Saturday 24th October 2009

SSEC Intermediate Division Two League

Cheam Village Warriors FC 0 – 0 Fulham Deaf FC

After a hectic weekend of football, which involved wins over Ashtead FC and
Derby Deaf FC, FDFC made the trip to Tolworth to play against fellow recent
promotes Cheam Village Warriors who finished in 3rd position in the
Junior Division One last season.

FDFC lost to them in the first league match
last season and drew with them at home, so the FDFC squad were aware of the
threat and passing ability of Cheam Village Warriors, who are a very decent
passing side and are in somewhat of a false position at the moment.

All the players were greeted at the ‘Goals’
complex in Tolworth and Ayad Sarraf,
the FDFC Manager had a quick discussion with ‘Ironside’ Greg Beedie before
announcing the first eleven in a rather new-looking changing room.

The pitch was excellent but had a slight
downwards slope and the grass was possibly a little too long, but there can
really be no excuses as both sides were to play on the same pitch! FDFC knew
how good Cheam Village are and were keen to match their
standard of football in all areas of the pitch.

In the first half, Cheam started by playing
well with their dangerous wingers putting in several crosses, which our excellent
centre half trio of Evans, Harding and Vorster dealt with. Incidentally,
Vorster was making his 164th appearance and only needs 7 more to
equal Sarraf’s all-time record of 171!).

Our goalkeeper Roberts had made a couple of
good saves with one diving save in particular, taking the ball from the Cheam
striker’s toes. Although Cheam had chances to open their account, poor
finishing from their forwards let them down, which was a big relief for the
Whites. After a while in the first half,
the FDFC midfield of Waller, Gregory, Sellers, Burns and Lampert (who is also
fast catching up with Sarraf’s appearance record, having made his 157th
against Cheam!) started to link up with each other, but their ball retention
was not good enough.

There were chances for FDFC in the first half,
with one such opportunity coming from Sellers feeding a good ball to FDFC’s
striker Ailey who charged up the left flank with the ball and failed to play
the ball inside to an unmarked Willis until it was too late to do so, and an
opportunity was missed. Ailey also had
an opportunity from outside the box which he unfortunately was not able to get
on target.

However, FDFC;s best chance of the half and of
the whole match came in around the 30th minute, when Gregory showed
persistence in breaking with the ball in the right flank and beating two
defenders after receiving the ball from Sellers. Gregory then played a cut back
to Lampert, who chose the wrong option in rushing his shot and hitting the top
of the crossbar and out with the goal at his mercy. A better option would have
been to control the pass and slot it into the thinly defended net. The FDFC
management had their head in their hands with despair at Lampert’s miss; even
baby Ava in the crowd opened her eyes in surprise at the news!



continued to
threaten down the flanks, but the defence worked their socks off to keep
chances to a minimum before the referee blew the whistle for half time.

During the half time talk, Sarraf expressed
how delighted he and Beedie were with the first half solid defending
performance but expressed that they were annoyed with the number of corners and
free-kicks conceded, which was affecting the first half performance. They
therefore asked the team to reduce the number of fouls in our half and to get a
tighter grip on Cheam’s wingers, who were being very lightly marked in the
first half. The ball retention was also asked to be improved, too, but no
substitutions were made.

The second half commenced, with Cheam
continuing their preferred tactic of threatening through the flanks and
continued to give FDFC a hard time there. Once again, Evans, who was wearing
his ‘Captain Marvel’ shirt for once, was required to cover a large amount of
the defensive third in order to keep the ball clear and out of trouble. Evans
was being well supported also by the efforts of Vorster and Harding.

The rhythms of the match changed abruptly in
the 63rd minute, when Roberts was injured in a collision with
Cheam’s winger, who slid into him chasing a loose ball. Much to FDFC’s
consternation, the referee also brought the ball back for a slight foul given
earlier, thus giving Cheam a free kick. After a lengthy inspection, Roberts’
knee was deemed to not be strong enough to continue, and was replaced by ‘One
Touch’ McDougall, who earned the nickname after his debut the week before
precisely lasting that number of touches before being forced off himself.
Vorster donned the goalkeeper gloves as FDFC attempted to raise their game in
the last quarter of the match.

To complicate matters, the sun had come up,
which was affecting the vision of all of the FDFC players. With 20 minutes left
in the match, Sarraf and ‘Ironside’ had a quick think together and agreed to
take Willis off for Swift, with Ailey being the lone front man in an adjusted
4-5-1 formation. In order to accommodate Swift, Gregory dropped back to right

The tactical change appeared to work wonders;
FDFC started to play football and Ailey was being a threat on the right flank,
with two dangerous crosses in succession being narrowly missed by Gregory and
Lampert in turn, which was a shame as Lampert was obviously keen to make up for
his miss in the 1st half. In addition, McDougall showed some good
touches and defensive awareness to finally start settling into the re-jigged
back four alongside Evans, Harding and Gregory.

Late on, FDFC were awarded a free kick with
Swift delivering a quality driven ball from 45 yards, which took the intended
target, Evans, by surprise and he failed to capitalise on the quality delivery.
On another day, he would have been in position to knock the ball into the back
of the net and pinch the points, but it was not to be. And the whistle blew to
end FDFC’s winning streak.

FDFC Manager Sarraf felt that we had got away
with murder as CVW were the better side on the day, but expressed
disappointment at not being able to pinch the result with the few chances we
had, especially Lampert’s first half miss. Cheam should be given full credit
for their performance, although FDFC’s initial tactics seemed to suit their
approach. However, the big plus factor has to be the clean sheet, which has
left FDFC with a goals conceded record of just 4 in the first six league games,
with three of those coming in the first two games. We look forwards to welcoming
Cheam in the return leg later on in the season. It was a great disappointment
to drop 2 points and go down to 5th position in the league.

The Man of the Match award went to Evans, who
clearly deserved it, marshalling the back line from the start to the end and
putting in an excellent defending display, even if he really should have scored
from the chance he had at the end.

FDFC are now looking forwards to the next
weekend, where they once again play Ashtead away, albeit in a League Senior Cup
match and the by following it up with a home match with Derby Deaf in the
British Deaf Cup. There’s also an Oktoberfest party happening this Saturday
night on the 31st– don’t miss it!

Final score Cheam Village
Warriors FC  0 – 0 Fulham Deaf FC

FDFC Line-up :- Roberts (63 mins McDougall),
Harding, Evans (Captain), Vorster, Burns, Lampert, Sellers, Gregory, Waller,
Willis (Swift 70 mins)