September’s Roundup of Mens’ Squad
In this month, Fulham Deaf 1st team started their first taste of life in a new football league the Surrey South Eastern Combination. This proved to be a new experience for the team to identify how high the football level is in the SSEC. In spite of having pre-season wrapped up and under our belts, training in the weeks prior to the first competitive matches was disrupted by poor attendance due to many absentee during the pre-season summer training section before the competitive league starts. We had a few friendly matches against Maori Park, Summerstown and Westminster Causals prior to our first SSEC league game.
Our objective for the month was to achieve maximum points from the first 4 league matches against Cheam Village Warriors, Mason United, Chile International and St Andrews Reserves.
In our first game, we played against Cheam Village Warriors at Deckers Sports Ground, Tolworth. The pitch was excellent and it was a new learning curve for the team to see how good Cheam Village Warriors are. We found that they were a decent match for us. We never underestimated them but respected them in such a manner as we always do to all opponents. There was no doubt that they were tactically strong. In the first half, they played well and closed down on us very quickly. This gave us a wake up call and made us recognise that the level of football in this division is very high. As a result, Fulham had to pass the ball around the pitch quickly rather than at the relaxed usual pace that they had done in the past 5 seasons.
Despite this adjustment, we still had chances to score but missed a lot of glorious chances in the first half that resulted in a goalless draw at the interval. Fulham were caught half asleep early in the 2nd half and conceded 2 goals in a short spell of 10 minutes which was very disappointing for the defence. However, introducing two late substitutes helped to the game and Fulham began to tear apart the Cheam backline. Fulham got a goal back and dominated the last half hour, yet once again poor finishing had let the team down, with 4 one-on-one and several other good chances being fluffed in succession.
The misses continued into the 10 minutes as Cheam Village Warriors defended in their half for the last 30 minutes to hold on to their one goal lead all the way to the final whistle. We could see that their faces showed relief as they had managed to hold on. We took this as a valuable lesson; our conversion of chances to goals had to be improved. It was a pleasure to watch good football between two well-matched teams.
After this, Fulham played against a new first time team in Mason United at Motspur Park. They could not cope with our football and tactics, including the application of pressure tactics throughout the game, which resulted in us racking up 7 goals. However, the score line could have been a double if it were not for those missing chances Fulham had! Sadly, Mason United subsequently made a quick decision to withdraw from the SSEC which was very disappointing.
Thirdly, Fulham entertained Chile International at Motspur Park. It was very interesting to watch them playing a good football like an International team but somehow their back four were caught out twice in the first 10 minutes that led Fulham scoring two quick goals. They had played more ball possession than Fulham in the first half, which had angered the Fulham manager, but the most essential point of all was to keep our lead. We did so, scoring another two goals to lead 4-0.
Unfortunately, we conceded a silly goal with the very last kick of the match as we conceded a foul just outside the penalty area and the back four and goalkeeper were to flat and static as they headed the ball into the far corner. However, it was a crucial three points, especially after the resignation of Mason United from the SSEC league had resulted in Fulhamâ€™s win being struck from the record..
In the League Junior Cup, Fulham played away to Tooting Bec Reserves at Raynes Park. Fulham totally controlled the whole game and won a comfortable 4-1 to advance into the 2nd round against Crescent Rovers ‘A’; the tie will be held at some point in November.
Having gained confidence from two wins from the previous two matches, Fulham attended the 3rd league match of the season against St Andrews Reserves at Weston Green Sports Ground. The pitch was very bumpy, hard and uneven, but this should not have been an excuse for Fulhamâ€™s poor performance on the day as both teams had to play on it. It proved to be a very frustrating first half to watch as Fulham missed too many chances; we could have scored at least 4 or more goals but amazingly they managed kept us at bay when the half-time whistle went.
The Manager gave the team good rollicking at the interval and the players were aware that it was imperative to win another 3 points under our belts to enable us to climb up the table and catch up with the leaders. Once the 2nd half went under way, Fulham continued missing chances to lead. Fulham eventually got a goal via a mixture of new substitutions and an improvement in passing the ball around. But suddenly Fulham conceded a goal after the defence were left exposed on the left hand side. St Andrews Reserves kept working hard to keep Fulham at bay but Fulham finally broke the deadlock in the last 20 minutes to win the match by 3-1. Another 3 valuable points in the bag, which enabled the team to climb up to 5th position of the SSEC Junior Division One table.
