Saturday 19th January 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 2 Knaphill 4.
Swans’ hopes of securing a first win under new manager Perry Gough were virtually dashed in the first 23 minutes when poor defending cost them three goals. A typical Pat Kirby strike in first-half stoppage-time gave them hope that they could repeat the comeback of a week earlier that gave them a 3-3 draw at Redhill after trailing 3-1 at the break. When they reduced the deficit to a single goal with just under ten minutes remaining that possibility was opened up further, but a defensive blunder gifted the visitors a fourth goal that settled the match in their favour.
Two changes were made to the line-up that had started at Redhill. With Jordan Simmons having picked up an injury in training, Liam Coates made his debut in defence, while Nathan Mampono came in for James Robertson, who dropped to the bench.
Swans were slow to settle, and they fell behind after just five minutes. A long, diagonal pass gave Knaphill yards of space on the right, and no-one was picked up in the box when the ball was driven low across, and although goalkeeper James Russel got a touch he could not keep out Jack Leighton’s shot from twelve yards.
Swans first opportunity came when Kirby sent a free-kick into the box, and when the ball came out to Tyreke Leslie, his first-time, low shot was blocked.
But it was 2-0 to the visitors after 13 minutes, and there were again big question marks over the Swans’ defending. A free-kick was sent over from the left and the ball was in the air for a long time, but no-one defended the far-post, where Matthew Kellet-Smith was unmarked to head home.
Knaphill looked comfortable in defending their two goal lead, but with just a quarter of the game played they made it 3-0. Sheridan Campbell got past Coates far too easily on the left, and was free to drive the ball into the far-corner.
Knaphill keeper Aaron Holt had not been troubled, but after 37 minutes he had to be quickly out to help his defence when Leslie burst through the middle. Swans should have got a goal back with two minutes left to the break when Didi Castanho made a clever run in on the left, but Seb Osei-Obengo shot wide of the near-post when the ball was laid back to him.
But a minute into first-half stoppage-time Swans did give themselves a chance by reducing the deficit. Osei-Obengo made a run in the right to give himself a scoring chance, but he chose to lay the ball back to Castanho. The opportunity appeared to have gone when he was closed out, but Kirby was outside the left of the box to drive the ball low inside Holt’s right-post.
Swans made a double substitution for the second-half, with Robertson and Sean White coming on for Mampono and Andrew Demby.
With 10 of the second 45 minutes played Leslie got in a good strike from 30 yards out on the left that dipped just over, but the visitors immediately got into the right of the box to shoot straight at Russell.
Just before the hour Coates was stretchered off after receiving lengthy treatment for an injury, and was replaced by Conor Symon.
Knaphill had another chance when the ball was played in from the left to the far-post, but it was stabbed wide.
Swans had struggled to create openings, but with just under ten minutes remaining they gave themselves a real chance with a second goal. Castanho’s clever pass put Leslie into the left of the box, and he neatly clipped the ball past keeper Holt.
But their hopes of a comeback only lasted three minutes as Knaphill were gifted a fourth goal. Indecision between Russell and his defence in the left of the box only resulted in the ball being left to Martin Smith, who had the simple task of finding the net. Swans’ potential comeback had been snuffed out, and Russell was forced into a smart save, pushing a shot from the right round the far-post.
Swans’ Team: James Russell, Melvin Adesida, Jonathan Tadafe, Pat Kirby, Liam Coates (Conor Symon 59’), Samuel Marfo, Tyreke Leslie, Andrew Demby (Sean White 45’), Seb Osei-Obengo, Didi Castanho, Nathan Mampono (James Robertson 45’). Subs. not used: Mo Kamara, Darnell Austin. Scorers: Kirby (45+1’), Leslie (81’).
Knaphill Team: Holt, Kellet-Smith, Bower, El Amrani, Collins, Rowley, Costello (Barry 90+5’), Frise, Campbell (McDonald 75’), Smith (Rapley 88’), Leighton. Sub. not used: Wheller. Scorers: Leighton (5’), Kellet-Smith (13’), Campbell (23’), Smith (84’). Cautions: Rowley (67’), Frise (68’). .