Chertsey Town 6 Swans 0

Saturday15th December 2018.  Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Chertsey Town 6   Walton & Hersham 0.

Swans’ brief unbeaten run was rudely brought to an end in awful weather conditions at their near neighbours. Their 4-1 home win over The Curfews, which still remains the leaders’ only defeat in the league, was starkly brought into context as they were swept aside in the cold rain at Alwyns Lane. The task was always going to be difficult for an inexperienced Swans’ line-up against a strong home side, and with the pitch becoming more and more difficult as the game progressed they were relieved to hear the final whistle.

James Robertson was starting a two match suspension, and his likely replacement Monty Everett was not fit enough to start, and then aggravated his injury in the warm-up. Sean White was however able to return following his injury lay-off.

Kavanagh Keadell was soon taking the ball high up on his line when Kevin MacLaren got in a shot from 25 yards following Sam Murphy’s lay inside from the left. But the Swans’ goalkeeper had no chance after six minutes when Chertsey again got down the left, the ball being nodded back at the far-post for Jake Baxter to be left with the simplest of chances.

Swans were desperately unlucky not to equalise just a minute later after White had been brought down five yards outside the box. Pat Kirby struck the free-kick superbly over the wall, but after looking like finding the top, left corner the ball hit the post and bounced clear. Swans looked composed when on the ball, and Frank Ngonyama was just ruled offside when Kirby’s fine through ball got him in on the left.

Chertsey continued to look dangerous, particularly down the left, and when the ball came to Baxter on the edge of the box, Keadell had to beat down his shot. Frankie Driver then had to head the ball over his own goal when Baxter broke on the left to get in a shot from the corner of the box. From the corner on the left Michael Kinsella headed over.

Swans’ Zuko Akwuba robbed a home defender to get in the box before going down under a challenge, but the referee saw no offence.

Chertsey should have immediately doubled their lead when they built up another good attack on the left. The ball was laid across to Lubomir Guentchev, unmarked on the right, but he shot low just wide of the far-post. Just before the half-hour Keadell did well to tip the ball over his far-post when Dale Binns sent over an in-swinging corner from the right.

But the home side immediately made it 2-0 when Swans’ defence was completely exposed following another attack by Binns down the left, Murphy slotting the ball low inside the near-post from the right of the box after it had been laid across to him.

It could have been worse for Swans just minutes later when Guentchev ran clear through a huge gap in the middle of their defence, but fortunately he delayed his shot and Conor Symon just got back to deny him. But it was a brief respite as, with ten minutes left of the half, Binns got into the left of the box and was brought down by Ali Fofanah. Baxter made no mistake with the penalty to put his side 3-0 up. Murphy was soon breaking down the right to get in a low shot that Keadell had to push round his near-post.

In the final minute of normal-time at the end of the half Swans had a free-kick that Kirby sent into the box, and when the ball came to Ngonyama by the left corner of the 6 yard-box his shot was deflected wide of the near-post and behind for a corner. From Kirby’s kick Symon put a strong header over.

Swans made a double substitution for the second-half with Connor Channon, on his return to the club, and 18 year-old Jack Smith replacing Driver and Billy Kinona, and straight from the restart Kirby almost got Akwuba in on goal. Kirby then sent a terrific shot from 30 yards flying just over the top, right corner.

But, eleven minutes into the half, Baxter was played clear into the left of the box before slotting the ball into the far corner to complete his hat-trick. Murphy went close to getting his second goal of the game, but his shot from the left edge of the box was just wide of the far-post.

The pitch had become really difficult, with some standing water, and Keadell did well to block a close-in header from a left-side cross, and the ball was just scrambled away. But, with just under a quarter of an hour remaining, Chertsey substitute Connor MacLaren found space in the right of the box, and made it 5-0 with a shot into the far-corner.

Swans were struggling in the conditions, but White did have a couple of half-chances. His shot was straight at Lewis Gallifent after substitute Charlie Burns had found him outside the right of the box, and another low shot from the left was also comfortably taken by the home keeper.

Then, with five minutes of normal-time remaining, Chertsey broke down the left, and when the ball was laid inside to Murphy, he had the time and space to consider his shot before beating Keadell and making it 6-0.

The final whistle could not come soon enough for Swans, the home side spurning a clear chance, shooting wide after the ball had been laid across following a break on the right. Connor MacLaren then got clear into the box, but again the chance was put wide.

Swans’ Team: Kavanagh Keadell, Luke Randall, Billy Kinona (Jack Smith 45’), Conor Symon, Callum Robinson, Pat Kirby, Sean White, Frankie Driver (Connor Channon 45’), Zuko Akwuba, Ali Fofanah (Charlie Burns 71’), Frank Ngonyama Subs. not used: Monty Everett, Alex Pearson.

Chertsey Team: Gallifent, Jackson, Welch-Turner, K. MacLaren, Kinsella, Rowe, Guentchev (C. MacLaren 71’), Crossley (Taylor 75’), Baxter, Murphy, Binns (Hill 61’). Subs. not used: Bennell, Bennett. Scorers: Baxter (6’, 35’ [pen.] & 56’), Murphy (30’ & 85’), C. MacLaren (76’). Caution: Crossley (41’). .