It was a case of both defences dominating as Deal opened their competitive campaign with a goalless draw at the Charles Ground on Saturday.
Hoops manager Derek Hares was reasonably satisfied after watching his side hold a Fisher team who finished third last season, saying: “I thought we could have done a little bit better in their box but you have got to give Fisher credit for the way they defended, and that applies to our lads as well.
“There weren’t too many chances for either side to be honest and a draw was probably a fair result, but it’s a clean sheet and our first point on the board so I’ve got to be pleased with that.”
Deal started slowly and apart from one Macauley Murray volley pushed aside by the Fisher ‘keeper it was the visitors’ new manager, Allan Fenn, who probably would have been the happiest after the opening half hour. But the Hoops gradually began to string some passing moves together as the interval approached and they almost went in front six minutes before the break when Connor Coyne’s header was cleared off the line by Luke McLeavy.
With new signing Nick Treadwell having a growing presence in midfield Hares’ men remained the more positive in the early stages of the second half but without being able to carve out any genuine chances.
And it was Fisher who went closest to breaking the deadlock when James Tonkin could only half-block Karolis Atutis’s 65th-minute shot, but fortunately for the Hoops Josh Maughan was on hand to hack the ball clear.
Both managers used all their substitutes in the closing stages in a bid to unlock the stubborn defences but in vain and so the game finished goalless, one of three matches in the SCEL Premier Division to do so on Saturday. That in itself is worthy of a final statistical note because in the whole of last season’s 380 league games there were only five “shut outs” in total.
Deal: Tonkin, Alexander, Penny, Maughan, Smith, Bigginton, Treadwell, Murray (Munday 63), Coyne (Wilson 77), Cardwell (Walsh 69), Pilcher.