Fisher 2-3 Corinthian - It's a sign of a good side - these boys don't know when they're beaten, says Corinthian boss Michael Golding

Tuesday 12th March 2019
Fisher 2 – 3 Corinthian
Location St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6NT
Kickoff 12/03/2019 19:45

(after extra time – Corinthian win 3-2 on aggregate)
Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Tuesday 12 March 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from St Paul’s Stadium

CORINTHIAN manager Michael Golding says his players do not know when they are beaten after committing a robbery in Rotherhithe to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The First Leg of this Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Semi-Final tie finished goal-less at Gay Dawn Farm last week, so was a lot closer than Chatham Town’s 4-1 win over First Division side Sporting Club Thamesmead eight days ago.

Fisher got off to a dream start with striker Mathieu Ramsamy racing through and slotting home his seventh goal of the season after only 138 seconds into this Second Leg.

Fisher were in a commanding two-goal lead when central midfielder Pat Geddis buried a downward header following a set-piece to score only his third goal of the season just three minutes before the break.

But Corinthian pulled off a dramatic late comeback that Manchester United would have been proud off.

Oscar Housego smashed in a free-kick to score his eighth goal of the season in the last minute of normal time, before Corinthian snatched a controversial equaliser – timed at 51 minutes and 42 seconds – through an own goal from Mudiagha Wanogho.

With away goals only counting after extra time, Fisher knew they had to score in extra-time but there was little excitement or goalscoring opportunities during this period.

Corinthian booked their place in the Final, courtesy of Sam Bewick’s bouncing 35-yard free-kick to score his nineteenth goal of the season.

Golding, who has not lost to Fisher in five games this season and return here on the penultimate game of the season, said he was feeling “ecstatic” at the final whistle.

“I thought we were going out with a bit of a whimper. I don’t know the time of the two goals but an unbelievable free-kick from Oscar Housego, who I thought was tremendous tonight and that’s what this side have got this year. They keep plugging away and doing their bits and I thought over the 120 minutes we deserved it.”

Furious Fisher manager Dean Harrison pointed the finger of blame at the defeat to referee Joseph Dann-Pye, who controversially added too much time on to the end of the game.

“Interesting, we’ve just lost to Corinthian and we’re talking about referee’s again,” said Harrison.

“You tell me where it came from and how long we played? He’s played seven minutes, lets say, a bit more, seven and a half, nearly eight minutes.

“He’s signalled over to the bench there was five. The linesman (Ross Mortimer) didn’t seem to know how long there was because we asked him. He signalled over five and we said ‘are we putting five up?’  The linesman didn’t know so we didn’t put the board up with the added time because he didn’t know what was going on and when I asked the referee at the end he’s told me six although he’s signalled over five so he’s found six minutes from somewhere and they’ve scored in what? The seventh?

“So, it’s gone from five to seven, there was no stoppages in added time. I don’t know where he got five or six from anyway. Whatever he did add, nobody seemed to know!

“I’m bemused, I’m just bemused. When I asked him where he found those six minutes from, when he said it was six at the end of the game, he said to me ‘after they scored their first goal your goalkeeper kept the ball in the goal’ and I said ‘what for six minutes? That’s where you find six minutes from?’ and he just looked away because he had no answers. It’s an absolute joke mate!”

Corinthian went into the game still top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 69 points and have nine games left to play before they pull off a shock title-winning campaign, similar to when Leicester City won the Premier League title in 2016.

Cray Valley follow on 67 points from 29 games and Fisher are in third on 65 points with eight games remaining and Chatham Town are in fourth-place with 62 points from 28 games.

Watched by a crowd of 201, Fisher got the start that they wanted as Corinthian – who were unbeaten in 16 wins before this game - put it on a plate for them.

Golding had three men at the back with Jack Healey (right), Jai McKinley (centre) and Jack Bath (left), and Healey’s poor pass forward was intercepted by Ramsamy, who skipped past two men on a darting run towards the box, before slotting a right-footed drive from 22-yards across the keeper to find the bottom far corner.

