Saturday 9th March 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 2 Camberley Town 3.
Home supporters were left bemused and frustrated as three valuable points that could have taken their club out of the relegation spots were somehow snatched away in the dying minutes of the game. Having taken the lead for the second time just five minutes from the end of normal-time, Swans contrived to concede two goals in the short period of time remaining. It must be hoped that those final few minutes do not prove to be defining ones for them at the end of this difficult season. There is no doubt that Swans have the ability to set up and score goals, but the alarming tendency to leak them is one they need to urgently address if their survival hopes are not to be derailed.
Their hopes in this game could have vanished in the first-half, at the end of which they would have been relieved to go in at 0-0, as the visitors had much the better of the play and had gone close to scoring on several occasions. A blustery wind had made play difficult in that first 45 minutes, but Swans had begun to come more into the game towards the end of the half. They carried that momentum into the second-half, coming out with all guns blazing, and with a bit of good fortune could have scored several goals, before they finally made the breakthrough just before the hour. That hard-won lead was lost with eight minute remaining, but Swans wasted little time regaining it, and that should have been job done, but it proved to be not enough.
There was an enforced change to Swans’ starting line-up as Pat Kirby was injured, and he was replaced by Andrew Demby. Other changes were Jordan Simmons moving to left-back, with Sam Marfo replacing him in central defence, and Liam Allen starting in goal, the dual-registered Molesey keeper being the eighth to appear between the sticks for Swans this season.
Both sides struggled to get going, with the wind making good control difficult, but the visitors had the first opportunity after a quarter of an hour with a free-kick five yards outside the left of the box, but it was driven wide of the right post.
Swans immediately made their first attack of note with a good run by Seb Osei-Obengo down the right, but his whipped-in cross was just in front of Tyreke Leslie on the edge of the 6 yard-box. Sean White was soon driving in a low shot from the left corner of the box that Camberley keeper Richard Ossai had to go down at his near-post to save. Following a throw-in on the left Simmons combined with Osei-Obengo, who whipped in a shot from the corner of the box that Ossai had to beat down.
Swans had looked far from secure at the back, and midway through the half they were fortunate not to concede the first goal. Allen was caught out of his goal as the ball was not cleared in the box, allowing Dean Rule to get to the byline on the right with a clear shot at goal, but fortunately for Swans, defenders got back to clear the ball off the goal-line. Camberley then had a free-kick outside the left of the box, but Dan Jewell drove the ball over the goal. The visitors continued to dominate, and when Swans lost possession Mark Jordan was able to get in a shot from 25 yards out on the left that went wide of the far-post. The home goal had another escape just before the half hour when a corner was conceded on the right. Following the kick the ball was stabbed against the far-post, and then had to be scrambled off the goal-line. Just three minutes later Camberley struck the goal-frame for the second time when Jordan was free to get in a shot from the left corner of the box, and the ball bounced back into play off the far angle of bar and post.
Swans recovered to finish the half well, and with ten minutes left to the break Didi Castanho sent a free-kick into the box from the left, and Ossai just managed to fall on the ball to deny Regan Mendes.
Camberley had the last say in stoppage-time however, when Rule got in a low shot from inside the box, but Allen did well to go down and save.
Swans started the second-half on the front foot, and soon had a free-kick on the right. Following Castanho’s kick the ball ran loose in the box for Leslie to get in a low shot that Ossai blocked with his legs, and it looped over the bar. From Ahmed Elsahib’s corner on the left Osei-Obengo got his head to the ball from close-in, and Ossai just managed to claw the ball away from under his crossbar. White then played a fine ball through to set up a chance for Osei-Obengo 22 yards out, but he put his cross-shot just wide of the right post.There were still only five minutes of the second-half played when Castanho made a run forward before playing Leslie into the right of the box, and when the ball came to Elsahib 22 yards out, he drove it just wide of the right post. Demby then played Elsahib into the left of the box to get in a shot that was blocked for a corner. Swans’ attacks were incessant, and Leslie got clear into the right of the box to get in a low shot that Ossai deflected towards his far-post. Osei-Obengo was there to collect, but just failed to force the ball over the line, and Elsahib followed up to have a shot deflected for a corner. From the kick on the left Mendes powered a header just inches wide of the far-post.
