Fisher FC 1-1 Canterbury City
Saturday 14 March 2015
Southern Counties East League
Fisher gained another valuable point in their fight for survival as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Canterbury City at Champion Hill on Saturday
The feeling at the final whistle was one of disappointment though, after Jake McIntrye was denied a late winner. The defender looked to have been level with play when he fired home Victor Borode’s centre in the 88th minute – but the officials thought otherwise and chalked off the goal.
It would have capped a superb turnaround from the Fish, who started the game at a pedestrian pace but spent most of the second period camped in their opponents half.
A defensive lapse saw the away side edge in front after just three minutes. There seemed to be little danger when a deep free kick was pumped forward by the visitors, but Fisher failed to clear their lines and Sam Baker eventually prodded home from two yards out.
The home side’s first sight of goal came on the ten minute mark, Alfie Roche latching onto a through ball only to see his tame effort easily collected by goalkeeper Shannon Harris.
Roles were reversed eight minutes later, as a slip from debutant Michael Aziaya allowed Dan Gonzalez-Bello in, but Charlie Payne was alert to the threat and came out early to claim the ball from under the forward’s feet.
Canterbury then came even closer to doubling their lead in the 26th minute, but were denied by some brilliant last-ditch defending from Fisher. Sam Staunton charged into the box unchallenged, and his initial shot was blocked by McIntyre before the rebound fell to Cameron Hefferman, whose goalbound effort was thwarted by Payne. Fisher fans were expecting to see the net bulge for a second time as the loose ball fell kindly to Staunton. McIntyre had other thoughts, as he hacked the ball away from goal under pressure.
The triple salvage act proved vitally important, as the Fish found a way back into the game in the 33rd minute. Kane Hemmings brought down Luke Haidarovic in the Canterbury area – and the referee had little choice but to point to the spot. The striker dusted himself down and smashed home his first goal for the club to draw Fisher level.
Three minutes later, Haidarovic was bundled over again – this time by the railings at the side of the pitch, rather than a defender. The collision was a painful one and the striker was brave enough to carry on until the 74th minute. Both of his knees were left battered and bruised, yet he remains confident of featuring in the Fish’s next game on 23rd March.
The striker’s equalizer sparked Fisher into the life and they finished the half the better side, without really threatening Harris in the Canterbury goal.
But the home side almost took the lead ten minutes into the second half, as Femi Akinwande came inches away from connecting with Borode’s right-wing cross.
Further chances followed, as substitute Troy Abbey cut inside Ben Gorham on the edge of the box before shooting over on 84 minutes. Two minutes later, Max Rothwell should have done better when well-placed twenty yards out – his effort lacked power and left Payne untroubled.
Then came the late heartbreak for the Fish. Borode made a lung-busting run down the right, and his cut-back found four Fisher players unmarked in the penalty area. McIntyre was first to it, lashing high into the net, but the celebrations were cut short. After consulting his linesman, referee Olly Butcher decided that McIntyre was in an offside position when he converted.
Fisher weren’t fazed by the decision, and again came close to grabbing a winner just moments later. Roche’s defence-splitting pass left Hassan Janneh with just the goalkeeper to beat, but he could only direct a header into Harris’s grateful arms.
Time was not on Fisher’s side, and Oshilaja cut a frustrated figure as he attempted one last foray forward only to be halted by the sounding of the final whistle. With two more winnable home games to come in the next fortnight, the Fish can afford to be optimistic. This is a team on the up.
Fish are in 19th place following the rest of today’s results – 3 points clear of bottom club Erith Town. The two teams lock horns in a six pointer at Champion Hill on March 23rd.
Photo courtesy: Dave Anderson