Harrison said: “Good finish. We put Damo through the middle tonight. I wanted to get them with pace and I put the quick three boys (Small, Ramsamy and Kasai) up top.  We knew they’d struggle against that tonight and they did.

“If our decision making was a little bit better and the quality was a little bit better we would’ve put the game to bed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It was a good start. Damo did well.”

Golding added: “We came out and gave them a goal after three minutes. Stuff like that we shouldn’t be doing.

“We tried to play into an area – we go through all that stuff with the boys.  Jack Healey’s played a poor pass, which he’s held his hand up for, but we’ve given him the ball in an area that he particularly didn’t want, then tried to go long that Aiden Prall could’ve done and it just cost us a goal early on. 

“They wanted that early goal because they’re very negative and they put men behind the ball.

“You’re kind of looking round and let’s see where our characters are at. It’s been going well for us recently. We’ve been on a really good run since the Chatham game at the start of December but generally I thought for 45 minutes we were nowhere near it.”

Fisher’s 15-goal scoring midfielder Rob Brown drilled a 22-yard free-kick towards goal, which deflected off his team-mate and flashed harmlessly wide of the target.

Corinthian keeper Aiden Prall was called into action in the 17th minute when he dived to his right to parry Brown’s right-footed drive from 22-yards after latching onto Ramsamy’s pass.

Golding said:  “Aiden is a very good goalkeeper.  Fisher on the counter-attack are lightening quick and it’s always what you need to be careful off, playing them on the plastic pitch,” said Golding.

“They came last week with a game plan, which worked. They were more than happy with a 0-0 last week and when you go 1-0 up after three minutes it justifies what you’ve got to do but it was a positive save from Aiden.”

However, just 24 seconds later, Corinthian went up the other end and Conor Johnson struck a right-footed half-volley flashing just wide of the right-hand post from 25-yards, as the attacking midfielder aimed for the bottom corner.

Corinthian were denied an equaliser in the 24th minute, courtesy of a brilliant save from Fisher keeper Daniel Wheeler and the crossbar.

Corinthian left-wing-back Steven Ita whipped in an out-swinging cross towards the far post. The ball was smacked on the hooked half-volley by right-wing-back Kameron Gyebour, which was destined to fly into the top far corner.  Wheeler dived high to his right to palm the ball onto the crossbar and the ball dropped for Corinthian striker Luke Tanner, who slashed his low shot back across the keeper from a tight angle inside the six-yard box and Fisher cleared their lines.

Golding said: “I thought the save was unbelievable!  He’s a very, very good goalkeeper. It was a great shot from Kameron. He’s been very patient recently. He’s waited and sat on the bench for his chance for a long time and we rotated slightly tonight and Kameron’s come in and he was very good and the one bright spark in the first half.

“How Luke’s not scored, I’m not quite sure. It looked a tight angle and he had to score. It’s come out to him quite quickly and he’s done well to get something on it but Luke will be disappointed he’s not scored there!”

Harrison added: “It was a great save! I stood right behind it and I thought it was top corner! How he’s got a finger to it, I will never know. He’s been great for us this season Dan. That was a top save.”

Both sides were guilty of not putting their foot on the ball as the game was played at a frenetic pace.

Fisher had a couple of long-range shots from Brown and Ritchie Hamill, which sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, before doubling their lead with 41 minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

There aren’t many better set-piece specialists in this league that can put a free-kick on a plate than Fisher left-back Hamill and his free-kick from the right channel was of high quality as the ball was whipped in towards the penalty spot.

Geddis ran onto it from within a crowd of players and buried his downward header across the keeper to find the far corner from 12-yards.

Harrison said: “It was good. We’re good at them. We know we can score from them, pleasing.

