Saturday 2nd November 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.
Walton & Hersham 6 Epsom & Ewell 3.
On a windy, rainy afternoon, Swans scored six goals for the second game in a row, making it seventeen in their last four league matches, one of those being the blank at runaway division leaders Jersey Bulls. They made light of the difficult conditions to put on a terrific display of passing and fast, attacking play that led to a fine match on an otherwise miserable, late autumn afternoon. For the second match running they took a 3-0 lead with less than half an hour played, with three goals coming in an eight minute spell. Unlike the win at British Airways however, they made things more difficult for themselves by conceding two goals in quick succession to leave the match tightly poised at the break. But with Tyreke Leslie weighing in with his customary goal just over ten minutes into the second-half, and Seb Osei-Obengo scoring two late goals to add to his two in the first-half to make it a superb personal quadruple, Swans finally ran out comfortable winners. There was a costly last few minutes however, with Jordan Simmons picking up a booking for a pretty innocuous looking foul, resulting in a one match ban for the Swans’ defender, and new goalkeeper Ibrahim Ugradar being sent-off when shown his second yellow card of the match in conceding a penalty. Swans started with the wind against them, and Anderson Pinto-Nogueira was soon setting up Osei-Obengo to get in a powerful shot from 30 yards that visiting keeper Luis Ricardo Texeira beat down on his line. The lead should have been taken after twelve minutes when Osei-Obengo sent Leslie racing clear, but he was just denied in trying to take the ball round the keeper, and after netting with a second attempt he was penalised for a push on a defender. The visitors had an opportunity when former Swan Sean White played Toby Funnell through, but Ugradar was quickly out to smother the ball. The Swans’ keeper then picked up his first booking for coming out and fouling an Epsom player who had got to the byline on the right. Swans took the lead after 21 minutes when a well-worked free-kick led to Miguel Lopes de Matos crossing from the left, and Alvin Sarmiento scoring with a clever flick over the keeper. It was 2-0 four minutes later when Sarmiento’s persistence won him the ball on the right, and he fed Osei-Obengo on the edge of the box to score with a terrific, right-foot shot that Texeira got hands on, but found too powerful to keep out of the top of his net. Then, with 29 minutes played, Leslie got free in the left of the box before laying the ball off to Osei-Obengo to his left, and he picked up his second goal with a calm finish into the far, bottom corner. Swans were guilty of switching off, as just a minute later the visitors pulled a goal back. Marlon Pinder, along with White and Jahmahl King, one of three former Swans in The Salts’ line-up, got free into the left of the box, and when Ugradar could only push his shot away, Robert Hendry was at the back-post for a simple finish. Munashe Mwatsiya sent Leslie bursting clear on the left for Swans, but the ball just ran away from him on the slick surface, and Osei-Obengo sent a low shot wide of the far-post after Sarmiento had set him up on the left. The visitors put a shot wide of the near-post after breaking on the right before, with the wind and rain at their height, they reduced Swans’ lead to a single goal after 37 minutes. Justin Hemmings had already done well to clear the ball off the goal-line when Hendry got in a shot, but when it was not cleared White set up Pinder to net. With five minutes left to the break Pinto-Nogueira sent Osei-Obengo racing down the right, and when he drove the ball low across the 6 yard box Leslie just failed to turn it in at the far-post. Pinto-Nogueira was again the provider to Sarmiento on the right, and when he set up Leslie in the box he was just prevented from scoring, a follow-up attempt by the Swans’ striker being blocked. There was a further scare for Swans when the ball was lost in midfield, allowing Hendry to get free on the left, but his shot could only find the side-netting. Osei-Obengo and Pinto-Nogueira linked up well on the right for Swans, and when Osei-Obengo got into the box he was denied a