Fisher 3-0 Phoenix Sports Reserves - We're trying to do the best we can to get this club up, says Fisher boss Dean Harrison

Tuesday 23rd January 2018
Fisher 3 – 0 Phoenix Sports
Location St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6NT
Kickoff 23/01/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Tuesday 23 January 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from St Paul’s Stadium

FISHER manager Dean Harrison says he is doing the best he can to get the club promoted at the first attempt following relegation.

Fisher sealed a comfortable 3-0 home win over Phoenix Sports Reserves in front of 75 fans at St Paul’s Stadium to keep their promotion aspirations alive.

K Sports, who come to Rotherhithe on 3 February, are at the summit with 56 points from 23 games, followed by Punjab United with 52 points from their 22 league outings, while third placed Fisher have closed the gap to five points and have 14 league games left to finish in one of the two promotion places.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats in League and Cup, Fisher went in at the break a goal up courtesy of Harry Draper’s bundled finish.

Striker Trey Small crashed in his tenth goal of the season on the volley, before Phoenix Sports Reserves had Tarik Ibrahim’s woeful penalty saved, before Matthew Ramsamy came off the bench to net a third at the death.

Fisher winger Jamie Brown scooped the man-of-the-match award with three assists.

“Good result! I thought the boys played really well, after our last (league) result at Holmesdale, we didn’t want to let the league slide away. It’s still in our grasp,” said Harrison.

“We had a good talk tonight. It was a good result.  I thought they were super-sonic tonight in all honesty, I thought they did really well.

“Three assists from Jamie Brown – he played well. He played well on Saturday in the game against Forest Hill. He had a really good game tonight.

“You never know what you’re expecting especially a midweek game. We thought they might throw in a few first team players to give them minutes.  You never know. We’d knew they’d be a lively team and going forward they came out quick from the first whistle so we knew what we were expecting in that regard.”

Phoenix Sports Reserves manager Ben Kotey said: “I thought on the night Fisher were better than us.  They pressed high, they worked hard and we were fortunate to come in at half-time 1-0.

“I thought they were the better side.  We haven’t played particularly well, so coming out for the second half we made a couple of changes and the defence looked a little bit more solid and we created a couple of more chances in the second half.  It was a bit more of an even game.

“We tried to play out, still trying to get our wing-backs involved in the game. They scored their second goal in the 66th minute and then we got the penalty, which we missed.

“We’re a very young side and it’s a case of game management when under pressure and when we get our opportunities, when they were few and far between, we need to take that opportunity.

“I was disappointed with our performance because we’ve played better during the season and we didn’t play particularly well but even though we didn’t play particularly well we showed a bit of determination to stay in the game.

“I wasn’t happy with our performance collectively so deserved winners for Fisher with the way they approached the game. They approached the game better than we did but we still tried to play football, which I wanted but at the end they were the better side.”

Phoenix Sports Reserves went into the game in fourteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 22 points from 20 games and Kotey’s side have now extended their winless run to four games.

Phoenix Sports’ first team manager Paul Bryon was in attendance and saw his club start well.

Kotey said: “My role is to develop players’ and put them in the shop window for the first manager to watch.  Phoenix Sports is a fantastic football club and Paul’s  taken over from Steve O’Boyle.  Paul’s doing a really great job and the first team are just one place off the play-offs in Bostik South so there’s a lot to play for. 

“It’s a fantastically well run-club, the committee are very supportive of what we’re doing with the reserves and my role and Martin West’s role is to get young players through.

“Several players have come from the under 18s. We’ve got a young side, the oldest one is 24 so to play a team that’s just come down from the division above is a good test for the boys. The whole point is we can put these players in the shop window and Paul comes down to watch them and he’s very supportive and he comes to watch a lot of our games and hopefully one or two of them will get an opportunity during the course of the season, that’s the hope.”

Ibrahim played the ball out to Jonathan Miller-Annor out on the left and he played the ball inside to Callum Flynn, the left-wing-back who placed his left-footed shot across the keeper and past the far post from a central position from 25-yards.

“I thought Phoenix started really well for 10-15 minutes and then I thought we grew into it and got a foot hold on it and I thought we grew into the game first half,” said Harrison.

Phoenix Sports’ right-wing-back Akeeb Adeyemo and Joe Smith, who was on the right-hand-side of a three-man defence, were terrorised by Brown, so much so that Kotey ended the pair’s night just 45 minutes into their debuts for the side.

