Wednesday 16th

February 2011

British Deaf Football Cup

Defending British champions Fulham DFC
welcomed St Johns Arsenal DFC in the quarterfinal of the British Deaf Cup in
what was the eighth meeting between the two sides. The Gaffer was forced to
make changes to the team that impressively dispatched Tolworth Athletic the
previous week, as in-form Remi Sellers was ineligible to play. However, he
sprang a surprise when he named top scorer Daniel ‘Del Boy’ Hogan in central
defence, as he felt his pace and ability to read the game would negate the
threat formed by former FDFC striker Daniel Ailey, and his strike partner and
fellow GB international, Jamie Clarke. He then placed Lampert into midfield to
replace Sellers and introduced new signing Oliver Manoochehri up front.
Finally, the Gaffer brought James Alexander for his first start in place of
regular keeper Sam Kemp, who hadn’t done much wrong in previous games. The
Gaffer felt that Alexander’s superior kicking ability gave him the edge.

The game started at a frantic pace as
both teams tried to dominate proceedings, however it was Fulham DFC who opened
the scoring. The Whites were awarded a free kick just inside the St Johns half.
Monksfield stepped up to deliver a long ball into the box but Ravi Hundal, the
St Johns keeper, under pressure from Manoochehri could only fumble the ball
into the back of the net. Hundel will probably have sleepless nights about
conceding the opener for months to come. The goal gave the Whites confidence
and they began to step up the pressure. Manoochehri and Willis impressed, as
they continually harassed the St Johns backline, never allowing them to settle.
Just before the interval, Manoochehri broke the offside trap but was cynically
brought down by last man Andrew Coombs from behind when Manoochehri only had
the keeper left to beat. Amazingly, the referee made the decision to only award
a free kick and Coombs was allowed to carry on without even words of a warning.
This provoked a furious response from the Whites bench, as they were astonished
that the red card was not shown, as Manoochehri clearly had a goalscoring
opportunity. The Gaffer instead took out his anger on a water bottle. Del Boy
then shot over the resulting free-kick.

St Johns were not without chances
themselves as they tried to get back on level terms. Ailey headed narrowly wide
after Huseyin Er flighted a lovely cross from the left, Clarke should have done
better when he headed over after rising unmarked from a Dalziel centre but they
came closest when following a corner, a frantic scramble in the box ended with
Swift clearing off the goal line.

At the half-time break, the Gaffer
praised the team for their discipline and for keeping their shape but he urged
the team not to rest on their one-goal lead and to keep up the pressure.

Almost immediately from the restart, a
long pass found Manoochehri unmarked on the right, who then sped down the wing
beating St Johns defence for pace. He then delivered a low cross where Jacob
Willis was on hand to side foot home into an empty net. Minutes later, St Johns
reduced the arrears when Jack Harding was unable to clear his lines and was
robbed by Clarke, whose centre fell kindly for Ailey, who slammed home a sweet
left foot finish. Despite this setback, the Whites remained firmly in control
and restored their two-goal lead when Manoochehri again broke the offside trap,
racing clear before slipping the ball between Hundal’s legs. Nick Gregory then
put the game beyond doubt, scoring against his old team, by curling in a shot
from outside the box, which perhaps Hundal should have done better with.
Another ex St Johns player Jonathan Evans also nearly got in on the act
following a corner but saw his scrambled shot rebound off the post, as FDFC
threatened to run riot. In the dying minutes, Joe Wylde produced a magnificent
last-ditch tackle on Huseyin Er in the box, clearly taking the ball but the
referee decided differently and pointed to the spot. Ailey then smashed home
the resulting penalty to give the final scoreline a flattering look at 4-2.

The Whites manager was delighted with
not only the result, it being the first time since 2008 that FDFC have beaten
St Johns, but was also immensely proud of the performance, as FDFC were much
the better team who deserved to take home the spoils. He was also delighted
that all his decisions paid off as Alexander kicking put St Johns under
pressure every time the ball was in his possession. Del Boy Hogan and Captain
Marvel Evans developed a great understanding despite it being the first time
that they had played together in defence, and easily kept Ailey and Clarke at
bay. Although a large number of players impressed on the night with it being a
superb team-performance, a difficult decision was made to award the man of the
match award to Oliver Manoochehri in his first game in Fulham colours. Both
strikers Manoochehri and Willis had the St Johns defence apart from the first
minute till the end of the match. Manoochehri’s work-rate in closing down the
opposition defence was first class, with a number of spectators comparing his
never-say-die attitude to Manchester City’s Tevez. That he set up his strike
partner Willis’s goal before also getting on the scoresheet, further added
gloss to his performance.

The head-to-head table now reads four
wins for FDFC and four wins for SJADFC. Interestingly, not one game has ever
gone into extra time.

In the semi-final, Fulham DFC will meet Belfast DFC for a place in the final of the British Deaf Cup. The
semi-final will be played on Saturday 26th March 2011 at University
of Surrey, Guildford.

Final score Fulham Deaf 4 – 2 (HT 1 –
0) St Johns Arsenal Deaf

FDFC Line-up:- Alexander, Harding, Hogan, Evans (Captain),
Monksfield, Swift, Lampert, Gregory, Wylde, Willis (Bovino 85
min) and Manoochehri

Unused subs: – Kemp, Gill, Arnold, Rumney, Kenward

St Johns Line-up:- Hundal, Dalziel, Coombs (Edwards 70
min), Byfield, Dunne, Huseyin Er, Hasan Er, Allen, Marios Costi (Hal-Benameur),
Clarke and Ailey

Unused subs:- Jarchlou, Smith, Memnos Costi,

Huge thanks to Lucy Hawes for the photos!