Saturday 15th September 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Sutton Common Rovers 4 Walton & Hersham 2.
Swans’ porous defence again proved their downfall against a home side who were looking to put an end to a run of three defeats. They had a mountain to climb with less than a quarter of an hour played as they already trailed 2-0, but they looked like getting back into the game on several occasions, only to concede again when doing so.
They got off to the worst possible start, going behind after less than two minutes. Appeals for offside proved in vain as Rovers’ Johny Akoto broke clear on the left, but his shot was blocked for a corner. The kick was swung over to the far-post, and Guy Baskerville was unmarked to head in off the bar.
After thirteen minutes it was 2-0, as Ollie Twum was found in yards of space on the right, and he drove a low shot into the far corner.
Swans began to put some attacks together and they won a free-kick on the right, but Craig Lewington’s kick into the box was headed clear. Harrison Deacon was then played in on the left to have a shot blocked for a corner. Following Lewington’s right-side kick a shot came in and there were concerted shouts for handball, but the referee waved play-on. Dariush Heravi was put away down the right, and his low, driven cross was well cut out by home goalkeeper Ollie Ellaway.
Rovers put a header over when Malachi Robinson swung the ball in from the right, but Swans continued to press, and when Marlon Pinder sent over a fine ball from the left Dan Band headed down at the far-post, but no-one was there to capitalise. Lewington then sent a free-kick into the box, and when the ball broke to Deacon 12 yards out his shot was deflected behind for a corner. There was a great chance to pull a goal back from Lewington’s kick from the right, but Ross Chalke put his header over.
The home side continued to look dangerous on the break however, and they sent in a long-range shot that Swans’ keeper Craig Bradshaw just got a hand on to deflect wide. Josh Uzan was then allowed to make space 25 yards out to drive a low shot just wide.
But Swans immediately got themselves back in the game with just under half an hour played, scoring a goal under highly controversial circumstances. Deacon was played into the right of the box to have a low shot blocked, and the ball broke to the left to leave Pinder with just home right-back Robinson between him and the goal. Robinson just failed to keep Pinder’s shot out by diving full-length to his left to get both hands to the ball. Despite his cynical attempt to deny the goal Robinson was only shown a yellow card.
As the half entered the final five minutes Pinder got forward to get in a good, low strike from 25 yards that flew just wide of the right post. Twum put a close-in header over for the home side when the ball was crossed from the left, before his side quickly picked up their third and fourth bookings of the first-half. With stoppage-time being played Swans won a free-kick on the right, but Lewington’s kick was headed away at the far-post.
Just two minutes after the resumption Swans had a great chance to equalise when Pinder broke clear into the left of the box, but with Heravi unmarked on his right he chose to shoot, and cleared the bar by some distance.
The miss was punished just four minutes later when Phil Page, who had only come on for Rovers for the second-half, was allowed to break to the edge of the box and drive a terrific shot past Bradshaw and just under the bar.
Ten minutes into the half Swans were again in with a chance as they again reduced the deficit to a single goal. The ball was nodded down to Deacon in the left of the box, and he scored his first goal of the season, sending a fine, first-time shot with his left foot low into the far-corner.
There was immediately a five-minute hold-up with one of the referee’s assistants unable to continue.
Ryan David had to make a good, last-ditch tackle and concede a corner when Rovers got in on the right, but just as it looked as if Swans could go on and salvage at least a draw, they conceded another soft goal with just under twenty minutes remaining. Ali Fofanah just managed to put the ball behind at the far-post when the home side broke on the left to drive in a low cross, but from the corner on the right Baskerville was allowed to come in at the far-post and plant a header into the far corner.
This effectively ended any realistic thoughts of a Swans’ comeback, although David put a header over when Lewington sent a free-kick into the box from deep on the right with seven minutes of normal-time remaining.
The danger was always there that Rovers would add to their lead, and Bradshaw went down to save a low shot from 35 yards The Swans’ keeper then had to make a good save three minutes into a lengthy period of stoppage-time when the home side got in on the left.
The extra minutes still gave Swans some hope of salvaging something, and Lewington got Pinder to the byline in the right of the box, but Ellaway cut out his low cross. Lewington then sent a free-kick into the box from the right, but the home keeper just managed to punch the ball off Band’s head at the far-post.
Swans’ Team: Craig Bradshaw, Ross Chalke, Luke Randall (Ali Fofanah 62’), Craig Lewington, Conor Symon (Harry Wise 77’), Ryan David, Dan Band, Krzysztof Zlocki, Marlon Pinder, Harrison Deacon, Dariush Heravi (Monty Everett 70’). Subs. not used: Bailey Tanner, Dave Hill. Scorers: Pinder (29’), Deacon (55’).
SCR Team: Ellaway, Robinson, Tanton, Hastings, Baskerville, McLean (McCabe 78’), Twum, Farrell, Uzan (Page 45’), Akoto (Senior 70’), Allen. Subs. not used: Addo-Dankwa, Auletta. Scorers: Baskerville (2’ & 71’), Twum (13’), Page (51’). Cautions: Robinson (29’), Tanton (40’), Farrell (44’), Akoto (45’), McLean (78’).