Saturday 12th December 2009

SSEC Intermediate Division Two League

Yourstory FC v Fulham Deaf FC

Fulham Deaf FC travelled to Yourstory FC in search of a win
that would keep the pressure on league runners AFC Cubo. The Gaffer in the
build up explained to the team that we should not take Your Story lightly
despite their lowly league position, as they had been scoring for fun, scoring
an average of more than two goals a game. They had also previously beaten Cheam
Village Warrirors FC, putting four past them in the process, and this was a
team that had held Fulham Deaf FC to a hard fought 0-0 draw.

The team was also
reminded that this 0-0 draw was based at the same venue and the Gaffer recalled
that we had difficulties coming to terms with the slope and the tough
conditions and demanded that armed with this knowledge, we should be better
prepared. The Gaffer then expressed his disappointment that this was also the
last time that Fulham Deaf had kept a clean sheet, a run of five games and told
the team of his expectation that this unwanted run should end.

The game got underway with
Fulham Deaf in a familiar 4-5-1 formation kicking off up the slope. The
pre-match talk appeared to work wonders as they got off to a great start.
Straight from the kick off, Sellers delivered a wonderful cross field pass for
Waller on the right wing but Waller’s cross was well collected by the Your
Story goalkeeper who was under pressure from Gregory. This was however was to
be the best piece of play that Fulham produced for the next half hour as Your
Story quickly settled and came to terms with the heavy pitch far better than
Fulham. Each player looked extremely comfortable on the ball and Your Story was
passing the ball around with confidence. It was clear after only five minutes
that Fulham were in for a tough game. Your Story had a great chance with an
early corner when they caught the defence napping but their forward could only
direct his header harmlessly over the bar.

With 15 minutes on the
clock, Fulham had a free kick inside their half. Captain Evans made a run on
the left before collecting the ball and flicking it past a bemused Your Story
defender, a piece of skill that wouldn’t look out of place on Soccer AM’s
Showboat! However, having got past defender, Evans couldn’t provide a telling
cross for Ailey and the move broke down. Minutes later, Hogan, playing at left
back, threaded a ball through to Ailey but goalkeeper came rushing out of his
area and took him out. Had the referee applied the letter of the law, the goalkeeper
would have surely got his marching orders, as he was last man and Ailey had
nodded the ball past him, which would have left him with an open goal and thus
a clear goal-scoring opportunity. However, the referee decided to only show a
yellow card much to the keeper’s relief and to the annoyance of Fulham’s bench.
To rub salt into the wounds, from the resulting free kick, the goalkeeper
produced an outstanding save from Hogan’s fierce shot, where he stretched at
full reach to palm the ball away to safety.

Fulham were sloppy in
possession with a number of playes finding it hard to stay on their feet due to
the conditions. This led to Your Story having a great chance to take the lead.
A hopeful long ball from midfield caused problems with the ball bouncing over
Evans head before falling kindly to their forward inside the area. Thankfully,
the forward rushed his shot, shooting straight at the legs of Roberts. On 35th
minutes, Philip Swift nearly got on the scoresheet for Fulham when he advanced
onto a chipped pass from Monksfield at right back. Swift succeeded in lobbing
the onrushing keeper from outside the box but a Your Story defender was on hand
to clear his shot, which in truth was probably heading wide.

Your Story then took a
deserved lead in the 40th minute following a free kick awarded
against Monksfield for a clumsy tackle just inside Fulham’s half. The tackle
also ensured that Monksfield name went into the referee’s book. The free kick,
a long cross-field ball, caused havoc in Fulham defence, bouncing over Hogan
where Your Story’s right midfielder was lying in wait to smash home on the
volley, an unstoppable shot low in to the left corner leaving Roberts with no

This set back led to an
almost immediate response from Fulham. Sellers and Hogan combined, playing some
neat one touch football before Hogan was put through on the left wing. Hogan
then drove the ball low to Ailey who was charging in and he had the simple task
of tapping in for his 20th goal of the season. In equalising, Ailey
equalled the record set by Shyloh Morally for scoring in seven consecutive

Just before the half-time
whistle, Your Story had an ambitious attempt to get back into the lead when a
midfielder had an outrageous shot from 40 yards. The shot caught Roberts slightly
out of position and only narrowly went over the bar. This ensured that both
teams entered the half time break on level terms.