Swans could have been out of sight, but they finally made the breakthrough 13 minutes into the half. Leslie was played to the byline on the right, and when he laid the ball across Osei-Obengo swept it past Ossai from the edge of the 6 yard-box.
Simon Offei had come on for Elsahib, and he sent in a terrific, low, left-foot shot from 30 yards out that Ossai did well to turn wide of his left post, and from the corner Marfo sent a header over.
Camberley had been almost totally on the back-foot, but they had a chance when Rule got in on the right, but Allen made a good save from a shot to his near-post.
Swans continued to attack however, and Leslie had a shot from the edge of the box after being set up by Castanho, but Ossai got well behind the ball. Castanho then made a terrific run into the box on the left that took him past several defenders, but he was just denied by keeper Ossai.
Camberley had an opportunity with a free-kick outside the left corner of the box, and when the shot was blocked they claimed handball, but to no avail.
With just over ten minutes remaining Leslie lobbed the ball down the middle to send Osei-Obengo clear, but Ossai was quickly out to the edge of his area to deny him.
Swans just managed to clear when Camberley got the ball in from the right, but they broke with Leslie getting down the left, and when he played the ball low across he just failed to pick out Offei, and Ossai was able to collect. Arif Hattabi had come on for Demby, and he struck a superb shot from 25 yards out on the right that fizzed just inches wide of goal.
With so many chances having come and gone it looked like Swans would need to keep a clean sheet to claim the win, something they had not done since the beginning of December, and with just seven minutes of normal-time remaining they paid the penalty for not building on their slim lead. Osei-Obengo seemed to have been fouled, and was down injured, but Camberley were allowed to play on and got into the left of the box. Swans’ concentration had gone and they just could not get the ball clear, and when it came to Ben Hutchings on the right he drove it past Allen and into the far-corner.
Swans took only two minutes to regain the lead however. Offei was sent racing clear with just Ossai between him and goal, but the keeper just got a hand to the ball as the Swans’ player tried to take it round him. Osei-Obengo was able to gain possession on the left, and he cut the ball back onto his right foot before curling a superb shot into the far corner.
That should have been it to seal the win, but Swans were soon having to defend a contentious free-kick awarded 30 yards out. Unfortunately they did not defend it well, and Jewell drove the ball inside the left-post to make it 2-2.
Then a minute into stoppage-time the visitors broke in on the left, and when Allen could only push the ball away when the shot came in, Sam Hutchings followed in on the right for a simple tap-in.
Swans had one last opportunity to salvage something from a match they should have had tied up, with a corner on the right. Camberley cleared over their own goal from Offei’s kick, and were then able to defend the second kick from the left.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Conor Symon, Jordan Simmons, Andrew Demby (Arif Hattabi 75’), Regan Mendes, Sam Marfo, Tyreke Leslie, Sean White (James Robertson 87’), Seb Osei-Obengo, Didi Castanho, Ahmed Elsahib (Simon Offei 59’). Subs. not used: Kevin Manuel, Aaron Bryan. Scorer: Osei-Obengo (58’ & 85’). Cautions: White, Leslie, Castanho.
Camberley Team: Ossai, S. Hutchings, Garstang, B. Hutchings, Stepney, Jewell, Baxter (Iliev 45+1’), Bello-Balogun, Rule, Koroma (Smith 70’), Jordan (Reid 90+2’). Subs. not used: Kelsey, Ba. Scorers: B. Hutchings (83’), Jewell (87’), S. Hutchings (90+1’). Cautions: Bello-Balogun, Jordan. .