Jeffers' double unlocks KDL Division 2 wide open
After a minute silence in respect of a Westminster Casual player family bereavement, this mouth-watering clash went underway with both team locked together at 21 points each with games in hand on the league leaders West End Esher. Both sides are the only teams with a far superior goal difference in the league in double figures.
The 'six-pointer' match kicked of at furious pace with the ball hotly chased from everywhere and some crushing tackles were made which were not for the faint-hearted. The referee instantly knew it was not going to be an â€œeasyâ€ afternoon!
With almost a quarter of an hour gone, the Casuals' goalkeeper failed to hold onto a high ball chipped into his box from near the halfway line and Richard Jeffers rightly followed it up to scoop the loose ball, slot it into the net to put Fulham Deaf 1 – 0 up. It was perhaps a lucky break for Fulham Deaf but well earned after the state of play were edging into the Casuals' half for most of the last five minutes with some chances gone begging wide.
Westminster Casuals nevertheless looked dangerous on the break with their number six and eight being constant thorns for Fulham Deaf's defence. Fulham Deaf were caught out with a huge Casual's goalkeeper clearance that landed left-wide and deep into their own half. It was two against two and a deft flick was well caught by Richard Parker who appealed for calm heads from his surrounding defenders.
On the half hour, Nick Beese linking up well with Ben Lampert unleashed a low fierce drive from the left at a narrow angle that was equally well saved by the Casuals' goalkeeper. From the resulting corner, a Casual's sticking out knee contributed to the otherwise Andrew Drury's on target shot to fall out of the goalkeeper's reach. The ball landed in the net to make it 2 – 0 to Fulham Deaf.
A couple of minutes later, Drury blasted a little wildly into the side of the net from a corner. A well-taken Rowan Dixon twenty-five yards free kick sailed a couple of balls length over the crossbar.
In the thirty-eighth minute, a Westminster Casual goal was rightly disallowed for offside and no protests were offloaded to the much-relieved referee.
With three minutes left to half time, Dixon through on a one to one with the Casual's goalkeeper, flicked the ball to his left with the intention to go round the goalkeeper. The Casual's goalkeeper made the best save of the match by coming out at speed to flick the ball away from Dixon's reach before he could go round. The goalkeeper not only flicked it but also re-jumped to secure hold of the ball.
From that, Westminster as if inspired by their goalkeeper, broke through with their dangerous number six breaking through the right zooming at a speed towards goal. A close range screamer unleashed by the number six forced Parker to make a fantastic point blank save. Ayad Sarraf knocked the ball to safety.
Another Sarraf's clearance inside the box coincided with a Casual player falling down in the box. Several Westminster players made wild appeals for a penalty to the referee who coolly pointed to the spot where the goal kick was to be taken by Parker.
After a fanatic, yet fantastic first half, both teams stopped for half time with Fulham Deaf 2 – 0 up.
The restart of play started by Westminster, saw their first second half chance after only five seconds sliding past wide past the left post after confusion between Parker and Sarraf let in a Casual player through.
After this momentary lack of concentration, Fulham Deaf regained control and soaked up the pressure to keep Westminster at bay from Parker's goal area territory. Frustration crept into Westminster's game to Fulham Deaf's advantage.
Slowly, Fulham Deaf came out of their half after a particular ten minutes stream of attacks from Westminster which Fulham Deaf managed to absorb with their 'sponges' of tackles, clearances and excellent teamwork. Deep inside the Casuals' half, Beese made a nice deft turn past his marker to cross the ball to Dixon who slotted wide from fifteen yards out.
Ryan Pendley broke through on a one-to-one with the Casual's goalkeeper. Only the goalkeeper's desperate stuck out foot poked the ball away back into midfield where Ben Lampert scooped it up and chipped wide from a distance.
A Drury's free kick from near the halfway line was fumbled and dropped by the Casual's goalkeeper. Dixon slotted the loose ball home only to be dubiously ruled offside by the linesman.
Mark Gill limped off with a slight injury with Neil Fox coming on and minutes later Ryan Pendley came off with Ewan McGreevy joining the midfield.
Twelve minutes to go, a Westminster corner was flicked clear by Nick Beese to Dixon, eighty yards out from Westminster's goal. Dixon raced up to the halfway line, jumping over sliding legs and skilfully going through two Casuals' defenders. Past the halfway line with two defenders left, at the right time Dixon slotted the ball through to Jeffers who zoomed through to goal hotly chased by the two retreating defenders.
Jeffers, on a one-to-one with the Casual's goalkeeper, unleashed a controlled low drive to finish a beautiful move off started by Vorster. Several Fulham Deaf players ran to join Jeffers at the corner flag to celebrate what sealed the match and points for Fulham Deaf.
Beese, injured from several high tackles that undeservedly went unpunished by the referee, came off for Peter Drinnan. With a couple of minutes left, after some nice one and two touch link up play between Jeffers, Fox and Drinnan, Fox closed down towards goal and unleashed a shot straight at the goalkeeper.
The full-time whistle blew to place Fulham Deaf clear second in the league, five points behind West End Esher with three games in hand.
Final score Fulham DFC 3 – 0 Westminster Casuals (half time 2 – 0)
Man of the match: Richard Jeffers
Fulham Deaf FC Line up:
Parker, Vorster, Sarraf, Docker, Drury, Beese (Drinnan 85), Gill (Fox 67), Pendley (McGreevy 70), Lampert, Jeffers, Dixon
Fulham Deaf FC Manager