Kotey brought on David Adekoya (on the right-hand side of a three-man defence) and William Reaville (right-wing-back) in time for the second half.

“The two lads that started the game, it was their first run out this evening so I wanted to have a look at them and see what they had,” explained Kotey.

“Even though it was an important game, I’d try to give players’ opportunities.  You won’t find out about players’ if you don’t put them in games when it matters.

“It was their first game so certain things they did well and other things they could improve on and they know how I feel, so it’s just a case of having another look at these players and see what they’re about.”

Brown whipped in a cross from the left and Small’s left-footed hooked shot from eight-yards was comfortably saved by visiting keeper James Boughtflower in the 15th minute.

Harrison said: “They work well the boys, they’ve done well all season.  I mean whatever wide players we play, they link well and they create chances.  The pitch suits us. It’s the way I want to play, it’s the way I’ve always tried to play, passing the ball in the right areas.”

Phoenix striker Miller-Annor drilled a shot just past the foot of the near post from inside the right-hand side of the Fisher penalty area.

The talented Richie Hamill chipped his left-footed free-kick from the edge of the D over the wall but Boughtflower stepped to his left to make a comfortable catch at head height.

“I thought the keeper set-up a wonder wall to be fair and Richie’s tried to bend it around but he didn’t have enough power on it,” added Harrison.

Kotey added: “I thought first half they came out very positively. We tried to play out from the back and they pressed us quite high and they did a very good job of that and we were uncomfortable with their press so we tried to manage that a little bit better and retain the ball a little bit better so we tried to stay in the game in the first half.

“James, I think, has just turned 18. He was playing for the under 18s last season. He’s a quality goalkeeper. He’s young and got a lot of potential so I’m pleased that he’s getting this type of exposure and experience playing against senior teams. All it can do is hold him in good stead for the future.”

Hamill played a diagonal pass out to Small, who cut the ball back to left-back Jack Rogers and his cross was met by a deflected shot from striker Sam Pekun from 20-yards, which was too comfortable for the teenage goalkeeper.

Fisher deserved their lead when it arrived with 32 minutes and 51 seconds on the clock.

Brown used his pace to reach the by-line on the left before he cut the ball back for Draper to loop his hanging shot over the stranded keeper into the net from eight-yards.

Harrison said: “He did well Drapes.  I’ve been telling the boys to make sure they break those lines, the midfield boys and go and join in those areas and get on the end of things so he did well Harry.  I think by that time we had enough of the game to deserve a lead.”

Kotey added: “We were under a lot of pressure during that period and we didn’t contain them or didn’t really manage the amount of pressure we were under. We didn’t play particularly well in the first half but we were still in the game until half-time.”

Pekun was released down the left and he cut the ball back to Brown, who teed up Draper, who dragged his left-footed shot past the far post from 20-yards.

Phoenix Sports striker Miller-Annor cracked a right-footed volley towards goal from 25-yards, which was comfortably saved by the Fisher keeper in the 40th minute after Ibrahim’s pass inside.

Kotey said: “Jonny’s done really well for us. He’s one of the players that’s had opportunities in the first team. He’s had another chance in the second half where the goalkeeper’s made another save. He’s hitting the target, if it goes in, even better!”

Harrison admitted: “He was in a little bit of noman’s land there Nic and I think the boy has tried to lob him and he just didn’t catch it right.  We know they were a little bit of a danger in behind, they were quite quick so we spoke about that at half-time.”

Fisher – who won the corner count 11-2 – swung in a corner from the left by Small and Luke Haidarovic rose at the far post to steer his header over the top of the near post.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

“Just more or less, keep doing the same things, keep playing, relax on the ball a little bit more try and just pass and pick your passes well and just keep defending and doing the right things,” said Harrison.

“There wasn’t too much wrong at that time. We just had to make sure we kept doing that.”

Kotey added: “We just felt that we haven’t played particularly well and we stayed in the game to come in 1-0 down and that was credit to us.  We were resolute and disciplined to stay in the game.

“We just wanted to get into the final third a little bit more and I thought when we moved the ball quicker, I thought we caused them problems and when we combined in the final third we created one or two good chances.  It was about moving the ball and switching the play.  We seemed to stay in one area of the pitch too much. If we could’ve opened the game up a little bit more and switch the play and try to hurt them in wide areas, I thought we’d get more out of the game.  We didn’t do that as much as I’d like so that was disappointing.”

