Saturday 3rd August 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One. Walton & Hersham 3 Eversley & California 0.
Swans entered new territory and a new era, and will be pleased they put on a fine performance to get their season off to a good start. They will be playing sides this season that will be relatively unknown quantities to them, and with six players making their debuts in the starting line-up it was always going to be somewhat of a learning curve for them. It was therefore understandably not a completely flawless performance, with the visitors having several opportunities, but there was enough quality play from Swans to bode well for the season ahead. New skipper James Robertson, one of seven players in the squad remaining from last season, had given Swans a twelfth minute lead, but they could not capitalise on their overall dominance until Tyreke Leslie doubled their advantage with just over a quarter of an hour remaining, and Robertson scored his second of the match. The visitors soon had a half-chance when they broke on the right, and with goalkeeper Kevin Manuel dashing across out of his area, the ball was lobbed just wide of the far-post. The Hampshire side then had a free-kick out on the right touchline, but the ball was delivered well over the goal. Swans’ first chance came when Jayden Willis sent in a long throw from the left, and the ball was nodded just wide. But the lead quickly followed when Leslie broke on the right before driving a terrific low cross to the far-post for Robertson to tuck home. Robertson then broke into the left of the box to drive the ball low across the goal-face. Louis Blake collected on the right, but could not get a shot away. With just over twenty minutes remaining of the half a Swans’ attack broke down and the visitors were allowed to break down the left, but the ball was put wide when the cross came in. George Marsh then glanced a header wide when a free-kick was delivered from the right. Swans built up a good move on the left, and a shot was deflected wide when the ball was played low across. Alvin Sarmiento and Simeon Dennis played a corner short on the right, and when Sarmiento sent the ball over it was nodded down at the far-post. This resulted in a good chance for Leslie close in on the right, but he drove the ball wide of the near-post. Swans nearly paid for the miss when Jamel Johnson got in on their left, and he drove a shot against the crossbar. Swans quickly responded with Sarmiento getting in a high cross from the right to find Blake outside the box, but he sent a volley into the ground and over. The visitors again went close when Jack Kittleson sent a header over from close in from a right-side cross. Some fine play by Dennis led to Sarmiento getting the ball over from the right, and with Blake at the far-post it was put behind for a corner. Swans started the second-half with Parish Muirhead making a good run on the left, but his cross dipped just over. The visitors soon got in on the right, but shot wide of the near-post. Five minutes into the half Felix Lucas played a fine through pass to Willis on the left, and he sent over a good cross to the far-post, where the ball just glanced off the head of Robertson, under pressure from keeper Jordi Wilson. Some fine build-up play by Eversley & California set up Charlie Scope on the right, but he sent the ball well wide of the near-post. Swans went close to doubling their lead when Leslie was played into the right of the box, and he sent in a stinging drive that Wilson did well to get a hand on and deflect onto the crossbar and over. Muirhead then played a fine ball to Willis on the left, but after cutting inside he lobbed the ball straight into the gloves of keeper Wilson. Swans had hit a fine spell, and with just under an hour played Dennis was played down the right to get in a shot that Wilson did well to block at his near-post. The ball fell to Robertson by the penalty-spot, but his shot was again well blocked by the keeper. Swans made a double substitution, with Gus Lukuni and Roy Gayle coming on for Blake and Lucas, and midway through the half a fine run forward by Dennis got Leslie down the right. Wilson had to concede another corner as he blocked Leslie’s low ball to the near-post. Swans continued to press, and Robertson glanced a header over when Dennis crossed from the right. A clever run by Lukuni ended with him laying the ball off to his right to Dennis, but his shot from 25 yards was well over. With twenty minutes remaining Swans won successive corners on the right, but the visitors were allowed to break, and they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. The lead was looking slender, but fortunately Cameron Blackie cleared the bar by some distance with the free-kick. Swans finally gave themselves a buffer when Leslie was again played into the right of the box. Keeper Wilson found Leslie’s angled drive too hot to hold, and the Swans’ player followed up to ram the ball past him. Muirhead sent an excellent diagonal ball from the left to find Leslie on the right, and Sarmiento was just closed out when the ball was played inside to him. Leslie was desperately unlucky not to get his second goal when Robertson nodded the ball on to find him on the right. Leslie beat Wilson with a low shot, but the ball struck the far-post and rolled clear. Lukuni then broke clear, but after making room on the edge of the box he had a shot blocked. Swans had been well in command, but the visitors had an opportunity when they got into the right of the box, but a shot to the near-post was well taken by Manuel. With just under five minutes of normal-time remaining Swans made the points safe when Willis sent over a fine cross from the left to the right of the box for Robertson to run in and score. The visitors’ last opportunity to get on the scoresheet came with a corner on the left, but Ali Dickie headed over.
Swans’ Team: Kevin Manuel, Alvin Sarmiento, Jaydan Willis, Parish Muirhead, Jordan Simmons, Sam Marfo, Tyreke Leslie (Frank Ngonyama 79’), Simeon Dennis, James Robertson, Louis Blake (Roy Gayle 63’), Felix Lucas (Gus Lukuni 63’). Subs. not used: Michael Winnister, Rishi Nankani. Scorers: Robertson (12’ & 86’), Leslie (73’). Caution: Muirhead, foul (70’).
E & C Team: Wilson, C. Robson, Dalton, Dickie, C. Allison (Khera), Marsh, Scope (Hartin), Blackie (Knight), Kittleson, McKernan, Johnson. Subs. not used: J. Allison, Vaughan. .