Following the poor first
half display, Fulham were expecting the usual hairdryer treatment from the
Gaffer but instead found him to be calm and measured in his half-time talk,
which took the entire team by surprise! The Gaffer however described the first
half performance as the worst he had seen this season and said that we should
be grateful that we weren’t behind. He expressed disappointment by the
sloppiness and poor first touch by the players and urged for a much-improved
second half. He also reiterated that we can’t afford any slip-ups if we wanted
to keep the pressure on the current league leaders and demanded that we hit the
ground running for the second half.

The Gaffer was forced to
make a change as Sellers had a groin strain and so brought on Andrew Vorster
for his 149th competitive appearance, who is now only one game
behind Gaffer’s appearance recond. Vorster slotted into left back with Hogan
moving up to left midfield and Swift took over Sellers place in midfield.

The half-time talk must
have done a trick because Fulham came out much stronger in the second half.
Early on, Ailey won a free-kick on the edge of the box near the corner flag.
From the free kick, Hogan floated a teasing cross which Ailey, unmarked,
powered a header wide of the post. Ailey perhaps should have done better with
the chance. Shortly afterwards, Vorster sent over a cross from the left but Your
Story could only clear a header to Gregory who must have thought he scored when
he smashed a first time shot low to in the left corner.However, not for the
first time, the keeper made a fantastic fingertip save to turn it out for a

Two chances then came in
quick succession. Ailey drew a good save from the keeper after firing low to
his right from just inside the box. Gregory then sent Hogan through on goal for
an even better chance as he was left one on one but Hogan could not finish,
instead tamely shooting straight at the keeper.

With half an hour
remaining, both Gaffer and Ironside saw the need to shake things up. Jacob
Willis was brought on for Waller who was having a quiet game on the right
midfield. Willis went up to join Ailey up front as Fulham changed to 4-4-2.

The substitution proved to
be a masterstroke, as Willis scored with his first touch. Hogan released Ailey
on the left who dribbled the ball down to the goal-line before cutting back and
feeding Gregory who sent a weak shot straight down the middle of the goal but
the keeper could only fumble into the path of Willis who made no mistake. The
keeper, who up to that point has done wonders to keep Fulham at bay, will feel
that he should have done better to keep Gregory’s shot under control.

Ailey soon had the chance
to make the game safe but after collecting the ball and rounding the goalkeeper
and doing all the hard work, he fluffed his shot wide of the post when faced
with an open goal.

Fulham were clearly on top
and frustration from Your Story started to tell. One such moment led to an ugly
two-footed tackle on Willis who was causing their defence all sort of trouble.
Fulham’s bench were disappointed for a second time when the referee deemed the
incident worthy of only a yellow card when in truth it was more deserving of a
red. From the free-kick, Ailey drew a comfortable save from the keeper.

It wasn’t until the 85th
minute that the game was finally made safe. Swift fed Willis on the right who
sent over a first time cross into the box. Ailey was on hand to score his 21st
goal of the season and his second of the game when he buried his shot in the
bottom right hand corner.

The victory over Your Story
means that Fulham Deaf remain unbeaten after 9 league games. Your Story
performance should stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season as
they clearly should be much higher placed in the league than where they
currently are.

The manager felt that man
of the match award should go to Willis, as it was his introduction that changed
the game. He scored with his first touch, set up the third and was a general
nuisance to the Your Story defence and ensured that Fulham leave Tolworth with
a all-important three points. However a special mention should go to Eoin Burns
who had a fine game in the holding position and broke up numerous attacks from
Your Story FC making sure that Evans, Harding and Co did not have much to do in
defence for the second half. Hogan also had a good second half performance who
clearly enjoyed moving up into midfield and Ailey of course is proving to be a
goal machine. Next week Fulham Deaf are away to league strugglers AFC Ewell and
will hope that they continue their unbeaten league start to the season.

Final score Yourstory FC 1 – 3 Fulham
Deaf FC (HT 1 – 1)

FDFC Line-up :- Roberts, Monksfield, Hogan,
Harding, Evans, Burns, Sellers (Vorster 45), Gregory, Swift, Waller (Willis 62)
and Ailey.

Subs not used :- Bovino, Sarraf