Saturday 19th September 2009

SSEC Intermediate Division Two League

Fulham Deaf FC v Merton Abbey FC

Following from the end of last season, Fulham Deaf FC were able to achieve promotion to the Intermediate Division Two from Junior Division One which was great achievement for the club. However, everyone at the club knew that a hard season would be coming up in the new division, yet everyone was relishing the challenge of higher standard football. The first league game of the season kicked off against Merton Abbey who finished in 6th place last season.

On a lovely day at our home ground at FFC Training Ground, it’s a perfect day to play football for both sides in which FDFC welcomed Merton Abbey warmly. The preparation was delayed due to waiting for FFC’s team coach to leave for Wolverhampton for a Premier League match the following day. As soon as the FDFC Squad got in the changing room, the FDFC Manager, Ayad, had a quick brief team talk before the team line up was announced.

In the first half, it was very disappointing to see most players being caught asleep as the opposition bombarded us with counter-attacks. FDFC hardly made a counter attack in the first 25 minutes.

Unfortunately we quickly conceded two goals in the space of 5 minutes, starting in the 27th minute. Both goals could have been avoided if the defence had handled the oppositions long ball tactics better. It proved to be a good wake-up call for the Fulham lads, as we finally started to play football just before the half time!

The team only had two shots on target in the first half which left the manager very displeased. In addition, it was clear that the match was turning rougher and rougher as the referee struggled to control some aggressive play from the opposition, particularly towards the end of the first half. A superb Jacob Willis was the only FDFC player who showed a lot of passion on the pitch as he worked his socks off by continually pressurising the opponent back four throughout the first half.

At the interval talk, it was 2 – 0 to Merton Abbey. The FDFC Manager, Ayad, expressed his anger and gave the stunned Fulham players a good rollicking, expressing his anger at how badly FDFC had played in defence, and continuous loss of possession in dangerous areas of the pitch during the entirety of the first half! Ayad demanded a big improvement in the second half performance and to show FDFC’s true colours in taking the game to Merton Abbey.

The second half commenced; FDFC finally started to play football properly and applied mounting pressure on the opponent’s back four in the first ten minutes. The pressure soon told, with a good diagonal cross from Waller which Willis intercepted, only to be chopped down by the unlucky Merton Abbey right back who was excellent in the first half. A red card was immediately shown by the referee for a professional foul, which reduced Abbey down to ten men with 35 minutes remaining.

FDFC were then frustrated by missing chance after chance in their attempt to score their first goal in the Intermediate division. Once again, an inspired Willis came to the rescue, being fouled in the box after receiving a good through ball from Swift, and gave the referee no option but to award a penalty. Swift took the penalty and scored from the spot but had to re-take it due to a FDFC player running into the box too early. Swift buried the 2nd attempt into the same left hand corner of the net without a problem to pull a goal back.

FDFC continued to attack and attack. Bovino hit the post from a well-struck free kick. Then, the equaliser came when James Paull scored his first Senior goal for FDFC at the age of 16 years old after he collected a rebound from a free kick and slotted it into the net from a tight angle to equalise for FDFC. This was not the end of the attacks as Waller hit the post from a header, but the score was to remain 2-2 for the rest of the match, thus giving FDFC their first point in the Intermediate league at the first attempt.

FDFC Manager, Ayad, admitted that a good fightback in the second half lifted the whole squad spirit up and would be nice to grab the full 3 points but thought it was a fair result and thought that Merton Abbey were unlucky to be reduced down to ten men with 35 minutes reminding. He also felt that given the young age of the squad, there is potential for FDFC to do well in this season.

However, Jacob Willis deserved to be awarded the Man of the Match for his tremendous hard work in tirelessly closing down the opposition until his substitution in the 70th minute. In terms of desire and passion, he certainly led the way today!

Final score Fulham Deaf 2 – 2 Merton Abbey (HT 0 – 2)

FDFC Line-up :- Roberts, Vorster (McGreevy 75 mins), Harding (Rumney 80 mins), Evans (Captain), Gill, Paull, Swift, Bovino, Waller, Willis (Pafe 70 mins) and Simmonds