FISHER 0 WHITSTABLE TOWN 2
SCEFL Premier Division
Saturday January 14 2017 15.00
Whitstable collected their eighth consecutive win and fifth consecutive clean sheet in an entertaining game at the new Fisher FC ground in Rotherhithe. After missing some early chances, Whitstable went in front on 26 minutes as Charlie Smith shot past home goalkeeper Nic Taylor. A minute later Aaron Quain struck the bar with a good free kick. Dan Eason did well to save a fierce Spencer Forte free kick to preserve the lead before Craig Thompson added a second goal with a cool finish just before the break. Both teams had their moments in the second half with the home goalkeeper Taylor pulling off a number of fine saves. Fisher showed enough to suggest they have the ability to climb off the bottom of the table, but Whitstable generally defended well despite picking up a couple more injuries.
The new home of Fisher FC, St Paul’s Sports Ground, is compact, neat and tidy with an artificial pitch and the towers of Canary Wharf fill the skyline behind one goal. Whitstable were without the injured Ashley Brown and long term absentee Jack Mahoney, who is expected to be out for another six weeks or so. Joe Kennett was unavailable, but Harris Rodgers returned to the bench after a few weeks out. Bola Dawodu, signed on dual registration from Faversham in the week, started in midfield.
Whitstable started brightly and Smith chipped an early ball to Kane Rowland who lobbed the advancing keeper but the ball went over the bar. They should have scored on 5 minutes however as Quain hit a ball from left to right and Connor Hood played it into the middle where Smith got a shot away that was saved by the legs of Taylor. The ball rebounded to Thompson who looked likely to score, but sliced it into the path of Hood who shot low just past the far post.
A couple of minutes later, Quain played a one-two with Rowland, but could not beat Taylor. Rowland, Smith and Calvin Sedenu all had headers saved or off target as Whitstable continued to press. After 22 minutes, Eason was called upon to save as a John Ufuah cross set up Antwon McKenzie for a low shot. Hood, Dawodu and Quain then combined to create a chance for Thompson, whose volley was turned around the post. The first goal arrived following a good team move as Smith latched on to a pass from Dawodu and beat Taylor with a good finish into the bottom right corner of the net.
It was almost two just afterwards as Smith won a free kick on the right and Quain beat Taylor only to see his curling effort come back off the crossbar. Rowland then fired over the top after another Quain cross was nodded down to him. The main danger from the home side seemed to stem from their number eleven Forte, but he was also showing some signs of temperament and was shown the only yellow card of the game on 35 minutes by the referee who generally had a good game. He then struck a fine low free kick from 25 yards that Eason did well to block and the defence managed to clear for a corner. Fisher were beginning to pose more of a threat, although Toyo Adeshina had to be alert to halt a good run from Rowland. In added time a short corner routine led to a scramble in the Whitstable penalty area as the home team tried to find an equaliser. They were caught out though by a quick break as Eason played the ball up field and it soon fell nicely for Thompson who took it forward before lobbing perfectly over the despairing Taylor from the 18 yard line.
Both teams made a change at half time with Forte being replaced by the lively Juan David Devia Pineda and Harry Brown came on for Quain who had aggravated an ankle injury. Fisher made the better start and Ufuah shot wide before Camen Bhandal hit a free kick well over the bar from a dangerous position. At the other end Thompson was denied by Taylor after good work by Smith and Rowland. On 60 minutes Smith did well on the edge of the area to turn and send in a powerful low strike that was parried by Taylor. There was a brief panic in the Whitstable defence after Eason unusually failed to hold a cross, but the ball was hacked away to safety. Rowland then shot over after a good run, before Fisher won a couple of corners that were well defended. The hard working Thompson was replaced after 68 minutes by Rodgers, who had not featured since scoring two goals and then pulling a hamstring at Erith in late November. Rodgers soon combined with Rowland to set up Smith for another good strike from 18 yards that Taylor again pushed away for a corner. From another Hood corner, Ollie Lee headed just wide.
Just into the final quarter of an hour Luke Haidarovic headed a good cross from Harry Bugden straight at Eason. Smith shot just wide for Whitstable after a good run by Dawodu. On 85 minutes Hood kicked a Haidarovic shot off the line by the post. The unfortunate Rodgers had to be substituted by Newman Poku after only 20 minutes on the pitch. There was a late flurry of activity in stoppage time as first a Harry Brown free kick seemed destined for the top corner, only for Taylor to make a wonderful save. From the resultant corner a Rowland header was deflected behind for another corner and this time Dawodu turned and shot, but was denied by yet another good save and Smith could only fire the loose ball into the side netting and the game ended in a 2-0 away win.
The successful run continues for Whitstable who have now won ten out of their last eleven games. Fisher showed plenty of promise for their fight at the wrong end of the table, but special mention must go to their goalkeeper Nic Taylor who pulled off some great saves to keep the score down. He has played for a number of non-league clubs and also has two international caps for Montserrat.
Nic Taylor, Toyo Adeshina, Harry Bugden, Daniel Lawson (Daniel Taylor 88), Daniel Flemming (c), Dwayne Agyemang, John Ufuah, Camen Bhandal (Hamid Bangura 76), Luke Haidarovic, Antwon McKenzie, Spencer Forte (Juan David Devia Pineda 46).
Sub (unused): Joseph Adesina
Yellow card: Spencer Forte 35
Dan Eason, Connor Hood, Aaron Quain (Harry Brown 46), Ollie Lee, Rob Gillman (c), Calvin Sedenu, Tom Bryant, Bola Dawodu, Kane Rowland, Craig Thompson (Harris Rodgers 68 (Newman Poku 88)), Charlie Smith.
Sub (unused): Harry Brooks
Goals: Charlie Smith 26, Craig Thompson 45+3.
Referee: Wally James
Assistants: James Beadle & Ryan Andrew