Make no bones about it this was the best Waltham Forest performance since the club was formed. Fisher came to Wadham Lodge with a 100% record and showed why they were top by playing some excellent football. However, hard graft and sheer genius brought three points for the home team.
Forest had a mission and they stuck. Every player ran their hearts out for the full 90 minutes, every player had a job and executed it to the full.
Although Fisher looked slightly the better in the opening minutes, the Stags quickly got into their stride and found that the Fisher defence was very rocky when put under pressure.
Forest should have gone ahead on 15 minutes when some excellent combination play between Ian Barnes and Ken Charlery sent the ball down the right wing to be quickly crossed for Papy Kanyuka to head to Dewayne Clarke on the penalty spot. Unhappily, in trying to beat the keeper he headed just wide.
After 18 minutes the Stags won yet another corner and Simon Tickner came into the penalty area with a trade mark late run to score with a blinding shot after the Fisher defence, once again, failed to clear effectively.
Whilst the attack constantly worried the Fisher goal, things weren’t going too well for them in front of the Stags goal either. The home defence were having a superb game with Ken Charlery doing an excellent job on Steve Watts. Lenny Piper did have one early chance after the Stags had scored but he managed to sky the ball well wide when only three yards out from goal.
The Stags continued to pile on the pressure but Fisher had their own purple patch too with home ‘keeper Gavin King Making two excellent point blank saves from Braithwaite and Watts and the post saving from Piper. The attack went straight up the other end and should have had a penalty when Steve Aris handled in the area and could have scored when Clarke jinked his way into the penalty area but shot to early giving the ‘keeper time to save.
On 38 minutes, the Stags went further ahead when Fisher’s problems at corners was, once again, in evidence. Again the ball came over and again Tickner was given space to push the ball through to Clarke. His shot was saved by ‘keeper Jerome John but Charlery reacted quicker than the defence to slam the ball home.
The half finished with Clarke again causing trouble. This time he cut in from the left of the penalty area and passed to Hasan Kardal at the near post but he was not ready for it and pushed the ball just wide of the post.
Although 2-0 up, the Stags could thank King for some top drawer goalkeeping to keep the lead at half time.
It was expected that Fisher would force the game right from the start of the second half or, at least, make some changes in formation but they seemed not to be able to raise their game.
On 55 minutes referee Miller denied the Stags a second penalty when Tickner was through on goal only to be taken out by two defenders. Their resort to fouling was to go on, unpunished by the referee until the end of the game.
The Fisher defence seemed really scared every time Dewayne Clarke got the ball as they began to foul him at almost every chance. They could do nothing when on 65 minutes Slomon Henry came in from the right wing, rode a scything tackle and cut the ball back for Clarke to stab the ball into the empty net.
Fisher pushed forward but were not having much luck Their tactics caused a brawl to break, the referee becoming in danger of losing the game.
With 20 minutes left, Ian Barnes was sent off for a second yellow card and Kardal was replaced by John Hurlock. Nabil and Walker rose to the occasion and the whole defence did not put a foot wrong.
On 76 minutes Leon Braithwaite pulled one back for Fisher scoring from close range but there was no way the Stags were going to give up: Charlery stood like a rock in the middle and the rest of the team followed his example with the forwards creating chances right to the end.
A famous victory.