Saturday 9th February 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Badshot Lea 2 Walton & Hersham 3.
A stoppage-time winner gave a battling Swans’ side a valuable three points, and the double over their opponents. A dubious looking penalty award with just eight minutes of normal-time remaining looked to have denied them, but they showed the determination to press on for the win. Once again they had trailed to an early goal as they made another uncertain start, but they gradually became more settled, and two goals at the end of the first-half gave them a 2-1 lead at the break, one they held until that late penalty.
Seb Osei-Obengo was fit to return, while Tyreke Leslie and Sean White also came back into the starting line-up. There were also starts for new signings Jean-Luc Kinsaba and Regan Mendes, the latter making a return to the club after making several appearances at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. With intended starters Didi Castanho and Ahmed Elsahib, another new signing, held up on route to Camberley, there were late inclusions for Darnell Austin and Simon Offei.
Swans had conceded goals within minutes of the kick-off in their last two matches, and that could well have been the case again. Inside the opening two minutes the home side’s James Pilgrim was given far too much space on the right, and his shot was pushed round the near-post by Swans’ goalkeeper Luke Daley. Following the corner the ball came to former Swan Liam Flanighan in the left of the box, but he drove a clear chance over the crossbar. A further opportunity came to Badshot Lea when they had a free-kick in a promising position on the left, but Harry Cooksley drove the ball over.
But the home side took the lead after just eleven minutes, and Swans will feel disappointed that it immediately followed a possible chance of their own. A clearing kick by Badshot Lea keeper Jordan Clement was charged down by Leslie, and Clement was just able to regain possession before the Swans’ player could capitalise. The ball was immediately switched to the other end, and Max Herbert was allowed to get into the box and lob over Daley from close-in.
Daley was soon having to beat down a good strike from outside the box by Cooksley.
Swans’ players seemed adamant they should have had a penalty as there were concerted appeals for handball when Jordan Simmons sent a free-kick from deep into the box.
Just before the half-hour Badshot Lea had another opportunity with a free-kick just outside the box, but this time Cooksley’s shot took a big deflection, and the ball looped over the goal for a corner.
Swans had become more composed after a shaky start, and they went close to equalising. Some fine play by Leslie on the left got him past Darren Blake, and his cross picked out Osei-Obengo, who thumped a header just wide of the left-post. Another good move resulted in Osei-Obengo getting to the byline on the left, and his cross sent the ball just over the far, top corner. Leslie’s pace again proved too much for Blake, and his trip to end the Swans’ player’s run earned him the game’s first yellow card.
The equaliser came with seven minutes of normal-time left of the half. A long ball down the middle was not dealt with by the home defence, leaving both Leslie and Osei-Obengo the opportunity, but it was the latter who was first to the ball, and he neatly slotted it low past keeper Clement from just inside the box.
With a minute left of the half another good build-up ended with White striking a shot over from 35 yards, but Swans soon got the goal that sent them in at the break with a 2-1 lead. Offei was found in the left of the box, and he took the chance early, striking a low, first-time shot that Clement got a touch on, but could not prevent from going just inside his far-post.
The home side resumed after the interval looking determined to hit back, and Blake’s free-kick into the box from deep had to be headed behind for a corner. Daley then had to go down on his line to save a shot, and Swans were fortunate when a free-kick from the right led to a scramble and the ball being cleared away from the goal-line.
Swans settled again, and there were more claims for handball in the box when Pat Kirby took a corner from the left. A free-kick was then won outside the left of the box, but Offei’s kick went straight through to Clement.
Swans had the chance to extend their lead as the match entered the final quarter of an hour. They played a short-corner on the right, and Castanho, who had come on for Austin, got to the byline to play the ball low across. This led to a scramble and the ball running to the far-post, where a shot came in that took a deflection for another corner.
Badshot Lea twice went close to capitalising on the escape. Daley was well-positioned to get behind a far-post header when the ball was crossed from the left, but he was beaten when a free-kick from deep on the right was met with another header at the far-post, but the ball went across goal and wide.
But, with eight minutes of normal-time remaining, the Swans’ keeper was facing a penalty. The home side sent the ball into the box from the left, and there seemed little in Castanho’s challenge that was judged to be a foul. Cooksley drove the spot-kick past Daley to make it 2-2.
Swans were stung into response, and with five minutes left Castanho sent Offei away on the right, and his ball to the far-post was just taken off the head of the waiting White and behind for a corner. From the kick Simmons put a header wide. Leslie then put a first-time shot wide when Castanho played him into the right of the box.
But with the match entering stoppage-time Swans’ pressure was rewarded with a superbly taken winner. Leslie was again played into the right of the box, and this time he shrugged off the challenge of a couple of defenders before lashing the ball just inside the near-post.
Swans’ Team: Luke Daley, Conor Symon, Jean-Luc Kinsaba, Pat Kirby, Regan Mendes, Jordan Simmons, Tyreke Leslie, Sean White, Seb Osei-Obengo (Ahmed Elsahib 62’), Darnell Austin (Didi Castanho 69’), Simon Offei (Samuel Marfo 90+2’). Subs. not used: Andrew Demby, James Robertson. Scorers: Osei-Obengo (38’), Offei (45’), Leslie (90+1’). Caution: Offei, did not retire (89’).
Badshot Lea Team: Clement, Blake, Roberts, Flanighan, Bonsu, Close (May 75’), Pilgrim (Ford 63’), Lloyd, Cooksley, Herbert, Francis (Connolly 54’). Subs. not used: Pound, Hounto-Hotegbe. Scorers: Herbert (11’), Cooksley, penalty (82’). Cautions: Blake, Roberts, Herbert.