“It’s never won at 2-0 and we know Corinthian are a good side and they’re not going to give up. They’re not top of the league for no reason. They’re a good team so it’s never over. I told the boys in there the next goal was massive. We knew if we got it, it was done, at 3-0, they weren’t coming back.”

“I thought Geddis was their best player in the first half,” admitted Golding.

“He picked up all of the first and second balls. We went a little bit longer than we normally do with the two up front (Brown and Tanner) but Geddis was good.

“It was a soft free-kick to give away, debatable, but Steven Ita hasn’t gone back in and picked up his man and we see Geddis is standing by himself in the middle of the box and Ritchie Hamill has got a great delivery.  Again, it’s one of their weapons, they play for free-kicks. They play for the counter and when they’ve got delivery like that you can understand it. It was very poor from our point of view.”

Corinthian midfielder Housego over-hit a free-kick which bounced all the way through to Healey, flicking his shot towards goal, which was comfortably gathered by Wheeler at the near post.

“Again, another half-chance.  I thought the chances in the first half were relatively even. They’ve taken their two chances. Kam’s had his shot and the keeper’s made the unbelievable save,” added Golding.

Fisher central midfielder Andrew Mott was left in space to flash a long-range drive flashing past the post as Fisher went in at the break with a deserved two-goal lead.

Harrison said: “My thoughts are just keep doing what we’re doing. There wasn’t much to change. All they was doing was shelling it, which we needed to be aware of and try to pick up the second ball. 

“Johnson was dropped into pockets sometimes, which we know they like to do, so it was just a case of being aware of those things and dealing with that. Other than that we knew we can hit them on the break, which we did and if our quality was a bit better we would’ve finished the game before they got their first goal.”

Golding admitted: “Absolutely, of course you’re thinking that (we’ve lost) but we’ve got faith in these squad of boys. They’ve been unbelievable this year, where we are, which nobody expected and we’re doing extremely well and they’ve got that little bit of belief and that little bit of determination that they will keep going and plugging away and they’ll keep doing it.  At 45 minutes, you’re thinking it’s a long way back!

“Sam Groombridge took the team talk and there wasn’t any screaming our shouting. There wasn’t any paint being ripped off the walls. We tried to be as constructive as possible. 

“The boys knew they were letting themselves down. It’s the worst 45 minutes that we’ve put together for a very, very long time.

“We just wanted to keep asking questions, keep putting the ball in the right areas, keep getting in and around them and pick up the second balls.

“We reminded them you get one chance in a cup, you get 38 league games to put things right. We had 45-50 minutes, whatever it was in the second half, to try to put this right.”

Corinthian put in a flat performance and failed to capture the impressive form that has put them in the driving seat in this exciting title race and they looked ordinary for 88 minutes tonight.

The second half lacked excitement and Corinthian had to wait 19 minutes to create a half-chance.

Johnson played a crossfield pass out to substitute wide-man Ollie Milton, who played the ball inside to Shaun Brown but the quiet targetman was closed down and the ball took a deflection and Wheeler stepped to his left to comfortably gather.

Corinthian showed character inside the final 20 minutes of normal time to pull off a great comeback.

Housego played the ball inside to Johnson, who dug the ball out from under his feet before hitting a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which forced Wheeler to dive to his right to tip the ball around his post.

Golding said:  “A good effort from CJ. He’s got himself through 120 minutes tonight, which he was one of the boys we had question marks before the game with a couple of niggly injuries but he’s dug in and put in a great shift but the keeper of Dan Wheeler’s quality, that’s a good save from him.”

Fisher created an opening when Ramsamy played the ball inside to Mott, who drove at the Corinthian defence before playing the ball out wide to Trey Small ion the right. He teed up Mott, who curled a first time shot over the crossbar from 22-yards.

Wheeler’s big kick down the heart of the pitch was flicked on by Fisher substitute targetman Kushal Campbell-Palmer but Ramsamy failed to find the finish, looping his hooked right-footed volley over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Corinthian were cursing their bad luck for a second time when they struck the crossbar in the final 12 minutes.

