Spelthorne Sports 3 Swans 0

Saturday 29th December 2018. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Spelthorne Sport 3 Walton & Hersham 0.

A Swans’ side showing seven changes from that which had shown promise a week earlier went down to another abject defeat, that leaves them firmly entrenched at the bottom of the table. They have now failed to find the net in six of their last eight league matches, and they seldom looked like doing so against a home side that has also had a poor run of late that has seen them tumble down the table. In truth, the last match of the year for both clubs was a pretty dire affair, but credit should be given to Spelthorne for accepting the chances that came their way.

Among the absentees for Swans were the unavailable Sean White, goalkeeper Peter Arnold, and Luke Randall. Arnold, who had a superb game against Southall a week earlier, suffered a shoulder injury late in that match, while Randall has reportedly left to join the new regime at Egham Town. Fortunately James Russell had re-signed for Swans to take over the keeper’s spot.

The home side took the lead after ten minutes when the ball was driven low across from the right, and Adam Bernard was at the far-post for a simple tap-in.

Just two minutes later Swans had two chances to equalise in quick succession. Frank Ngonyama got in a shot that brought a good save from Henry Poole, and the home keeper did even better to dive to his left and keep out a header from Howard Newton, who had got in the box to meet a cross from the left.

A low cross from the right by Spelthorne’s Bernard got through Swans’ defence, and Russell just got down to fall on the ball at the far-post. Swans then forced two successive corners on the right, but could not capitalise on Pat Kirby’s kicks.

After 24 minutes Callum Robinson suffered a head injury, and Swans had to play almost five minutes a man short before the young defender returned bandaged up.

After half an hour Kirby was played in on the right, but could not pick out Ngonyama in the middle, and Newton was soon making a good run to the byline on the right, but again the attack fizzled out.

The home side won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the box on the left, but Jake Flatman drove the ball over the goal. But Swans’ hopes of going in at the break just a goal down were dashed in the final minute of the half. A corner from the right was not cleared as Russell was blocked off, and Tom Neale found the top of the net from close-in.

Swans had a chance to halve the deficit with an hour played when Kirby sent over a free-kick from the left, but Ali Fofanah headed wide from in front of goal.

Russell soon had to dive to his left to turn the ball wide when Spelthorne got in a shot from inside the box, and following the corner the ball was driven against the crossbar.

Swans had seldom looked like getting back in the game in a dreadfully poor second-half of football, but they had a half-chance with just over ten minutes remaining. Nico Hounto-Hotegbe had looked lively after replacing Fofanah, and the 17 year-old was at the near-post when Newton crossed from the right, but shot across goal and wide.

Russell made a good block when the home side got in a strong strike from the right of the box with five minutes of normal-time remaining, but the keeper was beaten for the third time two minutes later, when Joe Dyett headed into the top, left corner following a right-side corner.

In stoppage-time Russell did well to block the ball away when Spelthorne broke into the right of the box, before his opposite number Poole made his first save of the half, doing well to go down on his line to keep out a low shot from Wayne Ridgeley.

Swans’ Team: James Russell, Frankie Driver, Ali Fofanah (Nico Hounto-Hotegbe 75’), Conor Symon, Callum Robinson (Alex Pearson 70’), Pat Kirby, Howard Newton, Wayne Ridgeley, James Robertson, Frank Ngonyama, Connor Channon (Charlie Burns 88’). Subs. not used: Mitchell Smith, Festus Lori. Cautions: Symon, Kirby.
Spelthorne Team: Poole, Remedios, Ross, Dyett, MacKay, Wadmore, J. Buckle, J. Flatman, Bernard, Neale, Frost. Subs. used: Oshilaja, Queensborough, L. Flatman. Scorers: Bernard (10’), Neale (44’), Dyett (87’). Cautions: Wadmore, Frost.