Fisher 2-0 Lordswood - I want us to fight and battle until the end, says Lordswood boss Richard Styles

Saturday 18th March 2017
Fisher 2 – 0 Lordswood
Location St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 5EF
Kickoff 18/03/2017 15:00

FISHER  2-0  LORDSWOOD
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 18th March 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from St Paul’s Stadium

FISHER manager Dean Harrison has challenged the club to give him £100 per week for a striker to keep the club in the division.

 

Harrison claimed his fourth win in 13 games since returning to the club with a vital 2-0 win over Lordswood in this relegation dog-fight at St Paul’s Stadium.

Fisher remain at the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 21 points with seven league games remaining.  Plummeting Lordswood, meanwhile, slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season on 22 points with the same number of games remaining.

Beckenham Town climbed out of the drop zone after beating Corinthian 1-0 at Eden Park Avenue and have collected 22 points, while Erith & Belvedere remain in the bottom four on 23 points with eight games left to play.

Erith Town (28 points), Tunbridge Wells (29) and Bearsted (31) have breathing space, as the relegation places appears to be between two of the current bottom four.

This was a game that neither side could afford to lose.  Fisher had lost their last three games, while Lordswood arrived in Rotherhithe on relegation form of 11 games since a win (three draws).

Fisher held their nerve and sealed only their fifth league win of the season, courtesy of first half goals from winger Alvardo Casado Munoz and a penalty from central midfielder Richie Hamill.

Lordswood lost their captain, central defender Jason Hollick, to a straight red card on the stroke of half-time after conceding the penalty that Hamill kept his composure to tuck home.

“Three points we badly needed, said Harrison.

“It’s huge. We needed it. If Lordswood had beaten us they’d have gone seven clear of us so now we’re a point behind and it drags them back into the battle. It was a massive win.

“Beckenham got a good result so fair play to them. There’s three or four sides in there so it will be a fight to the death, I think.

“Great character.  We trained well this week, we trained really well on Thursday. I looked at how we were going to play and that worked in the first half.

“Second half I didn’t think we did it well enough. I think we played as individuals in the second half, not as a team and we let ourselves down a little bit but first half we took Thursday’s training into the game and it was good.  The boys have been great, the spirit in there is great.”

The pressure is mounting on Lordswood manager Richard Styles following his side’s 21st league defeat of the season.

“It’s pretty obvious, I’m disappointed, I’m not happy. We’ve lost the game. It’s black and white as that. I’m not happy,” said Styles, who has won only eight of his 38 games in charge this season.

“We knew what the circumstances were when we walked in here. Our situation hasn’t changed. The situation this morning is the situation tonight. We’re in a relegation battle and that hasn’t changed for us so it remains and that’s it.  The situation is what it is. We just carry on, we move on.”

Lordswood were to be denied the early breakthrough when goalkeeper Nic Taylor, 25, showed why he has two caps for Montserrat, after only 64 seconds.

Lordswood left-back Bode Olajide looped a throw in to the Fisher box, the ball came out to Sean Bremner, whose right-footed hooked volley from the edge of the box was superbly saved by Taylor’s right-hand, low to his right.

Styles said: “Good shot, good save, it’s an early chance. We started brightly enough. That’s when you need that little bit of luck, I suppose.”

Harrison added: “It was a really good save. He did well Nic. He’s had a good game today.”

Fisher went up the other end and forced visiting keeper Ryan Chandler into making a fine save, too.

Munoz swung in Fisher’s first corner from the left, which was poor and was cleared by first defender Olajide at the near post and Ashley Wright swept his low shot towards goal from 12-yards, which was blocked by the goalkeeper’s legs.

Harrison said: “They came out wanting to have a go and we played that way as well and yes it was quite open for the first 10-15.”

Styles added: “Great save. That’s what’s Ryan’s in there to do and he’s done his job there.”

Lordswood showed more desire than Fisher in a goal-mouth scramble during an open start to proceedings.

