Fisher 0-3 Millwall - We’ve got players’ who want to play for the club, we want to play for the fans and play for the badge. It sounds corny but it’s so true, says Fisher boss Allan Fenn

Friday 12th July 2019
Fisher 0 – 3 Millwall
Location St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6NT
Kickoff 12/07/2019 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Friday 12 July 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from St Paul's Stadium

FISHER manager Allan Fenn has revealed his side will be operating without a playing budget in this season’s Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign.

The Fish were surprise packages during Dean Harrison’s final season in charge of the club, having finished in third-place in the table and Harrison attended the game supporting his beloved Millwall, whilst keeping tabs on the new-look Fisher.

Fenn made his Fisher managerial debut with a goal-less draw at home to Sutton Athletic last Saturday, before beating Kensington & Eailing Borough 3-2 on Wednesday night and he made a total of 14 substitutions against Kevin Nugent’s young Lions.

That well-known, disliked famous football family had another goalscoring hero at St Paul’s Stadium as a striker going under the name of Trialist scored twice in the first half to give Millwall the advantage going into the break.

If fans are paying money to watch teams play then The Football Association must tell all club’s to issue the real names of players’ so fans and reporters actually know who they are watching!

Millwall added a third inside the final 16 minutes when substitute striker Sean O’Brien converted the second penalty of the game.

“First of all, really appreciate Millwall coming down, great lads there with the coaching staff with Kevin Nugent, who I’ve known for years and a few other lads,” said Fenn.

“We knew they’d be bright, energetic, have bags of quality and pace and we had to have a game plan to try to sit deep and hit them on a certain counter attack that we were looking for.

“Unfortunately, we gave away a penalty that we believe wasn’t and the second goal was poor defending and the third goal was a pen but overall I thought we applied ourselves very well.

“I thought the boys carried out the instructions that I asked of them very well, fitness levels carried better and it was a good test against a good young side, who have got a lot of quality going forward and we more than held our own. It was just a few mistakes that we made that cost us.”

Fisher kicked-off and immediately lost possession in the middle of the park and Millwall winger Jay Barton drove towards the edge of the Fisher penalty area and laid the ball on the outside to Trialist (9), who drove his shot into the foot of the side netting.

“I think we got a bit over-rawed with the start, the occasion playing against Millwall.  Like I said to them, let’s forget about the occasion, it’s 11 v 11 at the end of the day,” said Fenn.

“We didn’t start off very well but then we came back into it. We’ve got about four or five lads out unavailable out injured or on holiday so we will strengthen and today it was about learning what we’ve got, who can play how we want them to play and carry out the instructions.  It was a good lesion for me personally and the boys have come out of that with good stead.”

Millwall got out the traps swiftly and created their second chance in the seventh minute.

Winger Jayden Davis floated in a free-kick from the right, Fisher failed to clear their lines and the ball came out to Barton, who hit a first-time right-footed drive screaming over the crossbar from 22-yards.

Fisher weathered the early Millwall storm and were to be denied the lead in the 13th minute, courtesy of a brilliant one-handed save from Joe Wright.

Rob Brown floated in a corner from the left and Dominic Bristow met the ball with a header at the far post, which he buried through a crowded penalty area, the ball taking a wicked deflection but Wright dived to his left and used a strong left-hand to push the ball behind for the home side’s third and final corner.

“He did pull off a good save. We had good opportunities at the start.  We had two or three good chances but against teams like these professional sides, you have to take them,” admitted Fenn.

Fisher created their second chance when Brown delivered a poor free-kick into the penalty area and the Lions failed to clear their lines and let in Fisher’s left-winger Ijah Currie-Wilson, who ran into the box to stroke a low right-footed shot, which forced Wright to make a vital block low to his left.

Fenn said: “We should’ve tested the keeper more than we did but the boys applied themselves well and carried out the instructions and we were just up against a little bit more luck, with a bit more quality, a bit more composure we would’ve given them a problem, I’m sure.”

Millwall grabbed the lead, however, with 27 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock.