Fisher were the better side against a young reserve side from a Bostik South Division outfit and they should have doubled their lead only 104 seconds into the second half.

Architect Brown whipped in a cross from the right towards Small at the far post and he knocked his header across goal towards the other post but Pekun steered his header wide of the right-hand post from inside the six-yard box.

Harrison said: “He’s done well Sam. We’ve just signed him. He’s come in and he works hard. He’s very unlucky.  He makes good runs in behind and I thought he worked really hard tonight, I thought he did well.”

Phoenix Sports’ left-wing-back Callum Flynn curled his left-footed free-kick from 30-yards around the wall, forcing Taylor to push the ball away towards safety, stepping high to his right just past the hour-mark.

Small’s corner was cut back to Hamill, who drilled a left-footed rasping drive high into the side netting from a couple of yards inside the Phoenix Sports box.

Fisher striker Small produced a moment of magic to give his side a 2-0 lead with 20 minutes and 22 seconds on the clock.

Brown whipped in a great cross from the right wing towards the near post and Small, who started his career in Bromley’s Academy, brought the ball under control with his chest and as the ball dropped, caressed his right-footed volley into the top right-hand corner from 15-yards.

“He was very composed, it was a lovely goal,” hailed Harrison.

“It was a nice move. Brownie picked him out really well and Trey’s composure just to chest that and volley it in, was really nice, it was nice to watch.  It was a good goal.

“Trey’s doing well for a young lad, he’s doing really well. He’s enjoying his football, his attitude is good, I like him. He’s going to be a rock and roll star, he’s a good player.”

Kotey added: “That was a good finish! When he brought it down and got it under control, it was a well-executed finish. They got behind us and a good delivery and a good goal.”

Phoenix Sports were then given a lifeline but seven-goal Ibrahim failed to take it with a penalty timed at 22:50.

Referee Christopher Dodd judged Haidarovic pulled back substitute Reavill inside the box and pointed to the spot.

Ibrahim stepped up and hit a woeful low penalty, which was comfortably held by Taylor, diving low to his left.

Kotey said: “Tarik’s been in great form for us, he’s scored five in five. He’s scored a lot of goals and we were all confident. He was confident and unfortunately he didn’t’ convert.  He should’ve done – the form he’s been in, he’s been scoring goals on a regular basis and he’s disappointed that he didn’t convert that penalty.

“I felt if we could have got that one goal it just makes Fisher a little bit nervous. We moved the ball a bit better in the second half and that was a casing point where we created a goalscornig opportunity and at any level you’ve got to take that chance and unfortunately we didn’t!

Harrison added: “I thought the referee had an interesting night. I don’t want to be disrespectful. I thought he gave a lot of things to Phoenix, that in my opinion were generous.

“I’m not saying he did it purposely, I thought he had an interesting night. That incident the 17 who the foul was on, I think initially he pulled Luke first to get the ball and they sort of got tangled a bit and Luke’s had a tuck back at him and the referee gave the penalty.

“Luke wasn’t happy about it after but I said to him, ‘look, don’t look back in anger, the ref has given it and it is what it is.’ Nic made a good save and guessed the right way.”

Fisher finished the game on the front foot as Phoenix Sports failed to impress in an attacking front.

Hamill floated in a cross from the right, which was met by Pekun’s glancing header and was gathered by Boughtflower in the final 15 minutes.

Pekun then cut the ball back to Small, who hit a right-footed shot on the turn from 25-yards, which bounced once into the visiting keeper’s hands.

Hamill then cut in from the right and drove a low left-footed angled drive from the right, which was spilt by Boughtflower, low to his left, the keeper grabbing hold of the ball to thwart Ramsamy, who was ready to pounce.

Harrison said: “Our fitness is good, we train twice a week.  We’ve been keeping the boys off the cigarettes and alcohol and they come in and work hard and the last 20 minutes we look strong.  We’re quite strong at the end of games so we haven’t got a problem.”

Phoenix Sports created their last opening in the final seven minutes.

Reavill whipped in a cross from the right and a clearance from Fisher left-back Jack Rogers was cleared out to Miller-Annor, who smacked a shot towards the roof of the net, which was palmed over the bar by Taylor.

Kotey said: “I felt it was a good height for him and it was close to him. Jonny’s left-footed and he’s cut on to his right-foot, which fair play to him, he’s not checked onto his left foot and he’s hit the target and has had a strike on goal. Maybe if it was on his favoured left-foot he may have done better but it was a good save from the goalkeeper.”