Hamill swung in his left-footed free-kick from the left wing, keeper Chandler punched poorly, Dwayne Agyemang poked his shot towards goal, the frame of the goal shook as both sets of players tried to get hold of the ball but Chandler bravely smothered the ball before it rolled over the line.

Harrison said: “You tell me? I don’t know what happened there! I don’t know how that ball hasn’t ended up in the back of the net! They defended well, they threw themselves on the line and the keeper did well in the end, smothered it. It’s just one of them. We could do with all the luck we could get.”

Styles added: “That could’ve gone, anything could have happened there. Charlie Plummer’s saved it on the line and it hasn’t gone in. It hasn’t gone over so he’s looked after himself so I’m just thankful it didn’t go in really.”

Lordswood were to be denied a sixteenth minute lead through another brilliant save from Taylor.

There was a slight delay before the free-kick was taken as Chandler received treatment at the other end of the artificial pitch and Bremner held his hands on his hips to ponder how to deliver the ball.

He swung in the kick from the right towards the near post and Hicham Akhaazan made space inside the box to guide his header towards the top right-hand corner from 12-yards, only for Taylor to dive high to his left to turn the ball behind with his left-hand.

Styles said: “Again Hicham, that’s what he’s capable of. He did everything but score really.

“At that point it was alright, we were comfortable. It’s not panic, we were alright, comfortable as and just carry on really.”

Harrison was full of praise for his goalkeeper, saying, “He did well. He made a couple early on, Nic.  He’s been a good signing. He was sharp today, he was sharp in training on Thursday, they had a good session, the keeper’s and he looked at it today, he was up for it.”

Fisher right-back Toyo Adeshina advanced up the channel to reach the final third and delivered a low cross towards the edge of the Lordswood box where Juan David Devia Pineda took a touch, turned and looped his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 22-yards.

Harrison knew the importance of scoring first and Fisher’s lead arrived with 24 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Camen Bhandal picked up the ball inside Fisher’s half and drove forward, played the ball out to left-winger Craig Hewett, who squared to big target-man Melford Simpson, who charged forward.  He slipped the ball through for Pineda, who poked his shot past Chandler, the ball bouncing off the foot of the left-hand post.  Munoz showed more desire than Lordswood’s central midfielder Grant McIheron on the edge of the six-yard box to get to the ball first to poke the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. McIheron went down like a heap and needed treatment as Fisher celebrated a vital lead.

“It’s where we should be getting round the big man (Simpson).  He did well Melford, he slid the ball through and the two wide boys were around him so good goal, pleased.

“It’s massive, it’s massive.  You don’t want to be 1-0 down. It was good. It took a little bit of pressure off and then from that up until that goal I thought we were on the ascendancy anyway. We were starting to look a bit better and moved the ball better.”

But Styles insisted the goal should not have stood. It’s so easy for a manager to blame the referee rather than his players for conceding.

“There was a foul earlier on Hicham that the ref hadn’t seen,” he claimed.  

“I thought it was blatant.  He’s allowed play to go on, which has killed us a little bit.  They’ve over run us down the left and got through, got a shot and he’s the first one onto it after hitting the post so it’s just hut us against the run of play really where we thought was a valid free-kick we should’ve got.”

Olajide threw another ball into the Fisher box and Charlie Plummer sent his free-header straight into Taylor’s hands from 12-yards.

A sublime 60-yard diagonal pass from Fisher left-back Wright found right-winger Munoz in space but he steered his low angle drive into the foot of the side netting.

Lordswood’s right-back Carl Harrold was booked for dissent, claiming offside and he should have been sent off by referee Paul Greenfield just before half-time after Hollick’s red-card after chopping down Hewett and being spoken to.

Fisher were awarded a penalty and Lordswood were reduced to ten-men on the stroke of half-time.

