Saturday 22nd November 2008

Surrey Junior Cup 3rd Round match

Fulham Deaf FC v Hatch FC


On a beautiful freezing day, with ideal weather conditions and a perfect day to play football on a Saturday especially with winter being round the corner, FDFC took on Hatch FC in the 3rd round of the Surrey Junior Cup.  In FDFC’s history, the club has never reached further than the 4th round of this cup so today is a great opportunity to emulate our best ever performance in this cup. Hatch play in the Redhill & District Football League Division Two and we were looking forward to welcome them to our home pitch.

It was strange to be changing in FFC’s gym due to all of the other changing rooms being used for FFC Academy matches against West Ham United being held on the beautiful Motspur Park pitches. The same thing also occurred in the previous round against Pirbright FC; it seems that Academy matches are clashing with Surrey Cup ties; it could well be a omen of good fortune for us!

As usual, both the Fulham Deaf FC Manager Ayad Sarraf and Assistant Manager Greg Beedie had a quick brief discussion about team selection, to ensure that the right players are on the pitch and that they will do the business. FDFC still have a long list of injured players but thankfully we have a large squad so that we can cope. The team line up was announced in the gym and everyone was looking forward to playing against Hatch. On another positive note, there were 5 injured players who made the effort to attend and support the team and we had 5 substitutes as well. Players were sent out to the pitch to do a good warm up from head to toe but unfortunately we had to wait a little longer as the opposition arrived a little bit late and so kick off was delayed a little bit.

At the beginning of the game, FDFC players were ordered not to underestimate Hatch but to concentrate and see what their tactic was like and to keep ball possession to ourselves to start with. It looked as if the Hatch players were keen to do well against us as they attempted to close us down quickly. We were struggling a bit, having played some decent football at first but did not creating much in the first 10 minutes. At one stage, Jack Harding got the ball from Jonathan Evans in central defence with the left back racing away to the throw-in line in a bid to receive a great pass from Harding. Sarraf received the ball and saw that their back four, whilst waiting to spring their offside trap, had ignored Simmonds. Sarraf released the ball and slotted it through between their right back and right centre back, releasing Simmonds, who burst through and advanced into the penalty area to square the ball across for Alex Bovino to stab it in past the stranded goalkeeper to clinch his 5th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, FDFC should have extended their lead to go 2 up as Nick Beese was in the penalty area and received a great short low pass from Lampert. Beese amazingly shot straight at the goalkeeper, whose relief at collecting the shot safely was clear to see from his face! 

But unfortunately we conceded a silly goal, which occurred when Sarraf threw the ball to Harding in the opposition half of the pitch, expecting a quick ball back to him. Instead, Harding played into Lampert in the middle, whose attempted dribble backfired on him and put the defence on the back foot. The speedy Hatch forward was played in and slotted it past an exposed Richard Parker, who was not at fault for the goal, to give them the equaliser.  

Shortly after, we got a second goal by Simmonds , which was a carbon copy of the first goal. This time, Lampert broke through on the left hand side of the penalty area and squared the ball over for  Simmonds and Bovino to slide into an empy net.  Simmonds got the first touch and claimed his goal. 

Soon after, we almost conceded another silly goal as Sarraf received a long pass and attempted to pass it back to Parker. However, the pass was badly underhit and the Hatch forward nipped in to take the ball from the Sarraf. From the resulting one on one with Parker, the forward rounded the ‘keeper and shot into the empty net but amazingly Evans came out of nowhere and ended up coming to the rescue to slide it away for a corner! What a superb piece of defending from the giant Evans. Sarraf owe him a pint for sure! (And Evans has yet to collect!)

At half time, 2-1 up to FDFC, during the interval talk, Greg Beedie, the FDFC Assistant Manager was not a very happy buddy and expressed that the way we played in the first half was awful especially with a lot of poor passes, movement and a lack of crossing. FDFC 1st team coach Daniel Hogan additionally demanded us to do a lot more crossing from both flanks like we did practise at the last training session and expected a better performance in the 2nd half. He encouraged us to attack more in the second half as the result is all-important in cup games. 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 but the wrong timing of our strikers meant that we couldn’t take the chances. 

However, we continued to keep attacking until we got the 3rd goal from the in-form scorer Ben Lampert. It came when Evans received the ball and noticed that their back four was positioned too far up the field and with Lampert making a good diagonal run, decided to play a beautiful curving ball past the back four. Lampert to received it, chesting the ball into his stride and ran with it into the penalty area and shot past the goalkeeper to give FDFC a 3-1 lead. 

Once again, we quickly conceded another pathetic goal to give Hatch real hope in their bid to get back into the game but after the 60th minute, from our point of view, we could tell that the Hatch players were getting more and more tired as our fitness levels told. We continued to overrun them with a lot of positive crosses from either side in which we came  up with another 3 goals via a brace goals from Lampert and Jacob Willis, the latter of which came from a drive by the rampant Lampert, whose shot was parried into Willis’ path for an easy finish. 

However, FDFC’s recent penchant for conceding silly goals continued as Simmonds gave the ball away to Hatch’s right winger as he attempted to play a cross-field ball. The winger broke through before passing square for the forward to slot in and pull a consolation goal back. Simmonds did have the final say by grabbing his second goal of the match to ensure that FDFC finished the tie with a victory margin of 7-3. Despite the scoreline, it could have been double if all of those crosses were converted! 

FDFC have now advanced into the 4rd Round of the Surrey Junior Cup which will be played on Saturday 10th January 2009.

Coach Hogan was a delighted lad at the end of the match and praised players for carrying out the crossing work in training and putting it into practise on the pitch. 

Sarraf admitted it was difficult to award a single Man Of The Match to one of our boys but he thought Jonathan Evans has an outstanding performance in central half as he did all the job he has been asked and defended superbly throughout the game although conceded goals wasn’t his fault! Evans deserved to be awarded Man Of The Match for his gritty/superb defensive/ball winning in the air performance. In addition, Sarraf is delighted for Lampert rediscovering his goalscoring touch as he had come up with 10 goals in the last month and is now on top of the goalscorer’s charts, which puts a lot of pressure on the striking duo of Shyloh Morally and Jacob Willis! There is certainly some good competition ahead for the top scorer’s title this season! 

Both Sarraf and Beedie know there is a lot of work to do before our big SSEC League clash match against high-flying unbeaten Cheam Village Warriors as FDFC tasted their only defeat of the season so far against them in the opening game.  FDFC are looking forward to welcome them at Motspur Park on this Saturday’s mouth-watering match.

Final score Fulham Deaf FC 7-3 Hatch FC (HT 2 – 1)

FDFC Line-up :- Parker, Vorster (Waller 75 mins), Sarraf, Harding, Evans, Simmonds, Beese (Captain), Lampert, Burns, Moore (Willis 70 mins) and Bovino