Saturday 18 February 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 2 Bedfont & Feltham 0.
A superb goal from TJ Nkoma two minutes from the end of normal-time finally clinched a win for Swans against the bottom-placed club, and completed just their second double of the season. They also kept a welcome clean-sheet for the first time in fourteen games. After taking a twelfth minute lead Swans struggled to create further openings against a side that has shown a recent improvement in form in their endeavour to climb away from the bottom spot.
Both Howard Newton and Jamie Thoroughgood were able to return after being unavailable in midweek, but both Elliot Simpson and Nathan Gordon were still injured, so Craig Tanner continued at left-back. Saidou Khan will also be out for some time with an injury, while top-scorer Jamil Okai dropped to the substitute’s bench.
With just under ten minutes played Billy Marshall’s corner from the right was met with a strong far-post header by Thoroughgood that visiting goalkeeper Ashley Davey did well to tip over.
But Swans soon took the lead following another excellent delivery from Marshall. This time it was a free-kick from the left, and Francois Gabbidon was beyond the far-post to score his second goal in as many appearances with a powerful header.
Gabbidon was soon being found in the right of the box, but his shot lacked power, and Davey made an easy save. With a quarter of an hour played Gabbidon was put clear by a fine through ball by Marshall, but the finish was again disappointing as his shot went well wide.
The visitors’ first chance came after 26 minutes when player/manager Aaron Morgan had an opening inside the box, but Lea Van Sullivan made a fine block. There was another opportunity when a free-kick was harshly awarded against Tamner on the right, but Morgan sent the ball across goal and wide. With just under ten minutes left to the break the visitors broke following a Swans’ attack, and it was again Morgan who threatened, as he cut in from the right to drive a shot wide of the far-post. Swans’ lead continued to look a fragile one as Morgan turned on the edge of the box to get in a low shot that home keeper Liam Beach got well behind.
Malachi Thomas was almost played in by Nkoma as Swans started the second-half determined to extend their lead, and Thomas soon made a good run on the right to cross into the box. The ball fell to Newton, whose shot was taken by keeper Davey.
Okai soon came on to replace the injured Gabbidon.
With just over twenty minutes remaining Swans were grateful to Beach for retaining their lead as the keeper dived to his left to make a fine save, pushing round a low-struck free-kick from 30 yards by substitute Craig Tomkins.
Swans struggled to create chances, and Louis Taylor put a far-post header over when Marshall crossed from the right.
At the other end Shakeel Morris cut in from the right to shoot wide.
With just under ten minutes remaining Swans looked to have a clear case for a penalty turned down when Corey Haywood-Roye went down after making a fine run into the box from the right.
Swans finally gave themselves a two-goal buffer with Nkoma’s fine goal. Okai made a good run on the right before crossing to the left of the box, where Nkoma controlled the ball before rifling a terrific shot into the far, top corner.
With two minutes of stoppage-time played the lead was almost halved again as a cross from the right was met with a powerful header by former Swan Jason Pinnock, but Beach made a superb save, getting down to his left to take the ball on the line. There was still time for the visitors to have another chance, but Morris put his header over following a corner from the right.
Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Corey Haywood-Roye, Craig Tanner, Louis Taylor, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood, Malachi Thomas (Sean White 71’), Billy Marshall (Cameron Gyeabour 90’), Francois Gabbidon (Jamil Okai 52’), Howard Newton, TJ Nkoma. Subs. not used: Seb Castello, Alex Filipe. Scorers: Gabbidon (12’), Nkoma (88’).
Bedfont & Feltham Team: Davey, Emanuel-Williamson, Quashie, Balanta, Pinnock, Carby, Pedro (Tomkins 55’), Fisher (Al-Hussaini 79’), Simpson (Raymond 71’), Morgan, Morris. Subs. not used: Harrison, Fati-Samugiwa. Cautions: Carby, Raymond.