Wanogho pushed over Brown some 28-yards from goal and Bath stroked his right-footed free-kick over the wall and over the keeper’s right shoulder and looked on in despair after the ball crashed against the crossbar.

“A great effort from Bath. He stands around all our free-kicks and he always tries to put his hands up (to take them),” said Golding.

“We’ve got a range of boys who can put the ball in and around an area and it was an unbelievable strike from Bath to beat the keeper all ends up and you’re just starting to think at that point with 13 minutes to go, it’s probably not going to be our night.”

Harrison added: “A good free-kick. They’ve got some good free-kick takers in and around the box. He was unlucky there, it was a good effort.”

Corinthian substitute Sam Bewick had two bites of the cherry in the final five minutes but his 35-yard half-volley bounced past the foot of the far post, as Wheeler seemingly had it covered.

Corinthian looked dead and buried going into the final moments of the game and on this performance it would have been so easy to write off their title chances too.

But big games call for big players and in Housego and inspirational captain Bath, Corinthian found it when they desperately needed it.

Housego smashed a right-footed free-kick into the roof of the net from 25-yards, which left Wheeler rooted to the spot. The seemingly consolation goal was timed at 44 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

“A great free-kick! You just think we came down here in the FA Vase and we were 3-0 up at half-time and then it went three-all and we drew four all in extra-time and we said that to the boys at half-time. 

“Listen, they’ve come back from a 3-0, we can definitely come back from a 2-0!

“Oscar’s got that quality about him. He’s been in and out more this year then maybe what he has done previously but he’s still a young kid and he’s got a great future ahead of him but I thought his overall performance was very good and the goal topped it off for him.”

Harrison added: “A good free-kick,  another one from the edge of the box. I’m not sure if that’s not a free-kick. I just asked Motty in there. He said it might’ve been, it might’ve not. It was one of them. I thought the boy threw himself on the floor if I’m honest and the ref’s given it. I thought he gave a few things to them tonight, which were very questionable!”

The referee signalled over to the Fisher dug-out but no board was raised by a Fisher official so no one knew how much time would be added.

Key incidents during stoppage time was the introduction of big target-man Stephen Adeyemi (49:05) and Mott’s booking (51:25).

Corinthian keeper Prall launched a big kick upfield and Bath flicked the ball on and the ball bounced off the chest of Fisher centre-half Wanogho and bounced into the bottom left-hand corner – the goal timed at 51 minutes and 42 seconds on the clock.

“Jack Bath is desperate to claim a goal and an assist tonight,” said Golding.

“I think at that stage it’s absolutely kitchen sink time! Aiden’s launched a big hopeful ball into the box and that’s what it was but it’s into an area where it’s asked a question.

“Jack’s got his head to it and I’ve said numerous times Jack’s been unbelievable this year. He’s moved into centre-half and he’s really, really improved as a player and he’s learning the position and he’s bene a real leader for us this year and he’s driving the side forward.

“When that goes in and it’s 2-2, you’re ecstatic and we’ve been on the other side of it. We’ve had other teams come back and beat us or nick late equalisers and it’s devastating for the other team.

“Fisher will feel they’ve done enough in the 90 minutes not to deserve that but I just said to the boys in there, it’s a sign of a good side just to keep plugging away and keep doing it and these boys don’t know when they’re beaten!

“It’s a massive cliché, it’s a special group of players. I’ve not known a changing room like it. They’re a very, very close-nit squad, they work incredibly hard for each other.  We know what we’re good at and we know our limitations and that’s probably where we’ve improved and progressed as a side. We’ve very much aware of what we are and what we’re not.”

A furious Harrison added: “I don’t know who it’s touched, it just flew through and hits someone and gone in.

