Billy Walton and Martin Ford got off to a winning start as joint-managers, as a Carl Gibbs goal lifted Fisher off the foot of the table.
Gibbs rose to meet a cross supplied by the returning Chris Hubbard to give the Fish an early lead, but despite dominating possession Fisher couldn’t add a second goal which led to a nervy finish as the minutes ticked away.
Walton and Ford handed debuts to four new signings, including Chris Hubbard, Billy Walton (junior), and Jason Mabbs all of whom returned for a second stint at the Fish. Entirely new was midfielder Sam Friskey who teamed up with Mabbs, Jamie Taylor and Marvin Alebiosu in the middle of the park.
Fisher started quickly and Friskey was in to the action early on, sending a shot wide with two minutes on the clock. Alebiosu then had a goal disallowed for a foul on the keeper, who was under pressure but could consider himself somewhat fortunate to hear the referee’s whistle. Hubbard went on a run down the left but his shot was off target.
Sevenoaks presented a threat on the break, and only a magnificent saving tackle from Walton stopped Fabian Batchelor from getting a shot away as he advanced on home keeper Alex Hyde. Shortly afterwards Fisher took the lead. Mark Lewis combined well with Mabbs on the left, and Mabbs laid the ball back for Hubbard to send a cross. Gibbs was first to the ball and his header looped over Andrew Osei in the Sevenoaks goal.
Fisher grew in confidence after the goal, and other than a scramble that was cleared there was very little threat to Hyde’s clean sheet. Fisher looked good particularly in midfield, where some sharp passing helped retain the ball as Fisher looked to build attacks. Too often however the Fish failed to get a shot away when in a good position, and when they did so the target was missed – Gibbs shooting wide after good work from Alebiosu. The game became a little scrappy, but Fish went in to the half time break in the lead.
Fisher started the second half looking to add a second goal. Alebiosu, who had a fine game, combined with Mabbs on the right before Gibbs headed over. A Mabbs long range effort was palmed over the bar by Osei, and then Alebiosu also saw a shot saved from the resulting corner. Friskey fired in a free kick and Ben Frempah saw the ball punched off his head by Osei.
As the game wore on though, nerves began to take hold and both sides were guilty of wasting possession. Sevenoaks at last began to exert some pressure, although the Fisher defence were able to ensure that they could not manufacture any real chances. The minutes ticked away, and substitute Badar Mohamed should have finished the game off in injury time after he was played in by Alebiosu, but under pressure his shot went wide.
It wasn’t to matter as the referee blew for full time and Fisher finally registered a first home win of the season. It was the perfect start for Walton (senior) and Ford, who will continue to work with the side ahead of a home double next weekend as Fisher face Cray Valley on Saturday and Erith & Belvedere on Monday night.
This game was one of only two to survive in our league on Saturday – our thanks are due to the Dulwich Hamlet fans who cleared the Champion Hill pitch last Saturday. While their efforts were ultimately in vain, we reaped the reward of that work and that of the groundsman who produced an excellent surface despite the recent weather.
Fisher: Hyde, Akers, Lewis, Walton, Frempah, Taylor, Hubbard (Green 70), Mabbs (Monan 63), Gibbs (Mohamed 74), Friskey, Alebiosu
Subs: Olugbemi, Clark
Goal: Gibbs 13