Westside 3 Swans 4

Saturday 21st September 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.

Westside 3 Walton & Hersham 4.

Swans had to win the match four times against their first time opponents before they could leave Chalky Lane with three points. Every time they took the lead, slack defending allowed the home side to pull level, and they could thank the finishing of Tyreke Leslie, who kept up his season’s 100% scoring record, and Simeon Dennis, who joins him on four league goals. Three of Swans’ goals came in the second-half, when they were much improved after a poor first 45 minutes, during which they could be grateful for the wasteful finishing of their opponents and some fine goalkeeping from Jordan Johnson. With Seb Osei-Obengo starting a two match ban following his red card in his return match, Ryan Smith came in for his first start of the season. With Swans kicking up the slope, Smith set up a chance for Leslie inside the first minute with a layback on the left, but home keeper Kamil Blonski saved a strong, low shot on his line. Westside soon had an opportunity with a free-kick just outside the box, but the ball was driven straight into the wall. Another free-kick was then conceded, but further out at 30 yards, and this one was struck well over the goal by Nacho Diaz. With just over a quarter of an hour played Johnson had to go down and save a low shot from the right by Tevon Webster. The home side continued to be given far too much space in attacking areas, and Johnson had to make a good take at his near-post when Webster got in on the left. Midway through the half Swans had an opportunity with a free-kick out on the right, but the ball was headed clear from Anderson Pinto-Nogueira’s delivery into the box. Westside were immediately given far too much space on the right, and Johnson was forced into another save. Swans quickly broke and Leslie got in on the left to bring another save from Blonski, when possibly the better option was to lay the ball across to Smith in the middle. Leslie then appeared to have been fouled when Munashe Mwatsiya played him in on the left, but the referee saw no offence. Johnson was again brought into action in Swans’ goal, beating away a shot from Scott Simpson, whose clever play on the left had got him into the box. Swans again got forward quickly, and Dennis sent a shot dipping just over from the left corner of the box. Alarm bells were again set ringing in Swans’ defence, and Johnson made a fine save to deflect a shot wide of his far-post when Westside found far too much space on the right. From the left-side corner a header was put over at the far-post. More slack defending gave the home side another chance in the right of the box, but the ball was sent wide of the far-post. Pinto-Nogueira got Leslie to the byline on the right for Swans, but his layback across the 6 yard box failed to find a teammate. Westside won a corner on the left, and when Theo Campbell took the kick the ball came back to him, and he crossed to the far-post to set up a clear heading chance that was put over. The home side had had the bulk of the chances, but it was Swans who took the lead after 39 minutes, capitalising on a defensive blunder. Pinto-Nogueira got to the edge of the box, and when he played the ball forward keeper Blonski got in a mix-up with one of his defenders. The ball ran loose, and after getting possession Dennis drove the ball in at the second attempt. After surviving some defensive scares, Swans had hit a good spell, and Leslie glanced a powerful, near-post header just over when Pinto-Nogueira drove in a corner from the right. A short corner was then played on the left, and Parish Muirhead’s cross sent the ball dipping just wide of the far-post. In the final minute of normal-time Alvin Sarmiento’s free-kick picked out Jordan Simmons in the right of the 6 yard box, but he put a header wide. Swans just had to see out first-half stoppage-time to go in at the break with a lead, but a minute into it they conceded the equaliser. Tyrrell Stone was allowed to break clear down the middle, and although Johnson came out and blocked the ball it ran loose, and the Westside player was allowed to walk it into an open goal. There was just time to kick-off before the referee blew for half-time. Swans were kept out on the pitch for a severe half-time team talk, and it appeared to have the desired effect as they showed renewed determination straight from the restart. Two minutes after the resumption Smith got into the right of the box to lay the ball in and set up a chance for Leslie, but his first time effort was just blocked by keeper Blonski. Dennis then did well on the left before cutting inside, but shooting straight at the keeper. But Dennis soon regained Swans’ lead five minutes into the second-half with his second goal of the match. He again got in on the left to cut across the box, but this time he made no mistake in finding the right corner of the goal. Unfortunately for Swans more slack defending resulted in their lead only lasting four minutes. A high ball in from the left was not cut out and was allowed to run to the far-post, where Diaz was left free to score. Swans took the lead for the third time on the hour mark, with Leslie scoring his customary goal. Muirhead’s fine diagonal pass picked out Leslie in the right corner of the box, and he took the ball early to steer a low shot in-off the foot of the far-post. Westside then had to clear over their own goal when Muirhead found Dennis on the left, and he cut in to lay the ball across. With a quarter of the game left James Young replaced Smith, and he almost helped Swans to score a fourth goal straight after coming on. His challenge for the ball in the box set up a chance for Simmons to his left, but his half-volley was well-blocked by Blonski. Instead of being further ahead Swans again found themselves pulled level two minutes later. Webster was found unmarked on the right, and he did well to squeeze a shot inside the near-post. Swans immediately had an opportunity to take the lead for the fourth time when Young was brought down just a couple of feet outside the box. Sarmiento drove the free-kick into the wall, and his follow-up shot took a big deflection to send the ball looping into the gloves of Blonski. With ten minutes remaining Swans were unfortunate to lose the influential Dennis, who had to finally come off after failing to shake off the effects of cramp, and he was replaced by new signing Mo Ghailan. But with five minutes of normal-time left they took the lead yet again. Arif Hattabi had done well after coming on, and after getting free into the left of the box he laid the ball across. Young failed to get a touch in front of goal, but the ball ran to the far-post for Leslie to tuck home. Johnson had to deny Westside from equalising yet again when they got in on the right, the Swans’ keeper getting the ball round his near-post. In the final minute of normal-time Leslie almost made the points safe for Swans. He made a terrific run forward that took him from halfway to the edge of the box, but he was denied his hat-trick when his shot was blocked by the keeper. There were five minutes of added-on time to see out, but they were done so to secure a first away win of the season in the league for Swans.

Swans’ Team: Jordan Johnson, Alvin Sarmiento, Jordan Simmons, Parish Muirhead, Sam Marfo, Hamzah Williams, Tyreke Leslie, Munashe Mwatsiya, (Arif Hattabi 57’), Ryan Smith (James Young 67’), Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Simeon Dennis (Mo Ghailan 80’). Sub. not used: Mamadaliu Balde. Scorers: Dennis (39’ & 50’), Leslie (60’ & 85’). Cautions: Williams (30’), Marfo (75’), Simmons (83’).

Westside Team: Blonski, Dahdouh, Johnson-Read, Walters, Hunter-Moses, Campbell, Diaz, Whitely, Simpson, Webster, Stone. Subs. used: Daley (60’), Ogunlana (76’), Jones (80’). Subs. not used: Nichols, Zabotti. Scorers: Stone (45+1’), Diaz (54’), Webster (70’).