Having gained 6 points from a maximum of 9 in the first 3 league matches, it is imperative for Fulham to improve their finishing and consistency of performance in all matches going forwards. Maintaining momentum will be vital in the next few months if Fulham are to apply pressure on the pacesetters.
Fulham are due to play against NPL Reserves at Motspur Park on Saturday 11th October and then away to Nottingham Deaf FC for the 1st Round of British Deaf Cup on Sunday 12th October.
This is my first report for Fulham Reserves DFC. I have to admit that I am enjoying the role being manager for Fulham Reserves DFC despite the results.
First of all, I am pleased to have Neil Fox as my Assistant Manager for the season. His feedback and knowledge have been useful to me. In addition, we have a new coach called Gregory Fidele. I think he has already made an impact on the team which is positive. Amrish Vasdev will be working alongside Gregory. We have a new physio called Nisha. I am looking forward to working with them in the coming months.
v Sutton High Reserves away 0-2 (0-2)
With the opening game, fresh start for Fulham Reserves DFC in a new league with a new manager around the Reserves Squad. We started brightly with some chances from the strikers but failed to capitalise the chances but the players kept pressuring the opponents to get goals.
The goalkeeper misjudged the punch which landed into the other team’s striker’s feet and he then easily scored. Later in the first half the opponents took an opportunity from a mistake in the defence and took a goal from there. In the second half it was an even game for both teams. Was pleased with their mentality and attitude in the game and kept fighting till the whistle had blown. If we took some chances on their goal and the score would have been different.
v Old Town away 0-4 (0-2)
As with the disappointing defeat away at Sutton High Reserves, where the team felt that they were unfairly punished for the errors. The team came out the blocks blazing, with some lovely touches of passing with possession in mind, and penetrating Old Town’s defence, and our pacey forwards were there everytime.
Old Town’s goalkeeper was kept busy by rushing off his line to prevent our forwards from capitalising on a potential one-to-one many times. As the game carried on, Old Town crept into the game, with their fast movement during set-pieces, and from that, they capitalised on their few chances at the goal, and they consequently scored their goals from the set-pieces such as throw-ins and freekicks.
v Addington Athletic at home 1-2 (1-1)
Our first home game! Oh the joy from the players, as we all love playing at Motspur Park. The players were fired up for this game, due to an excellent training session prior to the game at the weekend (Thanks to Greg and Amrish). We started the game brightly, and to sum up a beautiful move initated by Chris Kenward, Sam Kemp and finished off with the ball in the goal by… Leo Mansell! The manager showed the lads how to score!
We continued in this fine trend of keeping the ball, and passing it around, and Addington Athletic didn’t give up and credit to them. They took their chances when they came along and they capitalised on them. Athlough there were some poor decisions made by the referee regarding both of Addington’s goals, but again that’s football for you.
v Fetcham Reserves at home 1-1 (1-1)
With some returnees in the squad, it was a positive boost for the team before the game against Fetcham Reserves. The team started off, with some good possession of the ball, passing it around the pitch and movement from the players were superb, and one of our forwards took his chances with clinical finish and scored not just 1, but 3! Unfortunately due to Fetcham’s linesman, 2 of them were ruled offside by the referee much to our dismay, when in our own view that they were not offside.
It’s disappointing, but we have to roll with the punches. A point is a point, but to some of us, it feels like we have lost 3 points, and they gained 1 point.
We have not won a league game yet but I strongly believe that we will win soon. I can see that the team has passion and hunger to win. My only concern is they need to be more disciplined in the game as we have let poor goals in. We need to improve this weak area. However, we have played some good football although we need to be more consistent in matches.
I am happy to see new faces in the squad as they bring more competition to the squad. It pushes the current players to bring the best out of themselves. It is good to see the new players fitting in well. I am determined to bring the best out of the squad. As in my last interview on the website, “Rome was not built in one day”, so there will be more improvements to come from the squad because I believe in them.
Come on Fulham Reserves DFC!!!