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Home arrow Conference Premier & South arrow Fisher Athletic 1-2 Eastleigh - I've got the toughest job in football, admits Mehmet
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Fisher Athletic 1-2 Eastleigh - I've got the toughest job in football, admits Mehmet PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Blue Square South
Wednesday 18th February 2009
Stephen McCartney reports from Champion Hill Stadium

FISHER ATHLETIC’S real boss Dave Mehmet says he has the toughest job in non-league football - after his relegation threatened side suffered their twelve successive defeat tonight.

In front of what was a media frenzy with numerous television camera crews taking an interest in Donna Powell, the 27-year-old, who banked £500 worth of sponsorship for the club to take charge of team affairs - the first woman to do so in senior football - Fisher’s miserable run continued.

However, the troubled south Londoners put on a spirited display against an Eastleigh side that are challenging for a place in the Blue Square South play-off’s.

But Mehmet, speaking to www.kentishfootball.co.uk afterwards, it’s just a case of damage limitation between now and the end of the season, that is, if the club escape a winding up order next month.

“There’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “My job is to get a team out that can compete in this league.

“Everyone involved in the club are trying hard to just compete.

“We don’t train and it’s very difficult but that side of it (the winding-up order), we can’t do nothing about.”

Eastleigh, fielding three players that played for Fisher Athletic during their cash-rich days, broke the deadlock inside the opening ten minutes and looked comfortable throughout, against a Fisher Athletic side that made five changes from Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Hampton & Richmond Borough.

A throw from Luke Byles wasn’t dealt with by the Fisher defence and striker Jonny Dixon’s initial drive was blocked, but his second right-footed drive, found the net past Ashley Jones’ despairing dive.

The opening goal sparked a chorus of “you should have stayed in the kitchen!” aimed at Powell from the band of vocal travelling supporters.

Due to their lack of training facilities, it was clear that Fisher Athletic had good individual players, who tried to impress on their big stage. But what they did lack was one or two strikers that could make an impression in the final third.

And Mehmet agreed, saying, “To be fair, the last month has been similar to that to be honest with you.

“They have a go, but lack a little bit of quality in certain areas, but we do have a go and we won’t give up.”

And reflecting on his side’s lack of firepower, the former Beckenham Town number two added, “Every level you find that’s where the money is. That’s no different with this level to the Premiership.

“The top players get paid that kind of money and we don’t have none so that’s all we’re lacking.”

Shot-shy Fisher, meanwhile, did slot the ball into the back of the net after 40 minutes, but striker Carl Gibbs was flagged for offside when he latched onto Alex Bentley’s ball over the top of the Eastleigh defence.

But Eastleigh doubled their lead two minutes later, courtesy of Jones going to ground too easily.

Former Fisher favourite, Anthony Riviere showed quick feet on the edge of the penalty area and slid the ball to Tony Taggart in behind the home side’s defence, and the winger lashed a left-footed drive over the grounded goalkeeper and into the roof of the net on the angle.

Peter Adeniyi really should have scored against his former club on the stroke of half-time but he stabbed his shot agonisingly past the foot of the right hand post after a mazy run left the Fisher defence in knots.

Eastleigh skipper Tom Jordan, who has a famous father named Joe, had a couple of headed chances to add to their lead before the hour mark.

It took Fisher Athletic 65 minutes to register their first shot towards goal, although the lively Gibbs lashed high and wide from 25-yards, but he went closer three minutes later, cutting in from the right before drilling a deflected shot just past the foot of the near post.

But the south London hosts deservedly pulled a goal back for their spirited display, although the stunning 89th minute free-kick was too late in the day to stage a fight-back.

Substitute John Raus stepped up and cracked a right-footed, dipping, curling free-kick from nineteen-yards, which flew over Jason Matthews to drop into the top left-hand corner - the best goal of the night.

Whilst all the attention shone into the face of the club’s turnstile operator turned manager for the night Powell, Mehmet spoke about the troubles he faces at the crisis torn club.

“It’s quite obvious we’re in trouble,” he admitted. “But our main priority is to get a team out every Saturday or Tuesday night. We’ve got quite a few midweek games coming.

“Our main priority is to get something out on the pitch, to compete really.

“When I first took over I signed four or five players and the team would have got us out of (relegation) trouble, but when I found out we had no money whatsoever we had to let them go so we’re back to square one really.”

Mehmet enjoyed the media attention that descended on the club, although everyone returns back to earth when Worcester City’s visit Champion Hill on Saturday afternoon.

“I think our first half performance, with all the cameras, it might have affected the younger players a little bit,” he said.

“We had a chat at half time and you did see a bit of a difference. It’s good publicity for the club and it helped money wise (with the larger than normal attendance).

When asked if female football managers can make an impression in non-league football, Mehmet suggested they should learn the ropes first.

“I know Donna quite well, she’s a true supporter anyway, her heart and soul’s in the club, like everyone else involved - it’s a good experience for her,” he said.

“I think the first thing they’ve got to do is in their own league’s. They’ve got to start seeing women managers in that. I think a lot of them are men and that’s where they need to get their priorities. They’ve got to take it step-by-step.

“It’s man-management a lot of it and getting the best out of your players. You’ve got to give certain players rollockings, and certain players you put your arm around.

“The trouble with us, we get through so many players.

“Donna isn’t really a new face, she works at the club anyway, so most people know her.”

Fisher Athletic now have only thirteen games to avoid relegation, although they are fifteen points adrift of safety.

“Don’t get me wrong, if you speak to all the managers in our league, they say good things about us and we never give up, we keep going,” said Mehmet.

“People don’t realise how difficult this job is. We went to Dorchester midweek last week, people had to leave work at 3 o’clock, you’re losing three or four people straight away and we only had fourteen players who travelled, so it’s difficult.

“I think I’ve got the hardest job in non-league football to be honest with you, I wouldn’t say the Blue Square South.

“I don’t think there’s many teams that don’t train and things like that and you just turn up (and play).

“We don’t train and the team gets changed week in, week out. I’ve lost four players the other week. It’s been like that all the time I’ve been here.”

It will be back to normal on Saturday with Powell operating the turnstiles and Mehmet praying his side can emulate their spirited performance tonight and hopefully tonight’s experience will spur them on to their first victory since their 1-0 win at Bishop’s Stortford on 11th November.

Fisher Athletic: Ashley Jones, Chris Saunders (John Raus 63), Alex Bentley, Pat O’Donnell, Cedriccar Abraham, Marc Talbot, Seb Schoburgh (Jamaile Johnson 77), Carl Gibbs, Caleb Kamara-Taylor (Warren Waugh 54), Louis Hollingsworth, Emmanuel Sackey.
Subs: Lee Doherty, Oozo Opara.

Goal: John Raus 89

Eastleigh: Jason Matthews, Steve Clark, Luke Byles (Trevor Challis 80), Anthony Riviere, Tom Jordan, Aaron Martin, Peter Adeniyi, Ashley Carew, Jamie Brown (Brett Williams 62), Jonny Dixon (Matt Groves 21), Tony Taggart.
Subs: Neil Sharp, Gareth Howells.

Goals: Jonny Dixon 10, Tony Taggart 42

Attendance: 287
Referee: Mr Neil Hair (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire)
Assistants: Mr Neil Baker (Welling, Kent ) & Mr Nicholas Evans (Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 February 2009 )
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