Saturday 26th September 2009

SSEC Intermediate Division Two League

Nutfield FC v Fulham Deaf FC

The FDFC players all met outside Redhill station on a beautiful day before travelling together to the lovely village of Nutfield. After some difficulty, we found the pitch and prepared for FDFC’s 2nd Intermediate league match, and looked forward to encounter the Nutfield side who were relegated from Intermediate Division One in the preceding season.

The changing room was very tight, which gave the players a headache as there was not enough room to sit down together! They were not the only ones as Ayad Sarraf, the FDFC Manager, had 18 players to choose from in his line up! He had a quick brief team talk with team captain Jonathan Evans and Martin Willis in the absence of Assistant Manager Greg Beedie who was away in his beloved Scottish home. The team line up was announced as usual.

In the first half, it was a pleasure to see the FDFC back four of Gill, Harding, Evans and Vorster performing very well against the run of play particularly with good defence as Nutfield could have scored a couple of goals but midway through the first half, FDFC played some decent football and attempt scoring but it was a lack of finishing that troubled us.

Ailey had a good chance to score but his half volley was too soft for the opposition’s giant goalkeeper, who caught his shot easily, after Ailey had received a delightful diagonal cross from right midfielder Waller. Swift played an excellent 1 – 2 with Lampert and broke through, but his resulting shot lacked power and went straight to the goalkeeper. Gill burst through on the left flank and had no one to target, but he hurriedly crossed the ball to the goalkeeper whereas he could have held the ball longer to see where our strikers were so that he could deliver a more dangerous cross. Both Ailey and Pafe applied a lot of pressure on back four as requested in a bid to wear them out for the 2nd half. When the referee blew the whistle for half time, the score was 0-0.

At half time, Ayad, the manager, gave a brief talk to the players and expressed how pleased he is with our defensive performance but bemoaned the lack of chances to score in the first half. He ordered the team to keep more possession of the ball more so as to avoid the opposition’s strong long ball counter-attacks, which had put FDFC under pressure in the first half. No substitutions were made during the interval.

At the beginning of the 2nd half play, FDFC managed to keep ball possession better than first half and tried to play good football at some stage but once again the final ball let us down. It was unbelievable to see us being a goal down at around 55th minute, especially as it was a very disappointing goal to concede! It happened when Nutfield’s right midfielder got the ball and slotted through Gill, who was then off-balance and beaten when the ball was rolled across the penalty area. The Nutfield striker was first to the ball and pulled a shot off before the onrushing Roberts could fully close him down. Roberts got a hand to the shot and slowed the ball enough for the defence to hopefully clear the ball before crossing the line. Captain Evans and a recovering Gill ran towards the net at the same time. Captain Evans approached the ball first and was expected to clear the ball away but Gill mis-communicated and decided to clear the ball instead but his clearance rocketed high up to the top of the net to put his name down for an own goal!!

FDFC know they need to bounce back after conceding a disappointing own goal. Moore replaced the tired Pafe up front. FDFC started to play some decent football combining well between the midfield and strikers. Gregory replaced Burns in central midfield.

An opposition player got a yellow card for dissent early in the first half. Swift had a great chance to score when he got the ball in front of the goalkeeper with no one around him, but his low shot went harmlessly past the near post. Moore headed a great cross from Swift that struck the bar and bounced down before being cleared away by the opposition.

FDFC sensed that they would score soon after the Nutfield midfielder received his second yellow for another case of dissent, which put 10-man Nutfield at a key disadvantage and under pressure. They kept defending all the way whilst FDFC attempted to break through in the last third of the pitch, but FDFC’s chances were either easily saved by the Nutfield keeper or went off target.

Lampert thought he had scored when he broke through on the left hand side and drilled a shot past the goalkeeper but it too went off target. Willis replaced Vorster to change the formation from 4-4-2 to 3-4-3; it paid off nicely as FDFC finally equalised with a good goal by Lampert after playing a good 1-2 with Gregory and shooting a low long range shot past the keeper and into the net off the post to bring FDFC some relief with only a few minutes left. By contrast, Nutfield were gutted to concede a goal so late as they attempted to hold on to their lead. Nonetheless, both teams sportingly shook hands when the final whistle blew a minute later.

The FDFC Manager, Ayad, thought it was a good hard game between two sides but emphasised the need for FDFC to improve their ball-possession for the next match. It gives us a great boost to stay unbeaten but FDFC will find it tougher when we travel to Weston Green Sports next Saturday, who beat us twice in Junior Division 1 last season. However, we are looking forward to play against them. Man of the match goes to Ben Lampert as he played a very solid performance in central midfield.

Final score Nutfield 1 – 1 Fulham Deaf (HT 0 – 0)

FDFC Line-up :- Roberts, Gill, Harding, Evans (Captain), Vorster (Willis 80 mins), Swift, Lampert, Burns (Gregory 70 mins), Waller, Ailey and Pafe (Moore 65 mins)