Fisher right-back Adeshina showed desire to charge forward, sprinted past Olajide and Hollick came across.  Adeshina was going away from goal, Hollick pulled him back close to the by-line and assistant referee Daniel Wyatt flagged.  Referee Paul Greenfield pointed to the spot and after a short delay pulled out a red-card for Hollick.

Hamill stepped up, held his nerve, and stroked his left-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, to double Fisher’s lead one minute and 32 seconds into time added on.

Harrison felt the referee was right to send off Hollick.

“He’s through, he’s about to let one go, so the boy’s pulled him down, that’s the Laws of the game.”

And on Hamill’s first goal for Fisher, Harrison added: “No pressure, tucked it away. Lovely. We missed one at Cray Valley a couple of weeks ago in the first five minutes so we changed the penalty taker and Richie did well, tucked it away nicely.”

And when you’re down on your luck, everything seems to be going against you.

“Well, at that stage the ref was already favouring Fisher by far and giving them a hell of a lot of things and booking our players and just having an instant dislike to our boys,” claimed Styles.

“I probably say it was a penalty but I don’t think it was a sending off because I had a man on the line so it wasn’t the last man.

“Even the ref’s refusing to talk to me now for some reason and this is what I’m dealing with.  It’s just one of those stupid things and this is where referee’s sometimes have to realise that’s it’s not all about them during games. It’s about the two teams playing because he’s made that game all about him today.

“Yes, it was a penalty, I give him that but there’s no way it’s a sending off because I had a man on the line and my goalkeeper so give the penalty and give us half a chance to get us back in the game.

“He’s on the right-hand side, he’s not through on goal, nowhere near through on goal and even now I’ve just tried to ask him in a sensible manner like I’m talking to you and he won’t even talk to me so it’s one of those things.”

Both manager’s were asked their thoughts at half-time.

Harrison said: “They’re down to 10 men, we’re 2-0 up, just keep doing the right things, keep moving the ball and make the numerical advantage count. Keep doing things properly, we’ll win the game, basics.”

Styles said: “I still believed that we were still in the game.  I still believe if we scored first in the next 10 or 15 that they would bottle it and then we would go on and get a point. I still think that now. Had we scored in the second half it would’ve been interesting to see how Fisher would’ve dealt with it because I thought they were poor second half and I think we were the better team.”

Harrold was substituted at the interval but Styles played with three men at the back (Olajide, Blunden and moved Plummer from central midfield to right-back), played three in midfield and three up front.

“We changed things, I didn’t want to go defensive even though I was a man down.  I still wanted to have a go so we changed the system a little bit but we stayed with two up top,” added Styles.

Fisher took nine seconds to almost kill the game but Pineda lashed his shot over the bar after poor defending from Olajide.

Good Fisher build-up play by Hamill and Simpson saw Munoz cut into the penalty area and his dinked shot went across Chandler but Olajide showed no poor defending here, sliding in to clear the ball off the line in the 52nd minute.

But Lordswood started to dominate proceedings as Fisher seemed to declare.

Harrison said: “I thought they came out really well. I thought they went for it.  We knew they would anyway, we told them that at half-time that they would come out and have a go.  I don’t think we started for about 20 minutes, we just couldn’t get going.”

Styles added: “We were up against it because we had 10 men but at the same time the way we played second half we were trying to play better. We were trying to pass better. We created chances we just couldn’t score.  I’m gutted we gave them a clean sheet because they shouldn’t have.”

Akhazzan played a one-two with Remell Davis (two players that have played for Sittingbourne this season) and Akhazzan’s left-footed drive from 25-yards bounced in front of Taylor, who dived to his left to spill, only for the keeper to grab hold of the loose ball with no one else inside his penalty area.

Twenty-six seconds later, Akhazzan cut in and dragged his shot past the left-hand post from similar distance, but Lordswood should have pulled a goal back in the 59th minute.

