Chatham Town 3 Swans 1

Saturday 11 August 2017. FA Cup, Extra-Preliminary Round.

Chatham Town 3 Walton & Hersham 1.

Swans’ FA Cup hopes ended at the first hurdle as they were beaten by a strong Chatham Town side that had started their season in The Southern Counties East League Premier Division with two big wins. After having to defend stoutly for the bulk of the first-half, during which the corner-kick count against them rose to double figures, they finally conceded with just a minute left to the break. They started well after the resumption, and quickly equalised with a fine goal, but despite having a better share of the play in the second-half, they conceded two more goals that put them out.

Following the disappointing result in midweek, Dennis Gorman and Michael Holliday, who started the season, returned in the full-back positions. Three new signings also came into the starting line-up, defender Harry Wise, striker Harrison Deacon, who ended last season as the Division One top scorer with 46 goals for Worcester Park, and former Stompond Lane favourite Jack Battie, who made the last of his 65 appearances for Swans in December 2015. With Frank Ngonyama injured, Mo Kamara also came in for his debut, wide on the left.

The highly experienced former Bromley and Tooting & Mitcham United striker Paul Vines was soon sending a shot over from the edge of the box for the home side when Jon Pilbeam laid the ball in from the right. Swans then had to defend three corner-kicks in succession, but coped well with them.

Chatham left-back Matt Parsons was soon being shown a yellow card for a foul on Deacon out by the right touchline, offering Swans an opportunity, but Battie’s low-struck free-kick was cleared away.

The home side got to the byline on the left to have a low cross cleared at the near-post, and a follow-up shot was blocked.Chatham won another corner on the left when a shot was deflected over, and this led to Jason Thompson getting free in the right of the box to force a good block from Swans’ goalkeeper Craig Bradshaw, who turned the ball round his near-post.

Swans had had to withstand a pretty torrid opening ten minutes, but some neat play between Kamara and Deacon got Kamara in on the left, but the ball was cleared. Then, with a quarter of an hour played, Marlon Pinder beat his marker to get into the right of the box, but his low shot went just wide of the far-post.

The home side had a free-kick out by the right touchline and Thompson’s ball-in was headed away, Bradshaw then claiming the ball well when a cross came over from the left.

Kamara did well to get past Chatham right-back Russell Bedford on the left, but was unfortunate when the ball ran away from him and went behind.

But Swans continued to have to defend, and a shot from the right of the box was deflected over following another attack down the left. Two more corner-kicks had to be conceded, Gorman’s tackle out by the left corner-flag stopping a break, and the ball being put behind at the far-post following an attack on the right by Pilbeam.

Swans had not created many openings of their own, but they were unfortunate just before the half-hour when Deacon was sent clear to send the ball past onrushing keeper Ben Nourse, but it drifted just wide of the left-post.

Bradshaw had to receive treatment for an injury as Chatham continued to press, and he could only watch as Parsons’ cross from the left flew across goal and wide of the far-post. But the Swans’ keeper went down to save Vines’ shot when the ball was knocked back at the far-post following Thompson’s free-kick from the right. As the half entered the final five minutes Bradshaw had to react quickly to snuff out a Chatham attack, and Byron Walker’s shot from outside the box was deflected behind for another corner.

Just as it looked as if Swans would reach the break on equal terms they went behind with just a minute of normal-time remaining. Walker set up Parsons on the left, and when he got the ball over Vines drove it in from five yards. Bradshaw was booked for his protests that he had been fouled in the build-up.

It could still have been level at half-time, as in stoppage-time Ross Chalke got forward before laying the ball back to Deacon 25 yards out, and he struck a terrific shot that keeper Nourse did well to push round his right-post. Battie took Swans’ only corner of the first-half, but his kick drifted wide of the far-post.

Swans looked determined straight from the restart, and Nourse had to get behind a diving header from Chalke when Pinder crossed from the right.

But just two minutes into the second-half Swans were level. The ball was laid off to Mark Waters outside the right corner of the box, and he struck a superb shot that took the slightest of deflections to beat Nourse inside his left-post.

Swans continued to have a good spell, and Kamara’s good run to the byline on the left had to be stopped with a foul. Nourse just managed to get the ball away at his near-post when Battie’s free-kick from close to the left corner-flag was whipped in.

The home side had an opportunity when Walker was fouled just outside the box, but Thompson’s free-kick took a big deflection and the ball was cleared. Will Allardyce replaced Holliday for Swans, and he was immediately helping to defend a free-kick into the box from deep by Thompson.

Just before the hour only a fine tackle by Wise prevented Chatham getting in on the left following Thompson’s corner from the right, but after a slight hold-up the home side restored their lead. A high cross came in from the right, and Vines scored with a clever, hooked volley from close-in at the far-post.

Swans tried to hit back, and Bedford had to head the ball behind at the far-post when Pinder sent in a dangerous cross from the right. Kamara then cut in from the left before getting in a good strike from the corner of the box, but could only find the side-netting. A free-kick was won 30 yards out, but Battie’s effort was well over.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining Gorman had to head clear from under the crossbar when Chatham crossed from the right, and home substitute Jack Mahoney had a shot from the right of the box deflected just wide of the far-post. But any thoughts of Swans forcing a replay were dashed when the ball was hooked in from the right and Reece Butler headed past Bradshaw. It was close to being 4-1 ten minutes from time, but the ball was driven over at the far-post following Ben Davisson’s left-side corner.

Swans’ Team: Craig Bradshaw, Dennis Gorman, Michael Holliday (Will Allardyce 58’), Dre Grobler, Harry Wise, Jack Battie (Dariush Heravi 79’), Mark Waters, Ross Chalke, Marlon Pinder, Harrison Deacon (Krzysztof Zlocki 79’), Mo Kamara. Subs. not used: Jim Comer, Bruno Tingle, Alex Pearson, Dave Hill. Scorer: Waters (47’). Caution: Bradshaw (44’).
Chatham Team: Nourse, Bedford, Parsons, Davisson, McDonagh, Butler, Fitzgerald (Mahoney 56’), Thompson (Fray 72’), Vines, Walker, Pilbeam (Clarke 85’). Subs. not used: Okundalaiye, Bray, Hagan, Francis. Scorers: Vines (44’ & 63’), Butler (76’). Cautions: Parsons (6’), Butler (70’).

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