Saturday 6th December 2008

SSEC Junior Division One League

Fulham Deaf FC v Battersea Ironsides U25 FC


On another glorious cold sunny day for football, FDFC welcomed Battersea Ironsides U25 at Motspur Park. It was important for FDFC to collect maximum points from this game after having dropped 4 expensive points in the last two league matches.

FDFC Manager Ayad Sarraf had to manage on his own due to the absence of his right hand man, Greg Beedie, who had family commitments on the day. Sarraf simply gave out instructions and demanded 3 points in order keep chasing the top three, which were Cheam Village Warriors, Weston Green Sports and Lambeth Academy. The team line up was announced in the changing room and players got changed quickly and set out to the pitch in order to get a good warm-up.

It was interesting to see what kind of football game it was going to be against Battersea Ironsides U25 as their senior team are playing in the Surrey Elite Intermediate Football League. As soon as the game started, it was clear to see that they played good simple football with a lot of switching of play. It was an even game up to 20 minutes when the deadlock was finally broken as right midfielder Daniel Waller collected the ball from Nick Beese.  The quick-thinking Waller chipped a long ball over the middle of the back four where their centre half player was about to collect but lost control of the ball under pressure from the impressive Jacob Willis, who quickly grabbed it off him and slotted it wide to the left side of the penalty area where Hogan was intercepted the ball and placed a low shot past the opposition goalkeeper to give FDFC a one-nil lead. Willis also hit the post shortly after that.  

FDFC continued attacking and got a free kick awarded in the centre of the park. Hogan took the kick and delightfully crossed a dangerous long ball into the penalty area where Jonathan Evans met itand headed into the left hand side of the goal; the Ironsides goalkeeper had no chance to save it. The back four was very solid throughout the first half and the Ironsides struggled to make inroads on goal; this pleased FDFC Manager Sarraf.  

At half time, 2-0 up to FDFC, during the interval talk, Sarraf told the players to keep focusing and concentrating on defending our lead. He encouraged the troops to attack more with a lot of crossing and to be more creative in the second half. After the team talk and some individual instructions, the second half began as we attempted to win by playing simple football.

As soon as the referee resumed the 2nd half  by blowing the whistle, FDFC suddenly began to play a lot of attacking football in from either side until we got the 3rd goal from Hogan for his second goal of the game. Willis raced up an empty channel on the right flank,  beat two defenders and squared the ball to the approaching Beese. He found it difficult hit the target from his position, so Beese turned and laid the ball off to the advancing Hogan, who slotted it in past the goalkeeper from close range.  

Willis once again hit the post for the second time where he drove a low shot from the edge of the box and saw it bounce off the left-hand post. But a few minutes later, he finally got his name on the score sheet! Beese created the space by placing the ball through the right two defenders, which let Willis race through and curl the ball round the ‘keeper and to the far corner of the net to give FDFC a 4-0 lead.  

The tiring Shyloh Morally was soon after replaced by Pafe Palata Mike. Willis hit another good goal at around the 70th minute when Pafe picked the ball up from the left hand byline and burst through the defence before nicely squaring the ball to Willis for him to stab the ball into the back of the net.  

After that, FDFC became too casual and conceded a good goal from a corner set piece to allow Ironsides to pull one back.  

Soon after, substitute Ben Lampert came on for Waller. FDFC’s sixth and best goal soon came up when Lampert got the ball on the right flank and sweetly crossed it over the Ironsides defence for Hogan met the ball with a very sweet volley that rocketed past the stranded goalkeeper to extend FDFC’s lead to 6-1. Mark Gill took over Andrew Vorster for the right back position to get used to playing after a long absence through injury. Suddenly in the last ten minutes FDFC conceded two more goals, both of which were penalties!

Sarraf expressed his great disappointment with the team’s defensive performance in the second half, stating that they had collectively lost concentration and though the job was done at the 70th minute, which was the wrong attitude to take.  Concentration is vital for any match and that means total focus from the 1st minute to the end of the match. However, he was pleased to get maximum points and to hear that Cheam Village Warriors had tasted their first defeat of the season, losing 2-3 to Fetcham, which had gives FDFC some hope to keep chasing the top two.

Sarraf thought Eoin Burns had a superb game in central midfield and looked after the back four quite well and covered every blade of grass in the first 70 minutes; as a result he deserves the Man Of The Match award.

FDFC are looking forward to play away to Trinity, who are based in Sanderstead near Warlingham, a few miles south from Purley.  

Final score Fulham Deaf FC 6-3 Hatch FC (HT 2 – 0)

FDFC Line-up :- Roberts, Vorster (80th minutes – Gill), Evans, Moore, Harding, Hogan, Beese (Captain), Burns, Waller (70th minutes – Lampert), Willis and Morally (75th minutes – Pafe)


Tuesday 9th December 2008

England Deaf Cup 1st Round

Fulham Deaf FC v St Johns Arsenal Deaf FC

After two postponements, this match was finally played on a Tuesday night under the floodlights as the pitch was decent but too soft and very slippery. Both sides had chances to score but failed to convert them with both goalkeepers made good blocks and a couple of saves. FDFC hit the bar when St Johns goalkeeper attempted to catch the long ball from Ben Lampert and it slipped over his hands, hitting the bar and bouncing back out but our strikers were not quick enough for 2nd bite and the ball was safely cleared for a corner kick. Michael O’Mahony had to be alert at all times in the last 15 minutes of the first half but kept FDFC in it with his safe hands.  

The second half became difficult for FDFC as they could not find the same rhythm as they had in the league and the teamwork was rapidly unravelling.  FDFC conceded an awful goal from a corner set piece where it should have been cleared but we failed to play it out safely. St John soon added a second, after a FDFC corner was badly played and they capitalised on the error by breaking quickly and scoring from close range after a couple of individual errors by FDFC players. All three subs were then used in a bid to get a goal back;  Pafe pulled a goal back for FDFC from close range after a goalkeeping error, but it was too little, too late for FDFC.

Sarraf admitted “I made two big mistakes with the change of formation during the interval and the first substitution but it was not the Fulham team I used to know and what we really need is a good win on Saturday against tough opposition in the form of Trinity. However I would like to congratulate St Johns and they deserved their victory. I am very disappointed that we did not give them a good game.”

As for the man of the match award, Sarraf comments that only two players had showed  great passion, a never say die spirit, never gave up throughout the game and had strong self-belief in thinking that they can win it back up to the end of the match. Unfortunately, only one player can be awarded Man Of The Match and so it goes to Nick Beese; Jonathan Evans deserves to join him for this award.

Final score Fulham Deaf 1-2 St Johns Arsenal Deaf (HT 0 – 0)

FDFC Line-up :- O’Mahony, Vorster, Evans, Moore, Harding, Hogan, Beese (Captain), Burns (80th minute – Waller), Lampert, Willis (46th minute – Simmonds) and Morally (75th minutes – Pafe)