Through a Sainsbury`s car park the entrance to Fisher FC`s rented ground lies. They share it with Dulwich Hamlet and there were none of the fancy electronic entrance ways that have become so popular with the Premiership and Championship clubs.
Still I got a smile as I passed my £3 to the ticket lady, and inside splashed out of a souvenir program at £1.50. The ground was small but fairly well kept, the pitch looked fairly good too. I took my seat in the main grandstand, the only grandstand and realised I hadn`t a clue which team was which. Luckily I recognised Fisher`s female coach and before I knew it we were away in the Kent Bulmers Cider League!
In the program notes manager Gary Lisney said that fans needed to stay patient as the newly reformed Fisher were around 4 weeks behind their competitors in regards to pre-season training and that with the wholesale changes in the playing staff it would take time for the team to gel. Over the opening 20 minutes this was more than apparent, with Beckenham linking well, particularly down the left with Danny Bleach catching my eye as a tough tackling, hard working left midfielder. Fisher slowly got up to speed and although they weren`t as free flowing they occasionally troubled the Beckenham defence. As with Beckenham it was Fisher`s left winger who caused the most problems, happy to take on his man and with speed in abundance he was double marked and yet still managed to reach the by-line and deliver a cross, Beckham take note!
As half time drew near both sides found that the majority of play was in the centre of the park with both teams midfields cancelling each other out. Once the second half started I wondered whether Beckenham would tire as they had played on Saturday but I needn`t have worried. They went about Fisher as they had done at the beginning of the first half. The Fisher keeper had made a great save in the first half from a meaty drive and time and time again he was called into action always proving to be good enough to keep a frustrated Beckenham attack at bay.
Beckenham`s number 9 was as small as a Dyson vacuum with great billowing white shorts but he had decent ball control, pace and a hell of a good cross on him. He had been linking up well with Bleach on the left and after yet another heroic save from the Fisher keeper he stepped up and whipped in the resulting corner. The defence couldn`t cope and the second smallest man on the pitch, Danny Bleach, rose as majestically as he could to nod in the goal.
To their credit Fisher didn`t let it get to them. They pressed on at Beckenham utilising their own left winger, Elstrom Die, who was causing all kinds of mayhem with his pace, dribbling and crossing. He was finally put through down the left and from the corner of the 18 yard box lobbed the oncoming Beckenham keeper to score a fantastic goal and to get Fisher back level. Unfortunately though the Fisher keeper, Adam Lisney I think, was unable to stem the tide and finally a cross was volleyed home by James Holder, one of Beckenham`s centre halves who had stayed up.
Minutes later the whistle went, Beckenham were the better team and so probably just deserved the points but Fisher should be proud of their performance. Once they are up to speed playing with each other I think they will be fine. Beckenham`s star men were Danny Bleach and also a really good centre half who could play the ball who I think was Danny Gorman. Fisher have a great winger in Elstrom Die and his goal was pure class. However the man of the match has to be Fisher`s keeper who put in a great performance. Saving at least a dozen very good efforts. His only down point was his distribution but his positioning, his rushing out, his ability to deal with corners and his shot stopping were all exemplary. A thoroughly entertaining match and I would advise everyone to go out and watch lower league football, no matter how low!
Build Up - Game Three: Brentford v Bristol City
Brentford FC were founded in 1889 originally for the rowing team to have something to do during the winter months. Prior to the First World War nothing much occurred apart from a relegation in 1912 and the move to their current ground, Griffin Park. Known as the Bees Brentford`s ground is the only one with a pub on each corner. Their main rivalries are Fulham and QPR, both local rivals.
Another record held by Brentford is of winning every home game of the 1929-30 season, 21 wins, which is still a record today. Yet they still didn`t manage to achieve promotion until the 1932-33 season eventually reaching the First Division and recording a 5th place finish, their highest in their league history to this day, and finished 6th two consecutive years prior to the Second World War.
After the Second World War the club suffered a number of relegations finally dropping to the Fourth Division in 1961-62 and was almost taken over by West London rivals QPR in the late 60`s. After the 60`s the club gained promotion on a number of occasions but found it hard to survive and was often immediately relegated.
The 90`s were to prove a painful experience with Brentford losing out on promotion a number of times often via the play-offs and once losing a play-off final. This bad luck continued into the millennium years however last season was successful with Brentford winning League 2. Interestingly they are the second team to win the fourth tier three times and the only team to win it under three different names; Fourth Division, Division Three and League Two.