Saturday 30 September 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Godalming Town 1 Walton & Hersham 3.
Swans picked up another three points that reinforced their second place in the table and brought them closer to leaders Westfield, who went down to their first league defeat of the season. They played some fine football in the first-half and dominated their hosts, who are going through a poor run of results, going in at the break 2-0 up. That half-time lead should have been greater, but it was made to look slim early in the second-half when the home side halved it with a penalty. Godalming then continued to have their best spell of the match, finding a lot of room to run into in midfield, and it needed a third Swans’ goal, scored with just under twenty minutes remaining to seal the win.
With Chris Onoufriou unavailable Howard Newton came into the side, and Sanchez Benali also returned in place of Abdeen Abdul, who was unwell.
Godalming had to scramble clear a free-kick, taken from the right touchline by Elliott Simpson in the first minute, and Jamil Okai was played down the left to make room before having a low cross blocked.
Brendan Norris collected a free-kick taken from the left by Godalming’s Robert Webbe, the Swans’ goalkeeper then easily taking a shot from outside the box by Bobby Bennett.
With ten minutes played Howard Newton made a good run forward for Swans, but was denied as he got to the edge of the box.
Ben Cotton tried a curling shot from outside the left of the box for the home side, but Norris made an easy catch.
Sanchez Benali had two chances to get in a shot from 25 yards, the second a fine strike that home keeper Tom Webb did well to push wide, diving to his right. From Simpson’s corner Jamie Thoroughgood got in a far-post header that was blocked on the line. TJ Nkoma then poked the ball wide when Okai laid the ball in from the right, and Sanchez Benali put a shot well wide from the left of the box after Shaun Smart had threaded the ball through to him.
Swans made the breakthrough after 23 minutes. Howard Newton hit a superb diagonal pass from the left to pick out Julian Hornby in the right of the box, and he did well to bring the ball down before drilling a left foot shot low inside the near-post.
It should have been 2-0 minutes later when Sanchez Benali played Okai into the left of the box, but he shot over with Nkoma unmarked in the middle.
Hornby then played Smart down the right, but his cross to the far-post was just too high for Howard Newton. A terrific move got Okai into the box, but he failed to get a shot away, and Smart came in on the right to have a cross blocked at the near-post, and the final outcome was a corner-kick on the right.
It was another fine build-up that led to Swans doubling their lead with seven minutes left to the break. Okai crossed from the right to the left of the box, from where Nkoma struck a terrific, left-foot shot that rattled the far-post, and the ball rebounded into the goal.
Godalming made strong efforts to get back into the game as the half entered the final five minutes. Estaban Salgado broke on the left, but after cutting inside shot well over from 30 yards, and Kieran Wright made a fine surging run forward from deep in his own half, resulting in Norris taking a low, driven cross from the right at his near-post. Piers Oldland then got in a good strike from 35 yards that flew wide.
Just six minutes after the resumption Godalming were allowed to make a run into the box that was halted by a trip by Jim Fenlon, and a penalty was awarded. Lewis Taylor made no mistake from the spot.
Okai was immediately making a good run in on the left, and the ball was scrambled clear, and another opportunity came with a free-kick just outside the ‘D’, but Sanchez Benali sent the ball straight into the hands of keeper Webb.
The home side continued to have a good spell however, and Swans’ single goal lead looked tenuous, particularly when a tremendous shot from the left edge of the box thumped against the left junction of post and crossbar.
Just before the hour Hornby made a good run on the left for Swans, but he just failed to find Sanchez Benali in the box, and when Benali got the ball to Hornby on the left his cross went over the bar with Okai well-placed in the middle.
Swans finally relieved the pressure by restoring their two goal lead with just under twenty minutes remaining. Bilal Benali had just come on for Nkoma when he was put down the right by Howard Newton, and his low cross into the box found Okai, who struck a first-time, right-foot shot low inside the right-post from 15 yards.
Simpson was the provider to again get Bilal Benali on a run down the right, but this time his low cross was put behind for a corner. In the final minute of normal-time Norris’s long kick-out got substitute Dwade James clear down the middle, but he was just prevented from getting in a shot. Swans should have increased their lead in stoppage-time when Howard Newton found Bilal Benali, who played a good ball to set up Okai inside the box, but he drove the chance over.
The last chance fell to the home side as they got into the box on the right, but Norris beat the ball clear at his near-post.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Shaun Smart, Jim Fenlon, Elliott Simpson (Dave Musendo 80’), Jake Newton, Jamie Thoroughgood, Julian Hornby, Howard Newton, Jamil Okai, Sanchez Benali (Dwade James 70’), TJ Nkoma (Bilal Benali 65’), Sub. not used: Lea Van Sullivan. Scorers: Hornby (23’), Nkoma (38’), Okai (71’). Cautions: Fenlon (51’), H. Newton (81’).
Godalming Team: Webb, Bungo, Nzelo, Theodros (Trowers 80’), Wright, Taylor, Cotton, Oldland, Bennett, Webbe, Salgado. Subs. not used: Varli, Roots. Scorer: Taylor, penalty (52’). Caution: Wright.