Saturday 8th December 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 1 Banstead Athletic 1.
Fortunes have changed for the two competing clubs in just over a year since Swans demolished Banstead 9-1 in the corresponding fixture last season. The visitors now hold a top four position, while the home side are struggling at the other end of the table, so a draw was not an unacceptable result for a Swans’ side beginning to show some solidity. After both sides were reduced to ten men just before half-time, with the score at 1-1, they had to battle hard to secure a point against the division’s draw specialists, and repeat the result of earlier in the season at Merland Rise. The visitors certainly had the bulk of the attacking play in the second-half, but did not seriously test home goalkeeper Kavanagh Keadell, and Swans had chances late-on that could well have given them maximum points.
After fielding the same starting line-up for two matches Swans had to make changes. Louis Paterson was injured, while Sid Dack was starting a three match suspension and Shamal Edwards had completed his month’s loan from Tooting & Mitcham United. Sean White was also unavailable for selection, having suffered a recurrence of his injury after coming on as a substitute in midweek. Billy Kinona came in at left-back, Zuko Akwuba was given a first start, while there was a welcome appearance of Howard Newton in midfield.
On a windy, rainy afternoon both goals came inside the first five minutes. Swans going behind after just two minutes was very much of their own doing. Keeper Keadell and his defence were not on the same wavelength as they tried to play the ball out from the back, but only surrendered possession. The visitors were able to play the ball inside from the left to Reece Williams-Bowers, unmarked 22 yards out, and he drove it low inside the left-post.
Fortunately for Swans they wasted little time in equalising, being behind for just two minutes. Ali Fofanah drove in a low shot from the right of the box that took a deflection to go wide of the far-post. From Pat Kirby’s corner from the left Callum Robinson headed home from the edge of the six-yard box.
Swans went close to taking the lead after twelve minutes when Akwuba made a good run forward on the left before laying the ball inside to Kirby 25 yards out. He struck a terrific shot that Banstead keeper Fraser Trigwell just got a touch on to deflect the ball over the bar.
With a quarter of an hour played the visitors’ Tommy Hutchings made space on the edge of the box to hook in a shot that Keadell was well placed to take.
Swans’ James Robertson and Banstead skipper Joe Blendell both picked up bookings for fouls, and following Blendell’s, Kirby’s free-kick from deep on the right was deflected behind for a corner.
Hutchings got through into the left of the box, but shot wide of Keadell’s near-post, while Swans’ Luke Randall drove a shot over from 25 yards. With half an hour played Newton made a run forward, resulting in a handball five yards outside the visitors’ box, and Kirby drove the free-kick just wide of the left post. Fofanah then laid the ball off to Robertson 22 yards out, and Trigwell had to dive to keep out his low strike.
With ten minutes left to the break Banstead’s Nathaniel Oseni sent in a speculative effort from fully 40 yards that only just went over Swans’ goal.
Then, with two minutes of normal-time remaining, Swans’ Robertson and Banstead’s Blendell were both shown second yellow cards for a fracas close to the dugouts, leaving both sides to play out the rest of the game a man short.
With the gusty wind now blowing mainly towards the visitors’ goal, the hope was there that this would be to Swans’ benefit, but it was Banstead who were to have most of the ball in the second-half. Archie Watkins was soon finding space inside the box to get in a shot that Keadell got well behind, and Unasyah Wallace had a shot from 22 yards deflected wide. Swans continued to have to defend, and Conor Symon was booked for a foul in a dangerous position outside the left corner of the box, but the free-kick was deflected for a corner. Joe Cheeseman then stooped to head wide when Anthony Morrison sent over a cross from the right. With a quarter of an hour remaining Robinson did well to head the ball behind when Banstead got in another dangerous cross from the left.
Swans had a rare chance when Frank Ngonyama got the ball to fellow substitute Monty Everett on the left, but he shot just wide of the near-post. Keeper Trigwell was then not wholly comfortable taking the ball on his line when Kirby sent in a free-kick from 40 yards out.
With just over five minutes remaining Banstead had another free-kick in a promising position ten yards outside the box, but a low shot went through to Keadell.
Swans immediately had a chance to take the lead when Everett put Newton through into the box, but he put the ball wide of the right post. Swans continued to create chances, and Everett was twice played into the left of the box in the space of a minute. He put the first chance well wide of the near-post, but forced a save from Trigwell with the second.
Swans’ Team: Kavanagh Keadell, Luke Randall (Frank Ngonyama 72’), Billy Kinona, Conor Symon, Callum Robinson, Pat Kirby, Frankie Driver (Chester Clothier 72’), Howard Newton, James Robertson, Ali Fofanah (Monty Everett 56’), Zuko Akwuba. Sub. not used: Alex Pearson. Scorer: Robinson (4’). Caution: Symon, foul (69’). Dismissal: Robertson, 2 cautions (18’ & 43’).
Banstead Team: Trigwell, Newman (Morrison 61’), Watkins, Oseni, Teuten, Blendell, Wallace, Jones (Cheeseman 61’), Hutchings (Phillip-Ogbuogu 77’), Geraghty, Williams-Bowers. Subs. not used: Costello, North. Scorer: Williams-Bowers (2’). Caution: Geraghty, foul (90+2’). Dismissal: Blendell, 2 cautions (21’ & 43’). .