Saturday 22nd December 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 0 Southall 1.
An inexperienced Swans’ side suffered another defeat, one that sees them go into the Christmas period in bottom spot of the table. In their first meeting with Southall in 36 years they came up against opponents having a good first season in the Combined Counties League, and again struggled to create goals-scoring opportunities. They were always in the game until the final whistle, despite the visitors having numerous chances, but a single goal scored early in the second-half proved decisive.
Following the sudden departure of Kavanagh Keadell, Peter Arnold made his second appearance of the season in goal, and Swans were thankful to the Woking U23 goalkeeper for producing a series of stunning saved that kept them in the game. Pat Kirby was unavailable, and with Callum Robinson and Frankie Driver both injured, two 17 year-olds, Jamie White, younger brother of Sean, and Mitchell Smith came in for their debuts. Connor Channon also made a first start on his return to the club.
Peter Dean was soon putting a header wide for the visitors when the ball was crossed from the right, but Swans had an opportunity when Ali Fofanah was brought down ten yards outside the box. Sean White drove in the free-kick, but Southall keeper Kieron Vickers was well-positioned to save. With ten minutes played Jamie White sent over a fine cross from the right, but it was just inches too high for his older brother in front of goal.
Southall won a corner on the right, and from the kick Edrisa Dampha put a header over.
Sean White was put away down the right for Swans, and when he hooked the ball over it just failed to find Frank Ngonyama in the middle.
The visitors’ Dampha again got in a header from a right-side corner, but Arnold was able to save comfortably. Southall continued to threaten and Dean was played in on the left, but his shot was well wide of the near-post. Darreon Mark then got in a snap-shot from the right of the box that Arnold was able to beat down at his near-post.
Just before the half hour Luke Randall’s good ball sent Jamie White down the right for Swans, and he was fouled close to the corner-flag. Vickers took the ball on his line when Fofanah drove in the free-kick.
Southall’s Dampha continued to be a threat in the air from set-pieces, and when Ryan Hope sent over a free-kick from the left his far-post header went across goal and wide. Hope soon took another free-kick from a similar position, and this time the ball glanced off a Swans’ head at the far-post to go behind for a corner.
The visitors should have taken the lead with just over five minutes left of the half when a free-kick from deep on the right was not cleared and Dampha was left with a clear chance, but he put the ball wide of the left-post.
Channon’s cross from the left dipped just over the far, top corner of the Southall goal, while in the final minute of the half the visitors’ Mark Simuchimba cut in from the left to get in a shot that Arnold got well-behind.
Just three minutes after the resumption Swans were grateful to Arnold for keeping them level with a tremendous double save. The young keeper superbly pushed away a strong strike from the left of the box, but the ball ran free to leave Southall with an open goal, but Arnold recovered to make another terrific block from a close-in shot.
But Arnold was beaten five minutes later when a cross from the right was met on the volley at the far-post by Mark, a fine shot finding the far corner.
Swans had not created many openings, but just past the hour they went desperately close to equalising. Fofanah sent over a free-kick from the right touchline for Wayne Ridgeley, who had only just replaced Smith, to send a fine, far-post header thumping against the angle of bar and post.
Southall, however, looked to have the game under control, and with just over a quarter of an hour remaining they were only prevented from doubling their lead by another great double save from Arnold. Ricardo Faux-James broke on the right, and when he played the ball low across Arnold made a superb block from a close-in shot. A follow-up shot was driven in from outside the box, but Arnold kept the ball out with another terrific save. Just two minutes later Southall got into the left of the box, only for Arnold to make another great block at his near-post.
Their keeper had kept them in with a chance, and Swans made determined efforts to salvage a draw in the closing stages as they put pressure on the visitors’ goal. In stoppage-time, Monty Everett, who had just come on as a late substitute, got down the left to send over a cross that dipped just over the far, top corner of the goal. A last opportunity came a full eight minutes into added-on time when a free-kick was won on the left, and when Sean White whipped the ball in it had to be headed over their own goal by Southall, but the corner from the right was cleared.
Swans’ Team: Peter Arnold, Jamie White, Billy Kinona, Conor Symon, Luke Randall, Mitchell Smith (Wayne Ridgeley 51’), Sean White, Connor Channon, Zuko Akwuba (Mo Kamara 45’ [Monty Everett 90+1’]), Ali Fofanah, Frank Ngonyama. Subs. not used: Alex Pearson, Charlie Burns
Southall Team: Vickers, Dailey (Faux-James 70’), Debayo, Owusu, Austin, Dampha, Pedro (Wilson 90+6’), Hope, Mark, Dean, Simuchimba (Costello 70’). Subs. not used: Aoudief, Gradwell. Scorer: Mark (53’). .