Wednesday 7 March 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Guildford City 0 Walton & Hersham 2.
A 2-0 win was scant reward for a Swans’ side that dominated the match from start to finish, during which time they hit the goal-frame three times, were denied by numerous goal-line clearances and created many other chances. Despite a fine first-half display that could well have seen them score three or more goals, they had to settle for 0-0 at the break. But they put the frustration behind them in the second-half, maintaining their excellent form of the first, and finally got their reward.
With Athan Smith-Joseph unavailable, Taurean Roberts finally made his debut after joining three weeks ago on dual-registration from Hampton & Richmond Borough, and he scored both Swans’ goals, going close several times to completing a hat-trick.
Swans dominated from the off, and had a fine chance to open the scoring after seven minutes. TJ Nkoma made a good run on the right before playing the ball low across to set up a chance for Karl Parker on the edge of the box, but his shot went just over. Nkoma then made room on the edge of the box to get in a shot that was blocked.
Swans were somehow thwarted after seventeen minutes after they had won a corner on the right. From Roberts’ kick Billy Jeffreys had a far-post header blocked and a follow-up resulted in another corner on the left. This time Roberts’ kick was met by Jake Newton, and his header struck the far-post, and the ball was finally scrambled behind for another corner.
Another fine build-up led to James Simmonds finding Nkoma on the right, and after cutting in he drove a low, left-foot shot wide of the near-post. Simmonds then got forward to the left corner of the box to strike a left-foot shot that was tipped round his near-post by home keeper Mohammed Sampat. Leon Solomon was soon getting to the goal-line on the right to lay the ball back, and it was put wide of the near-post.
It was with just under twenty minutes left of the half before the home side posed their first threat. Kiye Martin was found in space on the right to play the ball low into the box, and it was left to Chris Onoufriou to make a fine tackle before getting it clear.
Swans responded with Simmonds getting in a shot from the right of the box that Sampat just got his hands on to push the ball away, and the goal-frame was hit for the second-time with a shot against the left post.
With ten minutes left to the break Simmonds made a clever run to the goal-line on the left to play the ball back and set up a fine chance for Roberts, but he shot wide of the left-post. Another chance came when Onoufriou did well to win the ball and find Parker in space just outside the box, but his shot went over. With first-half stoppage-time being played Jim Fenlon found Nkoma on the left, and he got the ball in for Simmonds to make space and drive in a shot that was blocked behind at the near-post. Swans thought they had finally taken a deserved lead when Jeffreys volleyed in from ten yards, but the flag went up for offside in the build-up.
Swans soon won a corner in the second-half, and from Roberts’ kick from the left the ball was dipping into the far, top corner and had to be headed behind, and Jamie Thoroughgood put a header over when Roberts took the second corner from the right.
The breakthrough finally came six minutes into the half when Roberts was found in the right of the box, and he neatly dummied his marker before tucking the ball into the far corner.
Swans were now totally in command, and Parker had a close-in shot blocked when Simmonds crossed from the right. Successive headers were both cleared off the line when Roberts took a corner from the left, and Nkoma drove in a low shot from the edge of the box that Sampat could only push away, but the keeper just denied any follow-up.
Simmonds and Nkoma combined on the left for the latter to drive a low shot wide of the near-post, before Swans doubled their lead after 65 minutes. Solomon’s nod through put Simmonds down the right, and he laid the ball across to Roberts, who slotted home.
Swans struck the goal-frame for the third time after 77 minutes when Jeffreys headed against the post from Roberts’ right-side corner, and attempts to force the ball in ended with Sampat saving Roberts’ shot on his line.
Julian Hornby had come on after missing several games with a foot injury, and a minute into added-on time keeper Brendan Norris’s kick sent him down the right, and his low ball-in was cleared off the goal-line.
City had been well beaten on the night, and their frustrations boiled over when substitute Robbie Mundow lashed out at Jeffreys and was shown a straight red card. And it was deep into stoppage-time when they had their only attempt on goal. Norris failed to get the ball away and this led to a scramble in the box, but the Swans’ keeper was on his line to save Jordan Gallagher’s shot.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Jake Newton, Jim Fenlon, Leon Solomon, Billy Jeffreys, Jamie Thoroughgood, TJ Nkoma (Julian Hornby 71’), Chris Onoufriou (Elliott Simpson 88’), Karl Parker (Sam Shaban 78’), James Simmonds, Taurean Roberts. Subs. not used: Jesse Kewley-Graham, Nathaniel Williams. Scorer: Roberts: (51’ & 65’). Caution: Onoufriou, foul (31’).
Guildford Team: Sampat, Opoku, Burrowes, Adams, Tancock, Downey, Clement-Peter (Pilbeam 71’), Martin (Mundow 71’), Campbell, Gallagher, Lopes (Benali 61’). Caution: Campbell (50’). Dismissal: Mundow (90+3’).