Saturday 18th October 2008

SSEC Junior Division One League

Fulham Deaf FC v Lambeth Academy FC

Before the match commenced, Lambeth Academy were informed of the decision to awarded them 3 points after Battersea Ironsides U25 were deducted 3 points from their recent match due to an ineligible unregistered player. As a result, Lambeth Academy were fired up for their league match against Fulham Deaf at a decent Motspur Park pitch.

Fulham Deaf FC Manager, Ayad Sarraf, was not pleased with squad availability due to 10 1st team players being absent due to injuries/unavailability which is very disappointing and made things difficult for both Sarraf and Assistant Manager Greg Beedie to perfect the team line-up prior to the match with Lambeth Academy.

The match was being played on a perfect day for a football match, and with a well grassed pitch at the back of FFC’s training ground. With only having 13 players available, it was a big task to ensure that the remaining players did a professional job on the pitch in order to gain a valuable 3 points, which would keep us on the tails of the top two in the league table.

All players/officials had to hang around outside the changing rooms as they were being used in the morning for two FFC Academy matches against Charlton Athletic FC. Finally, the changing rooms were cleared with 50 minutes to go to kick off time. In the changing room, it could be seen that all there players were concentrating, totally focused and listening to the manager’s short team talk and team announcement.

We knew how good Lambeth Academy are as Sarraf assured the players that they will give us a good hard game and so it proved. Lambeth Academy were certainly a very good footballing side as Fulham Deaf FC were made to fight all the way from the 1st minute to the end of the match for the result.

Ben Lampert was the skipper on the day, replacing absent Club Captain Nick Beese on the day. He encouraged the players and gave out a brief captain’s talk just before kick off at 2.30pm sharp.

Fulham Deaf FC started well, trying to keep ball possession in the first ten minutes in the face of good marking from the Lambeth players. Fulham went ahead when Hogan played a one-two with Lampert on the left side in the middle of pitch before slotting the ball through to Jacob Willis who was running for the left area of the penalty area. Jacob twisted on the ball and turned round his marker and shot towards the far right post; the ball taking a deflection from the Lambeth central half and passing the stranded goalkeeper to Jacob his 7th goal of the season after 15 minutes.

Shyloh Morally had two great chances to put the ball in the back of the net from played open play but was too slow to react/control the ball and the threat was quickly cleared out by the impressive tall No.3 for Lambeth.

At some stages in the first half, Fulham lost the ball possession easily too many times, usually due to either poor control or poor passing as a result of losing concentration. However, we defended well despite the threat of Lambeth’s left winger, who tormented our right side players Waller and Burns on several occasions only to have his final delivery let him down. The referee didn’t help either as he kept blowing the whistle over small infringements, which prevented the game from flowing.

At the interval, Greg Beedie, the FDFC Assistant Manager, gave out instructions and stressed that Fulham boys did not close them down quick enough and need to improve a lot in the second half to close them down quickly rather than giving them too much space.

It was essential for Fulham to keep focusing for the next 45 minutes and play a simple game but it proved that Fulham continued to make things difficult for themselves did not help at all and as a result frustration began to creep into the teams performance.

Fulham but suddenly conceded a goal; it occurred from a good build up by Lambeth, which resulted in their No. 10 receiving a good pass from the right midfielder and quickly firing a low shot towards Fulham keeper, Roberts, who parried the ball only to see the No 3 charging up from right back to stab in the rebound. The Fulham defence were clearly guilty of ball watching and it was a big blow for Fulham after the back four hard worked hard and defended well up to that point.

A few minutes later, Roberts received a bad knock from Lambeth’s striker that resulted in a small gash below Roberts’ right eye; he bravely continued goalkeeping for the rest of the game. At around the 60th minute, right back Eoin Burns played a simple pass to Daniel Waller, who quickly looped the ball over the right hand side of Lambeth’s defence, where Willis was on hand to pick up the ball. He raced up to the near post and from about ten yards away decided to blast the ball from tight angle. The resulting shot scorched past the dejected goalkeeper to give Fulham a two-one lead.

The goal was Willis’ 8th of the season and put him level with arch rival striker Shyloh. Ten minutes later, unfortunately Willis had to be substituted with a bad back injury after he attempted to head a high ball but was knocked over and had the tall No 5 land fully on his back while he was on the ground. It was very disappointing to see that the referee did not think it was a foul!

Daniel Simmonds replaced him in the striker’s position and Fulham were ordered by Beedie to concentrate for the remaining 20 minutes, which was proved to be nail biting for Fulham players, officials and spectators as Lambeth pressed attacking from time to time but the Fulham defence were excellent, preventing them from scoring another equaliser

However, Fulham could have scored a third goal when Shyloh beat the offside trap and found himself one to one with the Lambeth goalkeeper, with Simmonds in support. He could have simply passed it across to Simmonds for a tap in to an empty net but decided to round the goalkeeper; he took the ball too far forwards and his rushed shot ended up whizzing past both posts and ended up as a goal kick which was a kick in the teeth for Fulham; had we scored a third goal then it would give us a cushion of two goals. We held on until the end of the match to get another 3 points, which was a great relief for the Fulham boys.

Jacob Willis was deservedly awarded the Man Of The Match for his brace of goals and his high level of commitment on the pitch, especially in that he was always chasing down the opposition’s back four whenever they had the ball.

FDFC Manager Sarraf admitted that Lambeth were the better side on the day and were unlucky not to get any points. Full credit to them for playing well and causing Fulham a lot of problems. Fulham’s team performance need to be much-improved for next SaturdayĆ¢’s Surrey Junior Cup match against Pirbright Sports who are playing in the Premier division of the Guildford & Woking Alliance Football League.

Final score Fulham Deaf FC 2 – 1 Lambeth Academy FC (HT 1 – 1)

FDFC Line-up :- Roberts, Vorster, Harding, Sarraf, Burns, Lampert (Captain), Hogan, Moore, Waller, Willis (Simmonds 70 mins) and Morally (Bovino 80 mins)