Lordswood produced a fine cross-pitch move started by Olajide, who burst down the left, played the ball inside to Akhazzan, who rolled the ball inside to Bremner, who played the ball out to Shai Thorley-Porter on the right.  He was given acres of space by Wright to whip in a cross which was smacked over the bar on the volley by Davis’ right-footed 12-yards out.

“That’s something you’re looking back on now and saying if he scores that it’ll be interesting what happens,” said Styles.

“You’ve got to score goals like that when you’re on top and you have those chances you’ve got to score! It’s as simple as that.”

The otherwise quiet Lordswood striker Thorley-Porter skipped past Agyemang in the middle and laid the ball inside to substitute left-winger Kyle McDowall, who drilled his shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

A poor attempt of a pass from Simpson was sliced over to McDowall who threaded the ball through the heart of the pitch to Davis who stroked a low left-footed drive, which was held by Taylor on his six-yard line.

Fisher rode the Lordswood storm and came back to life during the final 20 minutes when they created chances on the break.

Harrison said: “It opened up. We knew that anyway that they would come at us so we knew the game would open up and we’d be able to hit them on the break.”

Styles added: “We was always going to leave ourselves open to be hit on the break and we had to take that as a gamble but I’m just thankful that they didn’t score and we remained in the game throughout.  It’s just one of those things.  They were always going to hit us on the break because we were throwing bodies forward trying to score ourselves.”

The huge Simpson showed tidy feet as he danced down the left with the ball before playing the ball into Pineda in the middle and he laid the ball off to Munoz, who drilled his shot past the foot of the near post from 19-yards.

Adeshina went on another driving run forward down the right and he played the ball out to Pineda, who played Adeshina in behind the Lordswood defence and his poked shot was blocked by Chandler as he swiftly came off his line to ensure the ball rolled behind for a corner.

Praising his keeper, Styles said: “When you’re called upon, he’s got to act. He was superb there. I’ve got no issue with him at all.  He’s done what he’s been asked off and I’m not going to complain about that.”

Lordswood substitute midfielder Peter Huggens showed desire on the half-way line to win the bouncing ball, play the ball up to Akhazaan, whose drive was saved by Taylor.

Simpson held the ball up again, passed to Pineda, who ran forward and Hewett’s first time left-footed drive from 18-yards sailed over the Lordswood bar.

Fisher missed a glorious chance to kill the game off inside the final seven minutes.

Simpson, again, held the ball up, played in Wright who released substitute midfielder Harry Bugden in behind the Lordswood back three and he dragged his left-footed shot across Chandler and agonisingly past the foot of the far post from 15-yards.

“We finished on the front foot,” said Harrison. 

“Like I say, it took us a little while to get going.  I made a couple of substitutions and we settled down a little bit and started attacking but we just lacked quality in the final third where we should’ve finished the game. It should’ve been dead and buried.

“We need to be more clinical. We’re not clinical enough. That’s a 4-0 game today and we’re not clinical enough. We don’t take enough chances, been our problem for the last three weeks and that’s why we’ve lost games.

“We create chances, we get into good areas, decision making’s poor. We haven’t got someone up there putting the ball in the back of the net. Those players cost money unless you’re very, very lucky to get one.”

Pineda played a one-two with substitute right-winger John Ufuah, before riding Blunden’s sliding challenge, and cracking a right-footed rasping drive which was plucked out of the air by Chandler’s outstretched hands above his head.

Lordswood substitute Adam Hooper delivered a deep searching cross towards the far post and Plummer came up from the back to rise to loop his header across goal and past the far post as the game entered injury time.

Lordswood created the game’s final chance when McDowall’s free-kick from the left-flank was hit on the volley by Hooper’s left-foot, which screamed past the left-hand post from sixteen-yards.

Harrison has a zero budget at Fisher but believes if he’s given £100 per week to sign a striker, he will be able to score the goals to avoid relegation on their home-coming campaign. 

He said: “No one wants to get relegated do they? Who wants to be relegated?