first-half hat-trick by Texeira saving his shot at the near-post. As the half entered added-on time Epsom sent a free-kick into the box and the ball had to be headed behind for a corner on the left. From the kick a header came in at the far-post that Ugradar was able to take high up on his line. Swans soon went close to extending their narrow lead after the resumption when Leslie’s fine play on the left won a corner. From Pinto-Nogueira’s kick the ball was knocked back at the far-post for Leslie to put it over the bar from inside the 6 yard box. Epsom almost capitalised when Bobby Bennett was sent clear on the right to get in a shot that Ugradar could only push away, but Pinder was slow following in at the far-post. Swans got the buffer they had been looking for with just over ten minutes played of the second-half. Pinto-Nogueira set up Michael Winnister on the right to get in a shot that was blocked, but Sarmiento was able to follow up and drive in a low cross that Leslie turned in from in front of goal. The visitors responded with a break on the left that forced Simmons to head over his own goal as the cross came in, and a low shot from 30 yards took a deflection to go behind for another corner. Swans had to head the ball away from under their crossbar following a corner, and they immediately broke as a long ball sent Leslie away on the right. He cut into the box to get in a fine left-foot shot that Texeira did well to tip over his crossbar. With just over an hour played Simmons popped up outside the right corner of the box to drive in a low left-foot shot that zipped across the pitch and struck the near-post, the ball rebounding into the gloves of a grateful keeper. Texeira was soon doing well to block a low shot from Leslie, who had been sent bursting clear to the edge of the box by Sarmiento’s fine through ball. The Epsom keeper then had to dive and push the ball wide of the right post after Sarmiento’s free-kick from deep had drifted in on the wind. Swans continued to look hungry for further goals, and Leslie just failed to get to the ball when Pinto-Nogueira sent over a great cross from the left. U18’s striker Jordan Junor, who had replaced Sarmiento, then got the ball to Osei-Obengo on the left, but his low shot could only find the side-netting. But, with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining, Mwatsiya got Osei-Obengo free on the left, and he sent a tremendous right-foot shot dipping into the far, top corner to complete his first Swans’ hat-trick. Junor laid the ball inside from the right for Pinto-Nogueira to drive in a low shot that Texeira got behind, before Swans went 6-2 up in the final minute of normal-time. Another superb ball from Pinto-Nogueira sent Osei-Obengo free on the left, and he worked the ball onto his right-foot before stroking it across the keeper and into the far corner. Simmons conceded a free-kick to Epsom on the right, and was harshly shown a yellow card for an innocuous looking challenge, and when Scott Murphy delivered the ball into the box Ugradar got behind a header. But, with three minutes of stoppage-time played, Pinder got through for Epsom, and was brought down by Ugradar after trying to get past the Swans’ keeper. Ugradar was shown his second yellow card of the match and dismissed, leaving central defender Sam Marfo to don the keeper’s jersey and gloves for the third time in a month, and facing his second penalty-kick. He was again given no chance as Bennett drove home the spot-kick to give The Salts a late consolation.
Swans’ Team: Ibrahim Ugradar, Michael Winnister, Miguel Lopes de Matos, Justin Hemmings, Jordan Simmons, Sam Marfo, Alvin Sarmiento (Jordan Junor 68’), Munashe Mwatsiya (Mamadaliu Balde 82’), Seb Osei-Obengo, Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Tyreke Leslie (Thomas Lim 76’). Subs. not used: James Young, Simeon Dennis. Scorers: Sarmiento (21’), Osei-Obengo (25’, 29’, 81’ & 89’), Leslie (56’). Caution: Simmons, foul (90’). Dismissal: Ugradar, 2 cautions for fouls (17’ & 90+3’).
Epsom & Ewell Team: Texeira, Heagney, Carton (Bonass-Ward 64’), White (Robinson 65’), T. Murphy (Connelly 59’), King, Bennett, S. Murphy, Pinder, Hendry, Funnell. Subs. not used: Nightingale, Smith. Scorers: Hendry (30’), Pinder (37’), Bennett, penalty (90+4’). Caution: Funnell, foul (10’).