Fisher bounced back from Saturday’s 7-2 defeat against league-leaders Whyteleafe with a hard earned, and well deserved point against second placed Ashford United, writes Ian Murphy.
It looked like it would be another long 90 minutes for the Fish when Ashford were awarded a penalty within 90 seconds of the kick off when Ashley Henry-Brown was booked for a push in the box. Pat Kingwell proceeded to blast the penalty wide, much to the delight of Fish keeper Oshane Brown who had dived the wrong way.
Ashford looked good going forward throughout the game and forced several good saves from Brown who performed well. Fisher had chances themselves, with Kieron Campbell, Junior James and Jay Garrick all producing efforts. Campbell made several good runs through the visitors defence as the visitors struggled to handle his pace, although he was unable to produce anything to threaten Joe Mant in the Ashford goal.
Ashford broke forward in the 21st minute, and although the cross from the right looked like going to waste, Tom Carr threw his head at the ball in an attempt to clear the danger, but ended up putting the visitors ahead.
Both sides continued to press forward with the best chance of the half falling to the Fish. A short corner caused chaos amongst the Ashford defence, but the visitors were able to clear Campbell’s effort off the line to keep the scores at 1-0. Oshane Brown had more saves to make and was more than up to the challenge, producing several good blocks before the break.
Kieron Campbell continued to trouble Ashford’s defenders, whipping in a cross from the right wing following a good break by Piers Hanifan, and then creating a chance for himself, which missed the target by a matter of millimetres.
At half time, Fisher replaced Harry Draoer (who had picked up an injury) with Stephen Ita. The Fish continued to press forward although Ashford handled the pressure well.
Fisher’s task looked to have got even more difficult early in the second half when Ashley Henry-Brown picked up a second booking for a rather soft foul. Within minutes, Ashford took advantage of their numerical advantage and doubled their lead through captain Gary Clarke. It took just three minutes for the Fish to respond, with Junior James producing a fine run through the Ashford midfield before unleashing a 20 yard strike to pull the hosts back into the tie.
Fisher continued to create chances, with Junior James continuing to create chances. Fisher replaced Jay Garrick with Mike Damarola in the 76th minute and then began to take control of the game. Despite being a man (and at that point a goal) down, Fisher looked the better side as Ashford began to struggle at the back. Ita broke forward and won a corner (which the visitors dealt with well), before Fisher won another corner when perhaps, Ashford should have cleared the ball up-field. Ashford eventually scrambled the ball away but couldn’t get the ball past Fisher, who won possession and then won a throw in deep into stoppage time.
Tom Carr launched the ball into the box with a Rory Delap style throw, Ashford scrambled to get the ball away, but Danny Maguire was on hand on the edge of the box to blast home the equaliser. Fisher could perhaps have gone on to win the game but time ran out before they could muster a chance.
Oshane Brown, Piers Hanifan, Ashley Henry-Brown, Leighton Francis, Tom Carr, Billy Walton, Kieron Campbell, Harry Draper (Stephen Ita), Junior James (Aaron Seales), Danny Maguire, Jay Garrick (Mike Damarola)
GOALS: Junior James (58); Danny Maguire (90)