Reuben Duncan released striker Nana Boateng down the left channel and he cut into the box and was heading towards the by-line, only for Fisher centre-half Ade Oluwo to cut across him and tried to tackle with his right-boot only to clip the Millwall striker and down he went.

Trialist 9 stepped up and goalkeeper Chris Clark went to his right and got a hand to the ball but couldn’t prevent the ball finding the back of the net.

With the new Law coming into force during the Women’s World Cup with the keeper must having their feet on the line, it appears that the art of saving penalties will be rare this season.

“Ade was pretty adamant along with a few of the players’ that it wasn’t a penalty, it was a coming together,” claimed Fenn.

“Wally James, the referee, is in pre-season as well, I’ll let him have that one. He’s made a mistake but I’ll let him have that one.

“The keeper got his hand to it, maybe could’ve kept it out but I think the starting position of the goalkeeper, the new Laws, it didn’t help the situation.

“It’s a guessing game. A lot of keeper’s have their own routines when it comes to pens and a lot of it is guess work.  By the time you guessed the ball’s gone past you.

“We’ve tried to cope with the new Law but I can’t see any benefit for the goalkeeper’s because you can only keep one foot on the line. It’s all for the attackers’ benefit really but good reflexes and a bit of luck and he’ll save the next one.”

Millwall should have doubled their following their second and last corner of the night.

Davis delivered a corner from the left,  the ball was knocked down by Trialist 9 and Boateng hooked his shot across the keeper and past the far post at the far post.

Millwall went into the break with a two-goal advantage, the goal timed at 45 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock.

Fisher left-back Chris Lockwood was guilty of giving possession away, Boateng drove forward and it had to be Trialist 9 whom got on the scoresheet again, hitting a lovely shot on the turn across Clark to find the bottom far corner.

“Disappointed because Chris Lockwood is a very good player, technically very good and he gave the ball away far too cheaply,” said Fenn.

“There was another couple of mistakes (we made) after that. We could get better all round as a team and we didn’t and they punished us for it.”

Reflecting on his side’s first half showing, Fenn replied: “We started disappointingly because we should’ve been on par, even been in front.  The game plan of frustrating them was going well. It was a case of how we impose ourselves more going forward because we didn’t have an outlet and that’s what we tried to fix. We did it a bit better at the start of the second half.”

Fenn remains on the look-out for a prolific centre-forward, who is willing to play for the club for nothing.

“I’m looking for a centre-forward. We need experience and quality. I’ve got a centre-forward (Jamie Yila) whose young and bursting with potential but we need composed experienced players in our side.”

Fisher started the second half by creating a couple of really good chances to pull a goal back as Millwall switched off, having made seven changes at the interval.

Lockwood’s fine pass put lone targetman Jamie Yila through on goal and he should have done better than drill a shot into the side netting when he had substitute goalkeeper Leighton Fanshawe to beat after just 79 seconds.

“I know and that’s the thing we have got to take those chances! It doesn’t matter who you play against, Millwall or whoever you play. At the end of the day you’ve got opportunities like that, you’ve got to take them,” insisted Fenn.

Fisher right-back Luke Thomas then raced towards the by-line and he cut the ball back for Martin Begg, who dragged his shot across Fanshawe and past the far post.

“Luke Thomas is a great attacking threat for us down the right-hand side. He’s got bags of pace and he’s picked out Begg and I’m sure in a couple of weeks time, it would’ve been a goal for us,” said Fenn.

Millwall substitute central midfielder Jacob Munting stroked a left-footed free-kick straight into Clark’s midriff from 30-yards, the Fisher keeper stepping to his left to make a comfortable save.

The introduction of former AFC Croydon Athletic left-winger Billy Brown was a good move as he impressed by making some pacey runs and causing Millwall’s Trialist right-back all sorts of problems after coming on for Fisher’s part-timers in the 59th minute.

Seconds after coming on, Brown cut in from the left wing into a central position and dragged his shot just past the left-hand post from 18-yards.

