Swans 2 Raynes Park Vale 2

Saturday 22nd September 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Walton & Hersham 2 Raynes Park Vale 2.

Swans twice had to come from behind to salvage a draw, that leaves them still looking for only their second win of the season. There was no doubting the effort they put in and the neat football they played at times, and they certainly had opportunities to pick up a much-needed win, but they failed to take several acceptable chances and had little luck in front of goal. They still offered chances however to a side they would have targeted as beatable, putting an end to their winless run.

New signings Leo Donnellan and Sam Mason, both joining on dual-registration from Woking, came into the starting line-up. Donnellan is a midfielder, while Mason is a highly rated 18 year-old goalkeeper who has played several first-team games for his parent club, and he replaced the departed Craig Bradshaw.

In persistent rain, that was to continue throughout the match, Swans made a confident looking start, and Harrison Deacon found Dariush Heravi in space on the right, but his cross went over. However it was the visitors who took the lead after just five minutes. Ali Fofanah had to make a tackle to concede a corner on the right, and when the kick was played in short to Berti Marti-Pique, he sent the ball into the box. It took a deflection off a head to leave Marcus Dowdswell free to nod past Mason.

Marti-Pique twice had shots from outside the box off-target, but the closest the visitors came to doubling their lead came after half an hour, Tom Harland-Goddard rattling the crossbar from 30 yards.

But it was Swans who scored just a minute later to equalise. Craig Lewington sent in a free-kick from the right, and when Dan Band nodded the ball back across at the far-post, Heravi headed into the top of the net from in front of goal.

This triggered a fine spell for Swans, and when Lewington took a corner from the right a low shot came in from the left that was cleared off the goal-line, with appeals the ball had gone in. Lewington then swung the ball over from the left for Band to glance a header wide. A long ball sent Fofanah away down the left, and his low cross just failed to pick out Heravi. In the final minute of the half Donnellan got Marlon Pinder into space on the left, and when he crossed into the box the ball was finally cleared behind for a corner on the left.

Ross Chalke, having picked up an injury, was immediately replaced by Bailey Tanner, and when the corner was taken Heravi had a header cleared from close to the line. Heravi then broke into the right of the 6 yard box, and his low angled shot had to be cleared behind at the far-post. Band had a downward header from Lewington’s left-side corner taken by visiting keeper Billy O’Carroll, and Swans were unfortunate not to go in at the break with a lead.

They started the second-half where they had left-off, and when Tanner sent in a fine cross from deep on the right the ball glanced off Heravi’s head at the far-post. Swans should have taken the lead just four minutes in when some fine play by Band on the edge of the box got Deacon through, but he blazed over from ten yards. A minute later Pinder played Fofanah into the left of the box to have a low shot blocked round his near-post by O’Carroll.

With an hour played Donnellan had to come off feeling unwell, and he was replaced by Krzysztof Zlocki.

Midway through the half Pinder broke into the left of the box before laying the ball back to Lewington on the edge, but his shot went well over.

Mason had not been seriously troubled in Swans’ goal, but he had to take a far-post header when Ato Okai took a corner from the right. But with just over twenty minutes remaining he was beaten in unfortunate circumstances. Conor Symon was judged to have brought down Raynes Park substitute Dan Ano as he stretched for the ball just inside the right edge of the box, and a penalty was awarded. Mason saved Reece Turner’s kick, but was unfortunate that the ball went straight back to Turner, who nodded home.

Swans only took five minutes to equalise for the second time with a fine goal. Pinder was found in the right of the box, and he turned to strike a superb right-foot shot into the net.

The visitors soon went close to regaining the lead when the ball broke to Archie Harland-Goddard on the right edge of the box, and he drove a shot just wide of the far-post.

With just under ten minutes remaining Fofanah sent over a terrific diagonal ball from the left to pick out Heravi at the far-post, but he volleyed into the pitch and just wide. With time running out Swans had an opportunity with a free-kick on the left, and when the ball was sent in by Lewington it was cleared from the 6 yard box to substitute Frank Ngonyama, whose shot took a deflection to go over. Pinder then turned well on the edge of the box, but shot over.

Swans’ Team: Sam Mason, Ross Chalke (Bailey Tanner 45’), Ali Fofanah, Craig Lewington, Conor Symon, Ryan David, Dan Band, Leo Donnellan (Krzysztof Zlocki 60’), Dariush Heravi (Frank Ngonyama 82’), Harrison Deacon, Marlon Pinder. Subs. not used: Wayne Ridgeley, Monty Everett. Scorers: Heravi (31’), Pinder (76’). Caution: Band, foul (54’).
Raynes Park Vale Team: O’Carroll, A. Harland-Goddard, Okai, Dowdswell, Curran, Fraser, Holmes, T. Harland-Goddard, R. Turner, Marti-Pique, Stanton-Cockle. Subs. used: Williamson, Ano, C. Turner. Subs. not used: Okunowo, Alderton. Scorers: Dowdswell (5’), R. Turner (72’).