Tuesday 25th September 2018. Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, 1st Round.
Badshot Lea 3 Walton & Hersham 1.
Swans went out of the League Cup at the first hurdle as their winless run continued. They suffered a double whammy with just under twenty minutes played when Ali Fofanah was harshly shown a straight red card, seemingly for denying a goal-scoring opportunity when a home player went down just outside the right corner of the box. The resultant free-kick was then driven in to give Badshot Lea the lead. Although things were balanced up numerically player-wise just before the break when the home side also had a player sent-off, they were then already 2-0 down. They had chances in the second-half and pulled a goal back, but Badshot Lea scored again to settle the tie in their favour.
Ross Chalke was injured, so Bailey Tanner came into the side at right-back, and with both Marlon Pinder and Harrison Deacon unavailable two 17 year-olds, Monty Everett and Wayne Ridgeley started, the latter making his debut.
The home side twice got in on the right in the opening minutes to drive the ball low across Swans’ goal-face.
Swans’ first opportunity came after six minutes when they had a free-kick deep on the right. Craig Lewington’s kick picked out Dan Band in the left of the box, but his downward header was straight at home goalkeeper Jordan Clement. Clement then got behind a low, 30 yard shot from Fofanah after Ridgeley had found him on the left. Swans were unfortunate not to go ahead just past the quarter of an hour when Lewington took a corner from the left, and when Band nodded on Dariush Heravi headed against the bar from the left of the 6 yard-box.
Then came the incident that saw Fofanah sent-off and Badshot Lea taking the lead. A home player got to the right corner of the box and went down as Fofanah came across to challenge, the referee deeming it to be worthy of a red card for the Swans’ player. Josh Francis drove the free-kick past Sam Mason in Swans’ goal.
Mason had to make a good block from a low shot when Badshot Lea got in on the right, and then watched a shot from 30 yards clear his crossbar. The home side continued to make their numerical superiority pay, and they again found space on the right to drive the ball low across the goal, just failing to pick out a player at the far-post. Mason was then at full stretch to make a fine save, pushing a powerful 30 yard shot round his left post.
But with ten minutes left of the half Badshot Lea doubled their lead, Liam Roberts being unmarked in the right of the box to score with a left-foot drive.
Swans responded with Ridgeley sending a fine strike over from 35 yards, and Everett getting free on the right edge of the box to force a save from Clement.
Then, with a minute of normal-time left of the half, the home side’s Ashley Lloyd brought down Ridgeley with a lunging tackle that left the teenager injured, and was duly red carded.
Swans went close to halving the deficit deep into first-half stoppage-time when Lewington took a free-kick from the right, but the ball was volleyed just over at the far-post.
The home side put a shot over at the far-post after they had broken down the right early in the second-half, but with five minutes played Swans’ Krzysztof Zlocki got into the left of the box to set up Everett, whose shot was just kept out of the far, top corner by keeper Clement. With just over an hour played a fine turn by Everett got him into the left of the box, but he was just closed out.
Swans then put themselves in with a chance by scoring after 64 minutes. They were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, and when Lewington drove low through the wall Clement made a fine save, diving to his left to push the ball away. The ball was not cleared, and Zlocki was by the left-post to stab it in.
Everett was soon being played into the left of the box by Lewington, and when he laid the ball back to Zlocki on the edge he drove a shot over. Everett then had a shot from the right of the box deflected over. Swans looked like they could get another goal to take the tie to extra-time, and with just under a quarter of an hour remaining Band got the ball to Zlocki on the left, and he did well to get the ball in to Everett at the near-post, but he was again just denied.
But any hopes of staying in the cup were soon effectively dashed when the ball was not cleared from the left of the box, and Mason had no chance of preventing Francis from driving it past him.
Frank Ngonyama had looked lively after coming on for Swans, and with three minutes of normal-time remaining he got the ball inside from the left to Band, who drove it to the near-post, where it was blocked by Clement. Swans’ other substitute Billy Kinona shot wide following Lewington’s right-side corner, and Ngonyama drove just over the far, top corner after cutting inside from the left. In stoppage-time Kinona drove over from 25 yards, and when Ngonyama was played into the left of the box his low cross was cleared over his own goal by a home defender. Swans’ last chance of pulling a goal back came when Lewington’s corner from the left led to a scramble, and only a good save by Clement kept Tanner’s shot from the right of the box out of the top, right corner.
Swans’ Team: Sam Mason, Bailey Tanner, Ali Fofanah, Craig Lewington, Conor Symon, Ryan David, Dan Band, Krzysztof Zlocki (Billy Kinona 79’), Monty Everett, Wayne Ridgeley, Dariush Heravi (Frank Ngonyama 79’). Sub. not used: Zack Basey. Scorer: Zlocki (64’). Caution: Tanner (60’). Dismissal: Fofanah (17’).
Badshot Lea Team: Clement, Pound, Branch, Lloyd, Flanighan, Wallace (Allen 68’), Francis, Blackie, Blanchard, Thripp, Roberts (Wright 73’). Subs. not used: Charles, Chase. Scorers: Francis (19’ & 77’), Roberts (35’). Caution: Blackie (14’). Dismissal: Lloyd (44’).