“He’s scored two goals for us the other day on Wednesday.  He would’ve been starting tonight but he pulled up with a knee problem yesterday that he was quite concerned about,” revealed the Fisher manager.

“Bright as a button and he turned up wanting to play and I said ‘well hold on you’ve been injured!’

“We gave a brief fitness test kept on him and the main thing is looking after the boy himself but he seemed raring to go so we threw him on.

“He was at AFC Croydon Athletic and Billy got recommended to me by someone.  He was doing really well, he’s bright as a button and he’ll only get better.”

Millwall went close to increasing their lead with their next chance in the 28th minute but O’Brien’s right-footed free-kick from 22-yards curled just past the right-hand post.

Millwall scored their third goal from the penalty spot, the goal coming with 28 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

A mistake by returning centre-half Karolis Atutis let in the returning Duncan, who went down after being tripped and O’Brien emphatically beat substitute keeper Chris Vilanucci, the ball heading just left of centre.

Fenn said:  “That was a clear pen. He got the wrong side. We started to tire during the last 20 and I brought some fresh faces on.   They haven’t played 75 minutes since April so it was a case of trying to freshen it up a little bit and they just done us for pace at the back with Karolis.”

Duncan’s lay-off set up O’Brien, who dragged his shot across the keeper and past the far post from 18-yards at the end of the game.

Hopefully, Millwall Community Trust who run the stadium, will replace the many floodlight bulbs that no longer work at this facility because the middle of the pitch was dark.

Fisher are next in action next Thursday, 19 July, here against Saffron Walden Town and Fenn took the positives from tonight’s outing.

“We get out of it a lot of questions answered. It tells me the players temperament and attitude and how they prepare for the game, the in-game management, how we can get better? What’s the positives, what’s the negatives? Loads to learn from tonight to take forward.

“Now we’ve got a few days off until Tuesday and we’ll be doing a fitness session and next Thursday we’re at home for the next game so we’ve got a few days off to recover and recuperate.  We’ve had a tough week, three games in six days so it’s a case of recovery.

“At the moment I’m pleased with what we’ve built. I’m pleased with what we’ve got coming back and I’m pleased where we’re going.

“The best thing they’re all here for nothing, they want to play for the club and play for the badge.

“I want to take it to the next level and that’s promotion and getting the club more advertising, more sponsorship, more investment, which will then go to the staff and the playing staff because we’ve not got a penny between us at the moment, which I knew.

“But we’ve got players’ who want to play for the club, we want to play for the fans and play for the badge. It sounds corny but it’s so true and that’s what we’ll try to re-build here.”

Fisher: Chris Clark (Chris Vilanucci 69), Luke Thomas (Issac Mytanda 69), Chris Lockwood (Michael Williams 59, Harvey Brinkley 77)), Dominic Bristow (Elias Armar-Tackie 19), Ade Oluwo (Michael Graham 69), Karolis Atutis (Jacob Skelly 30, Karolis Atutis 59)), Faron Smith (Martin Begg 30, Juilo De Mata 69)), Flavio Jumo (Archie Mehmet 69),Jamie Yila (Ijah Currie-Wilson 65), Rob Brown (Jacob Skelly 69), Ijah Currie-Wilson (Billy Brown 59).
Sub: Harry Payne

Millwall: Joe Wright (Leighton Fanshawe 46), Trialist, Junior Tiensia (Jayden Davis 58), Trialist, Jesse Debrah (Alex Mitchell 46), Besart Topalloj (Reuben Duncan 58), Jay Barton (Ben Bennett 46), Reuben Duncan (Jacob Munting 46), Trialist (Sean O’Brien 46), Nana Boateng (Hayden Muller 46), Jayden Davis (Chibuike Ezennolih 46).

Goals: Trialist 28 (penalty), 45, Sean O’Brien 74 (penalty)

Attendance: 294
Referee: Mr Wally James (Sidcup)
Assistants: Mr Paul Greenfield (New Eltham) & Mr Daniel Wyatt (Queensbury, London HA7)