Saturday 24th November 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Abbey Rangers 5 Walton & Hersham 0.
Swans find themselves entrenched at the bottom of the table after this latest defeat, arguably the worst so far in their sorry season. Just over six months ago a Swans’ side in fine form won this fixture convincingly 4-0, but this latest defeat was indicative as to how much their fortunes have changed in such a short period.
It was hoped they could build on the good performance against Chertsey Town in midweek, but that was sadly not the case, with more changes having to be made to the starting line-up. Both full-backs had to be changed from that match, with both Richard Tabi and Louis Paterson from the U23 side making their senior debuts. Swans also took the field without a recognised striker, and that showed as they barely tested home goalkeeper Liam Stone all match.
They started the match looking composed, but as the first-half progressed they began to lose control, with the home side dominating possession. After falling behind after half-an-hour, and the home side’s lead being doubled soon after half-time, the die was cast, a series of injuries not helping their cause.
Swans soon won a free-kick on the right, and Pat Kirby’s delivery led to Rangers’ Ben Kersley handling just outside the box. Ali Fofanah took the resultant free-kick, and the ball took a deflection to go behind for a corner on the right. From Fofanah’s kick the ball was cleared behind at the far-post for another corner, and from Kirby’s kick Stone was able to punch clear.
The home side threatened, with Ben Kersley breaking down the left, and following his cross a shot was blocked away.
Rangers’ James Shannon picked up the first booking after crudely hacking down Fofanah in the centre-circle.
A long ball found Sean Bradley on the edge of the box, and the former Swan turned before sending a shot over. Bradley Thomas then sent a free-kick from 30 yards well over Swans’ goal. Robbie Kersley had a low shot from 22 yards deflected for a corner as the home side began to dominate play, and Tom Bentley glanced a header wide from another corner-kick.
Then two players who started the season at Swans combined to put the home side ahead after half-an-hour. Harry Wise drove the ball into the 6 yard-box from the right, and Harrison Deacon’s shot hit the bar before going just over the line, the referee consulting with his flag-waving assistant before confirming the goal.
Any hopes Swans had of getting back into the game receded three minutes into the second-half when Spencer Maw broke down the left before laying the ball across to Bradley, who neatly side-footed it into the bottom, right corner from the edge of the box.
There was then a hold-up of several minutes when Swans‘ Frank Ngonyama went down injured, finally having to be substituted by Zenio Aiken-Simon. Sid Dack also had to succumb to injury after being on the end of several hefty challenges, and Chester Clothier came on.
The home side had continued to dominate possession in the second-half, and with twenty minutes remaining they made it 3-0 with a really soft goal. Deacon was found with a long ball, and was able to run through a huge gap in the middle of Swans’ defence before beating keeper Kavanagh Keadell with a low shot from the edge of the box.
Swans finally got a shot on target with just under a quarter of an hour remaining, but Fofanah’s effort from the right corner of the box was comfortably held by keeper Stone.
Rangers made it 4-0 with ten minutes left following a corner on the right. Keadell did well to block a close-in header, but was unable to keep out Bentley’s follow-up.
Swans forced two consecutive corners as they tried to get a consolation, but with two minutes of normal-time remaining they gifted the home side their fifth goal. An attempted clearance only found Maw just outside the box, and he got forward before being denied by a fine block from Keadell, but the ball fell to Deacon, who completed a hat-trick against his former club.
Swans’ Team: Kavanagh Keadell, Richard Tabi, Louis Paterson, Conor Symon, Callum Robinson, Pat Kirby, Sid Dack (Chester Clothier 66’), Frankie Driver (James Robertson 64’), Shamal Edwards, Ali Fofanah, Frank Ngonyama (Zenio Aiken-Simon 54’). Subs. not used: Shen Malabre, Wayne Ridgeley. Cautions: Robinson (59’), Symon (61’).
Abbey Rangers Team: Stone, Shannon (Davies 76’), Macklin, Bentley, Thomas (Hanger 79’), Bradley (Hendrie 74’), Deacon, R. Kersley, Maw, B. Kersley, Wise. Scorers: Deacon (30’, 70’ & 88’), Bradley (48’), Bentley (80’). Caution: Shannon (10’). .