“We haven’t defended it well enough. The referee or not referee it’s not his fault. We haven’t defended the free-kick well enough. We’ve conceded three from set-pieces tonight.

“What’s going through my mind is where’s this time come from? How long are we going to play? Are we going to keep playing until they’re going to get a third?  I’m wondering, I don’t know where it’s come from? I’ m bemused, I’m still bemused now!”

There was an observer at this game making notes on the referee’s performance and Harrison was asked what he wants from The Football Association to improve standards in this League.

“Do you know what, if it was just me, I’d think maybe it is just me, maybe I’m paranoid and maybe I’m seeing things wrong?

“I read it on your website every week. I speak to other managers every week. The standard of refereeing at this level is not good enough, it’s nowhere near good enough!

“They’re not consistent enough. Everything he did tonight was not consistent and you look at the game at the end of it and think referee’s are deciding games again with decisions.

“Players can have a bad game and not do well for a season or half a season and they’ll be gone from the club and replaced. Referee’s just go out there every week. It’s like they’ve got carte blanche to do what they want!”

A couple of kicks later the referee blew his whistle with 52 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock.

With away goals counting after extra-time, Corinthian were in the box seat for the next half-an-hour.

Golding said: “I told my boys to keep turning the screw. When a team scores two goals in five minutes at the end of the game, we’ve got the momentum. They visibly looked tired. I thought we looked fresher and we’ve got the beauty of the away goals after extra-time so you’re trying to work out do you stick or twist?

“I don’t know how many of them (my players) are aware of the League rules so you don’t want to give them too much information that they start thinking and sit off too much so we absolutely went out to try to get the next goal and we felt there was another goal in the game and fortunately enough we were able to get it!”

Fisher lacked firepower for extra-time because Chandler Kasai, Brown and Ramsamy were all withdrawn before the start of extra-time.

“You’ve just got to stay strong now,” added Harrison.

“I’ve made a substitution right at the death. I’ve taken Damo off and put big Stephen Adeyemi on so we had a problem because I had to totally reshuffle everything and I knew it was going to be a problem in extra-time.  We just needed to stay strong and try to nick something.”

Extra-time brought little incident, other than Corinthian’s winner, which came 11 minutes and 10 seconds into the first period.

Bewick swung in a free-kick from 35-yards, which should have been gathered by Wheeler but a whole host of bodies in front of him caught him out and movement in front of him ensured the ball bounced and curled into the far corner.

“Sam Bewick has been on fire since he’s come back from his operation,” said Golding.

“We didn’t really want to risk him tonight. We’ve got an important game (at home to Crowborough Athletic) on Saturday. We weren’t too sure how his knee was going to hold up on the astro.

“Sam felt there was a gap there at the near post to have a shot. We’re expecting the ball to go in and area. We’ve been very good from set-pieces with Bath, Oscar and Bewick. The boys have got that licence to go and have a shot if they need to or they feel like they’re in the right area and I’m feeling elated when it goes in!”

Harrison claimed: “It’s not a foul. It wasn’t handball and I’ve spoken to everyone who was on this side (clubhouse) of the pitch. We could see from where we was, the boy pushed Motty in the back. He’s clearly nudged him, which has moved him onto the ball.  The boys hit his arm because he’s nudged him off balance right in front of the referee and he’s given a free-kick. It’s never a free-kick in a million years!

“It was not good enough defending. I’ve just told them in there. That’s two free-kicks that wasn’t dealt with properly.”

Referee Dann-Pye failed to send off Fisher targetman Adeyemi in stoppage time despite being on a booking and putting one on Bewick down the left touchline.

Observers watch referees yet the same mistakes are happening week-in-week-out. The standard is dropping and The Football Asssociation have to do something about it.

“I literally have no idea how he stayed on the pitch,” bemoaned Golding.

“You don’t want people sent off but the Laws of the game.  Adeyemi’s kicked out. Sam’s on the counter-attack. He’s booked young Jacob Gilbert for his first foul because ‘he’s stopped a counter-attack.’

