Saturday 12th January 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Redhill 3 Walton & Hersham 3.
Swans’ first match under new manager Perry Gough got off to a good start when they took the lead after just seven minutes, but poor defending cost them three goals before the break. It then looked as if they would suffer another morale-sapping defeat, but a much better, battling performance in the second-half saw them grab a draw with virtually the last kick of the game six minutes into stoppage-time. They had got back into the game just before the hour with a stunning strike from Pat Kirby, who seems to specialise in such goals, and this lifted them through to eventually equalise.
The misunderstandings in defence that cost them the three first-half goals were to a degree unsurprising, if not excusable, as eight of the starting line-up were new signings making their debuts. With Sean White unavailable, only goalkeeper James Russell, James Robertson and Kirby, plus substitutes Connor Channon, Mo Kamara and Conor Symon, remained from previous match squads.
Swans had already threatened early, with Tyreke Leslie, who had played for Redhill earlier this season, getting into the right of the box to have a cross blocked, before they took the lead. Didi Castanho set up Seb Osei-Obengo five yards outside the box, and the former Dumbarton player, who has also played in Sweden and Gibraltar, struck a low shot that home keeper Juan Trivino got a glove on, but could not keep out of his bottom, right corner. This broke a run of three goalless matches for Swans.
Redhill had already put a glancing header over from a free-kick outside the left of the box, before they were awarded another kick deep on the right with just over a quarter of an hour played. Charlie Cooke sent the kick into the box, and with indecision between Russell and his defenders the ball was only cleared to the edge of the box, where Tony Halsey knocked it goalwards, and it bounced over the line with a Swans’ player just failing to keep it out.
Halsey went close to putting Redhill ahead when he broke clear into the right of the box, but Russell managed to fall on the ball after blocking the shot. Swans had conceded too many free-kicks as they continued to look somewhat disjointed, and the home side had another close to the touchline on the left. The kick was cleared behind for a corner on the left, and from the kick the ball had to be cleared off the line at the far-post.
Swans fell behind just before the half hour with another soft goal. A simple long ball was sent into the box, and Russell came out but failed to get to it, as there was again indecision between the Swans’ keeper and his defence. The ball ran to Stefan Joseph, unmarked in the right of the box, and he had the simple task of putting his side in the lead.
Swans forced two successive corners on the right, but then had to clear the ball over their own goal when Redhill got in on the right.
The home side extended their lead after 38 minutes, and again the goal resulted from poor defending of a free-kick. The ball was sent in from deep on the left, and it was allowed to run to the far-post, where Jon Difford was left with a simple tap-in.
In the final minute of the half Swans had an opportunity to halve the deficit when they had a free-kick close to the right corner-flag, but when the ball was played into the near-post it was blocked away.
Early in the second-half Redhill’s Kery Kedze turned on the edge of the box to send a shot over, but ten minutes in his keeper Trivino had to beat down a shot to his near-post when Robertson played Leslie in on the left. Swans built up another good move, and a shot from the left of the box was blocked behind for a corner.
Swans had looked a much better side in the second-half, and just before the hour they got themselves back into the game with a terrific goal. They had a free-kick just outside the box on the left, and when the initial effort was blocked the ball came back to Kirby, and he struck a first-time shot that the keeper had no chance of stopping as the ball simply flew past him into his bottom, right corner.
Swans were soon getting in another shot from the left that was blocked for a corner, and from the kick Robertson glanced a header over. Redhill put a header over at the near-post when a long throw was sent in from the left, but Swans again went close with a shot from the left that was just wide of the far-post. There were just two minutes of normal-time remaining when Leslie struck a terrific shot from outside the box that flew just inches wide of the left post.
With the game entering stoppage-time Redhill looked like clinching the win when they broke down the middle, but only a free-kick resulted when Jordan Simmons made a tackle that earned him a booking.
The home side then had three successive corners that allowed them the opportunity to run down the clock, but Swans still had time to go for an equaliser, and they went desperately close when they broke down the middle and keeper Trivino came out to just deflect the ball behind for a corner on the left.
The referee had already added on six minutes when Swans got in a cross from the left and Simmons was at the far-post to score a dramatic equaliser. There was then barely time left to restart the game.
Swans’ Team: James Russell, Melvin Adesida, Jonathan Tadafe, Pat Kirby, Jordan Simmons, Samuel Marfo, Tyreke Leslie, Andrew Demby (Darnell Austin 86’), James Robertson (Mo Kamara 77’), Didi Castanho (Connor Channon 90+7’), Seb Osei-Obengo. Subs. not used: Conor Symon, Nathan Mampono. Scorers: Osei-Obengo (7’), Kirby (59’), Simmons (90+6’). Cautions: Robertson, foul (17’), Simmons, foul (90+1’).
Redhill Team: Trivino, Cooke, Stow, Tango, Difford (Kyei 67’), Trotter, Bailey-King, Ikpo-Oudo, Halsey (Eshilokun 75’), Joseph, Kedze (Burford 77’). Subs. not used: Vian, Williams. Scorers: Halsey (16’), Joseph (28’), Difford (38’). Caution: Trotter. .