Steyning Town 1 Swans 0

Saturday 13th October 2018. FA Vase, 1st Round.

Steyning Town Community 1 Walton & Hersham 0.

Swans have now fallen at the first hurdle of all four cup competitions they have taken part in this season, this latest defeat also stretching their winless run to fourteen matches. A dismal performance saw them barely create a goal-scoring opportunity against opponents that would surely have been put to the sword last season. The West Sussex side have had a fine start to the season, although playing one level lower, and it showed against a Swans’ side totally lacking in confidence. Their post-match celebrations showed how much they wanted to win the tie, that determination being enough to see them through. There can be no blame attached to the pitch, as the game was played on a 3G surface, matching that which Swans are regularly used to for their home matches.

With Kavanagh Keadell, along with Sean White and Marlon Wallen, being cup-tied, an enforced change was made in Swans’ goal, Peter Arnold coming in. The Woking U23 goalkeeper had a steady game, and cannot be faulted for the only goal, for which he was left totally exposed.

Arnold was soon in action, making a fine save to tip the ball round the far, top corner when Zach Haulkman drove in a strong shot from the left corner of the box, following a long throw-in from the left.

Swans had an opportunity with a free-kick, but Jack Higgins was penalised for pushing when Craig Lewington sent the ball into the box.

The home side had a chance when the ball was crossed from the right, but Conor Bull shot wide at the far-post.

Swans had their first effort on goal after twelve minutes when Dariush Heravi laid the ball in from the left to Pat Kirby, but his low shot from 22 yards lacked power and home keeper Jamie Banasco-Zaragoza saved comfortably. Swans had settled after an indifferent start, and midway through the half Higgins headed down at the far-post from Lewington’s free-kick from deep on the left, but the ball was cleared.

Dan Band then got the ball to Kirby on the right, and shot wide of the left post from the edge of the box after the ball was laid back across, but after half an hour Steyning scored what was to prove the winning goal. Space was found on the right, and when the ball was driven across Dom Ozga was unmarked in front of goal and sent a first-time shot in-off the bar.

Arnold got behind a low 35 yard shot from Ozga, before Conor Symon played Ali Fofanah down the right for Swans, and when he got the ball over it was cleared behind for a corner on the left. From Lewington’s kick, Higgins’ close-in header at the far-post was taken by Banasco-Zaragoza.

Arnold went down to save a low drive from the left corner of the box by Josh Maher, Swans immediately getting to the other end for Fofanah to cut in from the right and send a left-foot shot dipping over.

As the half entered the final five minutes Maher swung the ball in from deep on the left and Arnold did well to tip it over his crossbar. Ozga then had a clear chance from the edge of the box, but he scuffed his shot and Arnold saved easily. Swans were struggling to keep the deficit to one at the break, and Steyning’s Chris Weatherwax had a real chance when he had space by the left corner of the box, but he shot over the far top corner.

Swans had one last opportunity with a free-kick on the right touchline, but Lewington’s kick was cleared.

The home side started the second-half strongly, and Arnold made a good save with his legs when Ozga got free in the left of the box. Weatherwax then got in on the right, but shot well-wide of the near-post.

Swans could not get any attacks going, and Steyning looked comfortable with their lead. Arnold made a good take at his near-post when the ball was driven in from the right, and a header was put wide at the far-post when Steyning took a free-kick from the left touchline.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining Swans had their first serious shot on target, Kirby getting in a good strike from 22 yards that was unfortunately straight at Banasco-Zaragoza, who beat the ball down.

Steyning had a good chance to make the tie safe, but Scott Faber headed wide at the far-post after Bull had crossed following a short corner on the right. Bull then drove wide of the far-post from the right corner of the box.

Swans had never really looked like getting back into the game in the second-half, and their last opportunity came in stoppage-time, but Lewington’s corner from the right only led to a free-kick for the home side.

Swans’ Team: Peter Arnold, Conor Symon, Ajani Domingo-Carrington, Craig Lewington, Jack Higgins, Dan Choules, Ali Fofanah, Dan Band, Elijah Simpson (Monty Everett 57’), Pat Kirby (Sid Dack 80’), Dariush Heravi (Frank Ngonyama 73’). Subs. not used: Billy Kinona, Luke Randall. Cautions: Lewington, foul (45+1’), Everett, foul (75’). .
Steyning Team: Banasco-Zaragoza, Clark, Maher, Pazaro, Timms, Gathern, Bull (Hunter 90+1’), Haulkman, Ozga (Milner 77’), Faber, Weatherwax (Taylor 90’). Subs. not used: Withers, Fitzpatrick. Scorer: Ozga (30’). Cautions: Timms, foul (8’), Maher, foul (52’).

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