Saturday 2 April 2011. Ryman League, Division One South.
Walton & Hersham 1 Chipstead 2.
Swans’ failure to win for the third match running could well prove terminal for their play-off hopes, as they will now have to rely on Burgess Hill Town dropping points as well as having a near perfect run-in themselves. Since arguably their best display of the season, the win at Whitehawk, their form has taken an alarming dip as they have won just two points out of the last nine against sides struggling in the lower reaches of the division. Despite putting on another disjointed performance, they had the chances in the first-half to set up a platform to go on and win, but they failed to take them. Even after being given the lifeline of a penalty-kick in the dying minutes, they still contrived to lose the match in stoppage-time, by conceding a penalty themselves. A surprise selection was Sheikh Ceesay replacing Gareth Williams in goal, while Shaun Elliott was fit to return, and both Kieran Knight and Bernard Asante came into the side, with Graeme Purdy and Bakary Bojang dropping to the bench. The recent sudden spate of bad injuries that has not helped their cause continued with both Reis Stanislaus and Richard Taylor having to retire hurt, Stanislaus with suspected cracked ribs and Taylor with a possible broken nose. Once again Swans failed to settle quickly, and inside the first minute Chipstead’s Bill Harding was given space on the left to get the ball across, and Wayne Grizzle put in a good strike from outside the box that Ceesay had to tip over.
For the first quarter of an hour Swans could barely string two passes together, and they were fortunate when James Nicholls attempted to head back to Ceesay, only for the ball to fall well short. Chipstead’s Ray Freeman got possession and burst into the left of the box before going to ground under Ceesay’s challenge, the keeper looking somewhat fortunate not to concede a penalty. Swans finally managed to get an attack going, and Elliott played Knight into the left of the box, but he was just closed out. Chris Wales then sent a lob down the middle and Stanislaus just got his head to the ball on the edge of the box, but the Chipstead defenders managed to get it clear. Just before the half hour Swans went desperately close to taking the lead when a move finished with Knight setting up Stanislaus, only for his shot to hit the bar. Then as the half entered the final ten minutes Knight was played through on the left to get in a shot that was blocked, but after regaining possession Knight took the ball around Chipstead keeper Martin Grant and rolled it towards an open goal, but Lee Coburn just got across to clear off the goal-line by the left-post. Swans continued to put some attacks together and Ashley Quashie struck a terrific low shot from wide on the left that took a slight deflection to pass just wide of the far-post, Then another good build-up ended with Elliott driving a shot over from 30 yards.
In the final minute of the half Knight got through onto a long pass down the middle, but he couldn’t quite get the ball down to get in a shot. Stanislaus was found to have suffered a rib injury, resulting in him being taken to hospital and Bojang replacing him for the second-half. As in the first-half Swans started the second with more slack defending, and again there was less than a minute on the watch when they allowed Freeman to get in on the left, but fortunately his shot was weak and Ceesay was able to save. Swans had another good chance to take the lead when Glenn Stanley’s corner from the right picked out Taylor, but his header went over. They were soon made to pay for their missed opportunities, as Chipstead took the lead after 54 minutes. The ball bounced into the box off a home player, leading to indecision by Ceesay whether to pick the ball up, and Freeman was allowed to nip in and score. Just before the hour Taylor again got his head to a right-side corner by Stanley, and this time the ball found the top, right-corner of the visitors’ goal, but the score was disallowed for a somewhat obscure offence. Swans were then fortunate when they allowed Chipstead’s Russell Bedford space on the right to drive the ball across the face of the goal.
With twenty minutes remaining Taylor had to come off with blood streaming from his nose, Purdy coming on to replace him. The visitors had the chance to make the game safe with just over five minutes of normal time remaining as a Swans’ attack broke down and a ball down the middle sent Harding racing clear from just inside his own half with only Ceesay in front of him, but in trying to lob the keeper he sent the ball over the bar. But instead of going 2-0 down Swans were thrown a lifeline when Purdy was brought down as he was played into the left of the box and a penalty was awarded. The opportunity of salvaging at least a point seemed to have been wasted when Bojang’s spot-kick was pushed away by Grant, only for a retake to be ordered by the referee, presumably for encroachment. Bojang did not waste his second opportunity, this time giving the keeper no chance. But Swans’ desperation at trying to go on for a vital win was to prove their undoing, as three minutes into stoppage-time they were caught short at the back as Chipstead broke out, and when Freeman burst into the left of the box he was brought down by Nicholls’ clumsy challenge. Jason Thompson only needed one opportunity from the spot, ramming the ball past Ceesay.
Swans’ Team: Sheikh Ceesay, Ryan Adams, Shaun Elliott, Chris Wales (Ivailo Dimitrov 59’), James Nicholls, Richard Taylor (Graeme Purdy 70’), Glenn Stanley, Ashley Quashie, Kieran Knight, Reis Stanislaus (Bakary Bojang 45’), Bernard Asante. Subs. not used: Victor Kiri, Gareth Williams. Scorer: Bojang, penalty (88’).
Chipstead Team: Grant, Davies, Thompson, Coburn, Hollingsworth, Bedford, Grier, Goodchild, Harding (Quarty 90+2’), Grizzle (James 83’), Freeman. Subs. not used: Hibbert, Tompkins. Scorers: Freeman (53’), Thompson, penalty (90+4’). Cautions: Davies, foul (19’), Harding, foul (66’), Grizzle, foul (80’), Hollingsworth, dissent (87’).