Saturday 17 November 2012. Ryman League, Division One South.
Walton & Hersham 0 Burgess Hill Town 1.
The visitors’ prolific Pat Harding scored his eighth goal in three matches after 73 minutes to break ten man Swans’ resistance and to continue their winless run. Aryan Tajbakhsh had picked up his second yellow card of the match in first-half stoppage time, leaving Swans to play the remaining half of the match a man short. Tajbakhsh’s second yellow card was the sixth dished out by the referee in the space of 21 first-half minutes, a period that also saw Swans’ boss Chuck Martini sent from the dugout. The spate of bookings was totally out of keeping with the tone of a first-half in which there was hardly a foul challenge worthy of the name. The persistent brandishing of cards as the referee took centre stage were the only real incidents of note of a sterile first-half, as they helped to stifle any real flow to the play. Swans’ play in fact improved when a man short in the second-half, and the goal they conceded was again a soft affair.
With Greg Ngeno still unfit and Chris Wales no longer available, Ashley Quashie became the latest incumbent of the second central defensive spot for Swans, with Adriano Moraes returning to reclaim the left-back position. Will Turl was also recalled to partner Graeme Purdy up front.
Turl almost gifted the visitors a goal after just four minutes when his misplaced header went straight to Kai Bichard on the right, but fortunately he shot straight at home goalkeeper Sheikh Ceesay.
Swans soon went close when Harold Odametey crossed from the right and Phil Williams’ near-post header just cleared the bar.
Ceesay was brought into action when Burgess Hill’s Darren Budd took a free-kick from the left for Toby Phillips to get in a downward header, and the Swans’ keeper had to tip the ball over as it bounced up.
Swans’ Liam Collins was the first to be shown a yellow card after 25 minutes, and this was followed by teammates Tajbakhsh, Moraes, and Victor Kiri joining him in the referee’s notebook along with the Hillians’ Bichard, and Martini’s banishment to the stand for venting his frustration as the football took back stage. Then with a minute of first-half stoppage-time played Tajbakhsh conceded a free-kick on Swans’ right, and duly picked up his second caution, seemingly for a shirt pull. From Budd’s free-kick Bichard put a good heading chance over.
The visitors made a double substitution for the second-half and Jerome Maledon replaced Turl for Swans.
It was twenty minutes before either side posed a threat, the visitors getting in a cross from the right that looked destined for the head of Harding until Dan Sintim’s fine intervention to deny him. Harding then got into the right of the box to lay the ball inside to Karly Akehurst, who got in a strong shot that went straight at Ceesay.
Swans immediately broke to the other end and Purdy made a determined run into the in the box before going down under a challenge, but any claims for a penalty were waved away.
Burgess Hill’s Akehurst and Max Miller added to the list of bookings before their side scored what proved to be the decisive goal after 73 minutes. The ball was headed towards goal following a corner from the right, and though the effort carried little power the ball crept past Ceesay, with Harding claiming the goal.
Swans put in a big effort in search of an equaliser, but visiting goalkeeper Tom Rand was not seriously threatened, as had been the case for most of the match.
Swans’ Team: Sheikh Ceesay, Aryan Tajbakhsh, Adriano Moraes, Victor Kiri (Jason Henry 74’), Ashley Quashie, Dan Sintim, Phil Williams (Dave Lawrence 79’), Liam Collins, Graeme Purdy, Will Turl (Jerome Maledon 45’), Harold Odametey. Subs. not used: Gary Frewen, Audie Matheson-Light. Cautions: Collins, dissent (25’), Moraes, foul (35’), Kiri, dissent (37’). Dismissal: Tajbakhsh, 2 cautions, dissent (29’), foul (45+1’).
Burgess Hill Team: Rand, Watts, Fisk, Budd, Phillips, Tuck (Pointing 45’), Thompson, Cotton, Harding, Akehurst (Gayler 77’), Bichard (Miller 45’). Subs. not used: Donaldson, Macey. Scorer: Harding (73’). Cautions: Bichard, foul (41’), Akehurst, dissent (69’), Miller, foul (71’).