Harrison said: “I’m not quite sure what happened there. It wasn’t really cleared and the boy got a shot off and Taylor did well to palm it over.”

Boughtflower dived to his left to parry Ramsamy’s right-footed drive from 25-yards before Fisher wrapped up a comfortable win with one minute and 40 seconds into time added on.

Brown flashed in a low cross from the right towards the far post for Ramsamy to steer his shot over the line from six-yards, despite Reavill’s attempts to clear the ball off the line.

“Ramsamy done well,” added Harrison.

“The boy Jamie, I thought he was excellent all night, worked hard and it just wasn’t the ball in, it was the move leading up to it. We’re playing in the right areas now and there were about three or four nice little passes there, just popping it off and Brownie picked him out and Damo’s put it in. 

“It was a nice goal and do you know what it was a little bit of icing on the cake because I thought it was a good performance tonight and that topped it.”

Reflecting on the final goal, Kotey said: “I felt a few of our players were sort of out of position and didn’t track back. They worked it well down the right-hand side and got in behind us and I feel we haven’t recovered well enough to deal with that attack.

“They’ve gone on and scored a third goal that maybe flattered the scoreline a little bit. Two-nil, I’ve got no issue. Overall, they were the better side and deserved the win.  Three-nil, I’m not so sure about.”

Fisher travel to basement side Crockenhill on Saturday, a side that suffered a humiliating 12-1 home defeat to Holmesdale last time out.

“We’ve got K Sports in two weeks time so we’ve just got to keep going. We’re here once, we’re not going to live forever so we’ve got to make the most of this opportunity and just have a go at it,” said Harrison.

“It’s a promotion push. That’s what we’re here to do so we won’t give up until it’s not possible. We’re still going, K Sports and Punjab have both got to look over their shoulders.

“What have Crockenhill got to lose? From what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard the pitch is not very nice, it won’t suit us.

“Crockenhill have got nothing to lose and they’re the banana skin so I’ve just told the boys you’ve got to go there with the right attitudes and make sure we get the three points.  We’ve just got to do a job on Saturday.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to get this club up and it would be amazing to get back up.  It would be massive, it would be huge. We know this club is at a level it shouldn’t be at.  As a club it should be higher.  Unfortunately, there’s been no money at the club and it’s been in a bit of a mess playing at Dulwich and not having a home and we’re hoping now we can do it with the support of the board and the fans.”

Kotey, meanwhile, takes his side to managerless Lewisham Borough on Saturday in the London Senior Trophy Quarter-Finals.

“It’s nice to be in a cup competition at that stage. Lewisham are a well-established club and we have to prepare properly and prepare well and we have to stay focused,” said the one time Lewisham Borough manager.

“It’s a great opportunity to get into a Cup semi-final but we have to be focused and play better than we did this evening.

“We’ve got quite a few games coming up so it gives me an opportunity to look at the group of players that we’ve got, a young group of players and having to manage and perform consistently two or three games a week.  How do we cope with that? How do we manage that? How do the players deal with that in the games and weeks to come?

“Obviously we want to do better.  The target was to finish higher than we did last season, so hopefully we can improve on that fourteenth position. It’s such a difficult league so we’ve got to work hard and literally take it game by game and deal with each game as it comes.”

Fisher: Nic Taylor, Harvey Brinkley, Jack Rogers, Pat Geddis, George Ede, Luke Haidarovic, Jamie Brown, Harry Draper (Matthieu Ramsamy 73). Sam Pekun (Alfie Collins 90), Richie Hamill, Trey Small (Jack Bullock 86).
Subs: Nathan Hunter, Toyeer Babatunde      

Goals: Harry Draper 33, Trey Small 66, Matthieu Ramsamy 90

Phoenix Sports Reserves: James Boughtflower, Akeeb Adeyemo (William Reavill 46), Callum Flynn, Andrew Jones, Sam Fitzgerald, Joe Smith (David Adekoya 46), Sam Scott, Zac Bryon, Lewis Afflick, Jonathan Miller-Annor, Tarik Ibrahim (Richard Sesay 73).
Subs: Andrew Dythe, Chukwubuikem Osadebe

Booked: Zac Bryon 65

Attendance: 75
Referee: Mr Christopher Dodd (Eltham, London SE9)
Assistants: Mr Daniel Sanchez (Camberwell, London SE17) &
Mr Lanray Alapafujah (Peckham, London SE15)

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