“The league below will be as hard to get out of as this one will because the club’s at the top are paying money and this club doesn’t have any money and they’ll have the same problems.

“We need to stay in this league and hopefully we can stay up and someone can see the club with the potential it’s got and the great set-up here and back us. Until that happens mate we’ll be fighting relegation every year.

“You need some budget in this league. You need a budget. You need something. All the top teams pay, most teams in this league pay.  We don’t.

“A fighting fund will be lovely, it will be nice. That will be nice.  I don’t think it’s going to happen, so we’ll keep going with what we’ve got.”

Tunbridge Wells are seven points clear of the relegation zone and Harrison takes his side to Culverden Stadium on Tuesday night where a point or a win takes them out of the relegation zone.

“Massive game, another massive game. We need to go there and get something out of it,” said Harrison.

“They were quick to call our games off, they called the game off twice on the Saturday’s we were meant to play them so they’ll be happy to play us on a Tuesday night. We’ve got to get boys down there, get them out of work and it will suit them but we’ll go there and we’ll have a go.”

Lordswood are next in action next Saturday away to thirteenth-placed Deal Town, now 12 points clear of relegation after beating third-placed Sevenoaks Town 1-0 at home today.

Styles said: “We’ve got to try to get as many points as we can. We just said to the boys that games gone now, we can’t dwell on it, we can’t sulk on it, we can’t kick off about it. What we’ve got to do is just re-group, get ourselves going and then move on to the next one and we have to try to get something out of Deal.”

When asked what relegation would mean to Lordswood, Styles replied: “It will be criminal! It will be absolutely devastating both for myself and both for the club. It’s something that neither of us want and I don’t think we deserve it, but at the same time the league table never lies so if you’re bottom of the league you’re there for a reason.

“I look through my squad every week and I’m happy with it and I’m happy with what I’ve got but ultimately we’ve got to hold ourselves better in games and we’ve got to put points on the board and try to win some games.

“I want everything. I want us to work harder than the other team in every game. I want us to fight and battle until the end and we never stop. 

“We changed the system a little bit today, it didn’t work so we’ll have a look and review ahead of next week and then we rock and roll and go again.

“I just want the boys to give everything. I just want them to give me everything and everything they’ve got.  They did that second half to be fair to them and I can’t rant and rave about it.

“We’re in a fight, we’re in a battle. We were in a battle when we turned up here this afternoon. We’re still in that battle so if we’d have won we’d still have been in a battle so nothing’s changed circumstances wise.

“It’s not all doom and gloom. We just have to pull ourselves up and go again, go to Deal on Saturday and we do our best to get something out of the game.”

Fisher: Nic Taylor, Toyo Adeshina, Ashley Wright, Camen Bhandal, Daniel Flemming, Dwayne Agyemang, Alvardo Casado Munoz (John Ufuah 77), Richie Hamill (Harry Bugden 58), Melford Simpson (Luke Haidarovic 87), Juan David Devia Pineda, Craig Hewett.
Subs: Alhajie Jabbie, Hamid Bangura

Goals:  Alvardo Casado Munoz 25, Richie Hamill 45 (penalty)

Booked: Toyo Adeshina 80, Luke Haidarovic 90, Daniel Flemming 90

Lordswood: Ryan Chandler, Carl Harrold (Kyle McDowall 46), Bode Olajide, Grant McIlheron (Adam Hooper 55), Jamie Blunden, Jason Hollick, Sean Bremner (Peter Huggens 63), Charlie Plummer, Shai Thorley-Porter, Remell Davis, Hicham Akhazzan.
Subs: Tom Carter, Jake Creed

Booked: Bode Olajide 18, Grant McIlheron 29, Carl Harrold 35

Sent off: Jason Hollick 45

Attendance: 85
Referee: Mr Paul Greenfield (Eltham, London SE9)
Assistants: Mr Matt Charles (Chatham) & Mr Daniel Wyatt (Woolwich, London SE18)


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