Saturday 14th December 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.
Walton & Hersham 1 Tooting Bec 1.
A dramatic stoppage-time equaliser from substitute Thomas Lim rescued a deserved and valuable point for a spirited, ten-man Swans against their top-four opponents. This was after they had played over half the match a player short following the harsh dismissal of Hamzah Williams, and after they had gone 1-0 down early in the second-half. Up until Williams’s sending-off they had looked the more likely winners against a disciplined and well-organised Tooting Bec side, but despite some excellent football and a number of good chances had failed to make the breakthrough. This was due in no small part to the goalkeeping of Michael Dill, who made a series of fine saves on behalf of the visitors. Swans were still lacking the services of their two main strikers and top-scorers, the suspended Seb Osei-Obengo and the unavailable Tyreke Leslie. With Alvin Sarmiento and Parish Muirhead also serving bans, 17 year old Tyreke Hollingsworth came into the midfield for his second start of the season. Leon Lalor-Dell soon looked a threat on the right for Swans, cutting inside, but only finding the side-netting with a left-foot shot, and then taking advantage when his marker slipped over, only to be just denied for a corner after getting into the box. Hollingsworth then nodded the ball on to send Simeon Dennis through to the byline on the left, and his low cross went across the goal-face, a deflection resulting in another corner on the right. The visitors threatened for the first-time with just under ten minutes played when Daniel Ogunmade took a free-kick on the right, and when the ball came out to Chris Thurbon in the box he drove it over the goal. They then won a corner on the right after Darius Heravi flicked the ball on to James Parsons. The young Hollingsworth had already been impressive for Swans, and a fine pass put Dennis clear, but he was just denied by keeper Dill on the edge of the box and the ball went behind for a corner on the left. Anderson Pinto-Nogueira’s kick forced another corner on the right as the ball was headed behind. Home keeper Jordan Johnson was brought into serious action for the first time, doing well to stretch and tip the ball away when Ogunmade swung in a corner-kick from the right. With twenty minutes played Lalor-Dell again got in on the right for Swans to drive in a low shot that Dill took at his near-post, when probably a better option was to find Mo Ghailan, unmarked in the middle. Ghailan then put Hollingsworth clear into the left of the box, but Dill was again able to keep out his low, angled shot, and this was immediately followed by Lalor-Dell forcing another corner on the right. Swans continued to press for the breakthrough, and Hollingsworth sent a fine shot dipping just over from 25 yards. Pinto-Nogueira then won the ball on halfway and made a terrific surge forward that took him into the left of the box, but Dill was again able to keep out his low shot. The visitors’ keeper was immediately saving a low shot from the right of the box by Lalor-Dell. Pinto-Nogueira’s low cross was then blocked for a corner when he got in on the right. Another corner was won on the right with just under ten minutes left of the half, and Hollingsworth was unfortunate to see his kick send the ball dipping just past the far-post. The match was then to take a major turn five minutes before the break when Heravi got clear for the visitors, and Williams was judged to have fouled the former Swan just outside the box and was shown a straight red card. Jack Martin sent the resultant free-kick well over the goal. The situation did not seem to immediately unsettle Swans, and Hollingsworth sent a 25 yard free-kick dipping just over. Pinto-Nogueira then made a superb run into the left of the box, but his shot was again blocked away. For all their excellent play and chances created Swans had to come out for the second-half with no reward, and just three minutes after the resumption they found themselves behind. Their defence was opened up, and Myles Blenkinsop got clear down the middle to slot the ball past Johnson. Swans seemed to have a good case for a penalty denied when Hollingsworth went down in the box after being played through by Lalor-Dell. Ten minutes into the half Lalor-Dell had a great chance to equalise when he got clear into the left of the box, but this time he tried to pick out Dennis to his right when the space opened up for him to shoot, and the ball was blocked away. Swans were rightly left feeling aggrieved when Lalor-Dell’s clever run was ended by Thurbon bringing him down eight yards outside the box. The Tooting Bec skipper had been shown a yellow card for a similar challenge just four minutes earlier, but surprisingly escaped a further sanction. He was wisely substituted by his management immediately after Pinto-Nogueira had driven the resultant free-kick over the bar. Swans continued to press for the equaliser, and Dill had to come out and block the ball when Dennis was played into the right of the box. With just over a quarter of an hour remaining Michael Winnister had to resort to a foul when the visitors got clear to the edge of the box on the left, but he did not suffer a similar fate to his team-mate Williams, and escaped with just a yellow card being shown. Martin surprisingly tried to overcomplicate the resultant free-kick by playing it short to a team-mate, and was quickly closed down and the shot blocked. In their determination to equalise Swans began to open up at the back, and Blenkinsop was set up close to their penalty-spot, but his shot was blocked. Their keeper Johnson then did well to get his body behind a close-in header from Blenkinsop after Heravi had crossed from the left. Blenkinsop continued to look to add to his earlier goal, and his low shot from outside the box was just wide of the left-post. Swans were not out of it however, and straight after coming on Lim was found in space on the right to drive a low shot wide of the far-post. Pinto-Nogueira had to make a fine tackle in his own box to deny the visitors a chance, but he was soon surging into the left of the area at the other end to strike a terrific shot that brought a superb tip-over save from Dill. Swans were immediately grateful to Dill’s opposite number Johnson for keeping them in the game with a tremendous double save. Johnson somehow managed to turn Martin’s close-in shot onto his left-post, and then reacted quickly to keep out Heravi’s follow-up. Tom Field then put a far-post header just over from the right-side corner. With five minutes of normal-time remaining Eddie M’Bango got past Swans’ substitute Mamadaliu Balde on the left, leading to a shot in the box being blocked. Swans had not given up on the cause however, and with stoppage-time looming Lim struck an excellent cross from the right, but Ghailan could not get enough on the ball on the edge of the 6 yard box and his glancing header went wide of the far-post. Dennis then made a run in on the left byline, but his cross was blocked. Deep into stoppage-time Martin almost settled it for the visitors, but his shot from the edge of the box curled just over the right, top corner of Johnson’s goal. With the fifth minute of added-on time being played there was one last chance for Swans to snatch a draw, and Lim was up to the task, finding space on the right before driving into the box and sending a low shot past Dill and into the far corner.
Swans’ Team: Jordan Johnson, Michael Winnister (Mamadaliu Balde 78’), Miguel Lopes de Matos, Munashe Mwatsiya, Sam Marfo, Hamzah Williams, Leon Lalor-Dell, Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Mo Ghailan, Tyreke Hollingsworth (Thomas Lim 78’), Simeon Dennis. Subs. not used: James Young, Sam Osei. Scorer: Lim (90+4’). Cautions: Winnister, foul (73’), Balde, foul (90+3’). Dismissal: Williams, denied goal-scoring opportunity (40’).
Tooting Bec Team: Dill, Lewis, Fernando, Martin, Stone, Thurbon (Field 66’), Parsons (Orris 72’), Ogunmade (Smith 66’), M’Bango, Heravi, Blenkinsop. Scorer: Blenkinsop (48’). Cautions: Ogunmade, Thurbon, Blenkinsop.