“Sam’s been booted up in the air by Adeyemi and the ref’s decided that’s not a second yellow but fortunately it hasn’t changed anything but you want the referee to get those decisions right!”

Harrison added: “It’s a second yellow! He hasn’t booked him there so yes ok.  He might’ve done it or might’ve not but there again, it’s that inconsistency. It’s like their either yellows or they’re not yellows. He’s giving them all game, do it or don’t do it!”

Fisher needed a miracle in the second period and threw bodies forward and missed a glorious late chance to make it a grandstand finish.

Wanogho crossed the ball into the danger area from the right-hand side of the penalty area but the ball bounced off Small at the near post inside the six-yard box.

Mott floated a cross into the Corinthian box but Small’s composure inside the box was lacking for a second time and the ball flashed wide.

Golding revealed he is seeking revenge on Chatham Town in the Final – should Sporting Club Thamesmead fail to pull off a miracle in next week’s Second Leg at Maidstone Road.

The Final is expected to take place at Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge on Saturday 4 May.

“James Collins said it a few weeks ago when Chatham got through to the Kent Senior Trophy Final, it’s a day out and reward for everyone at the club.

“I’m just delighted for our small band of supporters, the players and the club, everyone. It will be a good occasion.

“We’ve got Chatham or Sporting Club Thamesmead so we’ll go and have a watch of that. Chatham have got a great lead and Chatham have beaten us twice so far this season so we’ll definitely be looking for revenge if we end up playing them.”

Harrison admits he faces a tough challenge to pick up his players ahead of their trip to Bearsted on Saturday.

“We’ve got eight games left, we’re still in (the title race) believe it our not because anything can happen in football.

“Corinthian dropped points at Glebe on Saturday (1-1 draw) so they’re getting a little bit nervy as well and it’s getting to that end of the season so we have to keep going.

“Whatever happens we’ve had a good season but we don’t want to cave in now because of this and be downhearted and think we have nothing to play for. We need to play and keep going, we’ve got a tough game on Saturday.

“Bearsted are a good side. They were a good side here and they’re good at home. That won’t be easy and it’s going to be hard picking these lads up.”

Harrison thanked the fans for turning out and was disappointed he couldn’t lead the reformed club to their maiden cup final.

“Please come back! Whatever team you’re supporting they’ve seen a good game of football. It was exciting, there were incidents. I mean where are you going to get that for eight quid? It’s great that the people came out tonight and supported the local club, it’s brilliant!”

Fisher: Daniel Wheeler, Harvey Brinkley, Ritchie Hamill, Pat Geddis, Mudiagha Wanogho, Daniel Flemming, Trey Small, Andrew Mott, Mathieu Ramsamy (Stephen Adeyemi 90), Rob Brown (Harry Tobin 74), Chandler Kasai (Kushal Campbell-Palmer 66).
Subs: Jacob Skelly, Afilabi Soyemi-Olade

Goals: Mathieu Ramsamy 3, Pat Geddis 42

Booked: Andrew Mott 90, Ritchie Hamill 99, Pat Geddis 101, Stephen Adeyemi 102

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Kameron Gyeabour (Ollie Milton 62), Steven Ita, Jai McKinley, Jack Healey, Jack Bath, Jamie Billings (Jacob Gilbert 66), Oscar Housego, Shaun Brown, Luke Tanner (Sam Bewick 66), Conor Johnson.
Subs: Luke Exall, Sam Groombridge

Goals: Oscar Housego 90, Mudiagha Wanogho 90 (own goal), Sam Bewick 102

Booked: Oscar Housego 36, Ollie Milton 73, Jacob Gilbert 76, Jack Healey 99

Attendance: 201
Referee: Mr Joseph Dann-Pye (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Ross Mortimer (Sidcup) & Mr Silvester Aina (Belvedere)