you’re one victory away from all smiles and turning it around. You just have to get that victory as quickly as possible.”

Phoenix Sports travel to Deal Town on Saturday for their first ever FA Cup tie and O’Boyle is delighted with his 100% start to the new campaign.

“On Saturday we’ve played a really good side in Greenwich Borough. They’re not going to lose many matches and we’ve put a fantastic performance in and sometimes you turn up here after Fisher getting beat 6-1 on Saturday.

“I was always a little bit worried mentally our boys just turning up thinking after Saturday all we have to do is turn up and win – not from the management team – but sometimes players actually do think that and that’s something we drilled out of the players so all-in-all I would have taken a 1-0 win here tonight.

“That top of the table malarkey is a complete waste of time at this moment in time.

“Our aspirations for this season are to finish better than last season, more points than last season and just an all-round improvement really.”

Fisher: Ben Lancaster, Aaron Seales, Ashley Henry-Brown, Harvey Hanifan, Calum McGeehan, Billy Walton, Kieron Campbell, Harry Draper (Nick Crowe 76), Bryan Zepo (Jack Robbins 69), Danny Maguire, Junior James (Alfie Roach 62).
Subs: Jack Webber, John Fogarty

Booked: Billy Walton 57, Jack Robbins 90

Phoenix Sports: Rob French, Myles Keizer-Burrows, Jake McIntyre, Russell Bedford, Scott Whibley, Chris Hill, Louis Valencia (Steadman Callender 74), Shaquille Richards (Brett Ince 66), Ricky Freeman, Enoch Adjei (Harrison Carnegie 71), Rikki Cable.
Subs: Ryan Andrews, Danny Kemp

Goals: Enoch Adjei 39, 48, Ricky Freeman 76

Booked: Enoch Adjei 55

Attendance:  124
Referee: Mr Alexis Stacchini (Orpington)
Assistants: Mr Andy Simmonds (Grays, Essex) & Mr Jordan Whitworth (Catford, London SE6)
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