Saturday 2nd February 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 0 Horley Town 2.
With other lowly placed sides’ games postponed, Swans missed the opportunity of making up some ground on them, as a poor first-half performance led to them suffering another defeat against opponents who have shown improved form of late. For the second game running they gave away an early goal that they seldom looked like getting back in a first-half during which they struggled to put any moves together. The deficit could have been greater at the break, but they put on a much improved performance in the second-half, and despite going 2-0 down just before the hour they could have salvaged something, but wasted several gilt-edged chances.
There were more changes to the starting line-up, with four more players making their Swans’ debuts. Luke Daley, signed from Hayes & Yeading United, came in in goal Two young players, Troy Meehan and Aaron Bryan, the latter having signed from Woking earlier in the week, started at full-back, while Daniel Pinto also made his first start, his international clearance having come through. Unfortunately Seb Osei-Obengo had picked up an injury in the friendly at Colliers Wood United, so Julian Owusu came in, to start his third spell at the club.
Swans got off to another bad start, going behind inside three minutes. Horley’s Lewis Taylor sent in a speculative shot from 35 yards, and Daley will feel disappointed that he got both hands to the ball, but could not keep it out.
Straight from the restart things almost got worse for Swans when Kerran Boylan knocked the ball down in the box and Daley just managed to claw away a close-in header. Daley had to dive to punch the ball clear when Russell Harvey got down the right to whip in a cross, and the keeper then dived to push the ball round his right-post when it ran loose in the box. Ryan Smith’s free-kick from deep on the right led to Daley fielding a header, with Swans having been under almost constant pressure for the first twenty minutes, and they were fortunate not to go 2-0 down. Boylan sent in a lob from the right, and the ball hit the crossbar before being scrambled behind for a corner.
Swans had barely put a move of note together, with the ball constantly being given away, and it was 27 minutes in before visiting keeper George Hyde was tested, having to punch clear when Bryan sent in a fine, high cross from the left.
But Horley continued to dominate, and Taylor screwed a shot wide from the edge of the box when the ball ran loose following Smith’s corner from the right. Smith powered a shot just wide from 30 yards out, and Daley had to dive to push the ball away when James McGilligott crossed low from the right.
There were just over five minutes left of the half before Swans got in a shot on goal, and it was a good one. Bryan was found on the left by a good pass from Pat Kirby, and the young player struck a fine, left-foot shot that Hyde did well to tip over his crossbar. Following the corner on the left Conor Symon drove the ball over.
Horley had the last say in first-half stoppage-time when McGilligott struck a shot just wide from outside the box.
Swans made a change for the second-half, with Tyreke Leslie replacing Owusu, and Sean White soon came on for Meehan.
Swans had looked better in the second-half, seeing much more of the ball, so it was disappointing when the visitors doubled their lead just before the hour. A free-kick was sent into the box from the left, and when the ball came out to the right, Harvey was unmarked to strike a fine, half-volley into the far-corner.
Horley sent a glancing header wide from a left-side corner, but Swans should have halved the deficit soon after. Some fine play by Leslie on the right led to him getting in a cross that picked out James Robertson in the middle, but he glanced a free-header wide. Symon then got the ball to White on the right, and when he drove the ball low across, Horley just cleared over their own goal from close-in. With just under twenty minutes remaining Leslie got in another good cross from the right that Robertson could only get a partial head on. But Robertson should have found the net straight after. Didi Castanho got into the box before laying the ball off to his right to Robertson, who had a clear shot at goal, but he drove the ball over.
Andrew Hall put a far-post header wide from a left-side corner for Horley, who then had a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the box following a trip, but Smith’s shot was blocked.
With just over five minutes remaining Leslie almost got in for Swans, forcing Hyde to kick the ball away, and when it came to White 40 yards out he tried to lob the keeper, but could only clear the bar.
Swans forced two successive corners, Castanho’s second leading to Kirby getting in a shot from outside the box, but the ball took a deflection before finding the gloves of keeper Hyde.
Daley had had a much quieter second-half in Swans’ goal, but in the final minute he had to dive to push Alex Barbary’s shot from outside the box round his right-post.
Swans’ Team: Luke Daley, Troy Meehan (Sean White 56’), Aaron Bryan, Pat Kirby, Jordan Simmons, Conor Symon, Daniel Pinto (Charlie Burns 77’), Darnell Austin, James Robertson, Didi Castanho, Julian Owusu (Tyreke Leslie 45’). Subs. not used: Nico Hounto-Hotegbe, Andrew Demby. Cautions: Austin (58’), Symon (90’).
Horley Team: Hyde, Robson, Taylor, Cespedes, Pullin, Hall, McGilligott, Smith, Boylan, Harvey, Barbary. Subs. used: Brackpool (74’), Regan (80’), Jones (86’). Sub. not used: Goulter. Scorers: Taylor (3’), Harvey (59’). Cautions: Smith, Harvey, McGilligott. .