Friday 13th April 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Colliers Wood United 1 Walton & Hersham 2.
A late goal from Julian Hornby finally gave Swans a deserved win after they had struggled to create openings against a determined home side, despite dominating most of the play. After trailing to a poorly conceded goal at half-time they had finally equalised midway through the second-half, and the late winner was just reward for their efforts on a tricky pitch.
James Russell returned in goal, but Jim Fenlon had not recovered from an injury picked up three days earlier and Louis Taylor was unavailable. With Bruno Tingle unable to make kick-off, Ali Fofanah came in for his first start, while both James Simmonds and Billy Jeffreys returned to the line-up.
Swans had an early attack with TJ Nkoma playing Abdeen Abdul down the left, and he did well to get in a cross, but the ball went unchallenged across the goal-face.
The home side’s response was two long-range attempts, Theo Woodhouse putting a speculative effort over from 45 yards, and Tate Greenaway getting in a low shot from 30 yards that Russell got well behind.
Swans had a chance to take the lead after ten minutes when Simmonds sent a free-kick into the box from deep on the left and the ball ran loose, but Jamie Thoroughgood hooked it over the bar. Swans continued to press and won a couple of corners, Abdul forcing Greenaway to put the ball behind on the left, and Hornby getting in a fine cross from the right that had to be headed behind at the far-post.
But it was the home side that took the lead after 19 minutes against the run of play, and with a really poor goal from Swans’ perspective. The ball was cleared straight to Jake Hill, and he was able to run through a huge gap in the middle of Swans’ defence, and with Russell having left his goal the chance was unmissable.
Woodhouse put another long range effort wide for Colliers Wood, while at the other end Nkoma got the ball to Simmons on the left, and when he crossed low into the box Abdul was just prevented from getting in a shot. Nkoma did well to make space 30 yards out, but his final shot was weak and straight at former Swan Sean Fallon in the home goal. With two minutes of the half remaining there was an opportunity from a free-kick outside the left corner of the box, but Simmonds chose to play the ball short to Nkoma, and his attempt to find the far, top corner was easily taken by Fallon.
Ten minutes after the resumption the ball came to Nkoma 35 yards out on the left, and when his powerfully struck shot was blocked the ball ran loose in the box, and a follow-up shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Despite their dominance Swans had not really tested Fallon in the home goal, but he had to dive to his left to turn the ball away when Sam Shaban made a good turn 25 yards out to get in a low strike, and this led to the equaliser after 66 minutes. Simmonds took a corner from the right, and Jeffreys was the second player to get his head to the ball and nod it past Fallon.
Swans had been well on top and deserved to be level, but with just over a quarter of an hour remaining they gave away a free-kick just outside their box, and they were relieved to see Hill strike the ball just wide of the right post.
With ten minutes remaining they went close to taking the lead when Jeffreys got in a far-post header when Simmonds took a corner from the right, but the ball went across goal and just wide.
The home side replied with a fine strike from 30 yards by substitute Kieran Campbell, but the ball dipped just over.
Hornby made a good run in on the left for Swans, but his low cross was cleared, and it was him that got the winner with three minutes of normal-time remaining. The home side’s Reanu Grossett had just sent a free-kick from 30 yards straight through to Russell, when Swans won a free-kick of their own deep on the left. Tingle had come on as a substitute, and he got his head to the ball when Simmonds sent it into the box, and Hornby was in the left of the 6-yard box to get in a volley that Fallon got a touch on but could not keep out.
Swans’ Team: James Russell, Jake Newton, Julian Hornby, Ali Fofanah, Billy Jeffreys, Jamie Thoroughgood, Jamel Johnson (Bruno Tingle 72’), James Simmonds, Abdeen Abdul, Sam Shaban (Cameron Gyeabour 77’), TJ Nkoma. Subs. not used. Rory Dacosta, Joe Wotton. Scorers: Jeffreys (66’), Hornby (87’). Cautions: Jeffreys, Simmonds, Abdul.
Colliers Wood Team: Fallon, Stephens, Hill, Morally, Talbot, Newton, Greenaway, Woodhouse, Grossett, Efambe, Embalo (Campbell 67’). Subs. not used: Seesay, Harding, Mohammed. Scorer: Hill (19’). Caution: Woodhouse.