Saturday 4th January 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.
Bedfont & Feltham 2 Walton & Hersham 0.
Swans got back into action after an enforced lay-off of three weeks, but could not prevent the second-placed home side, who were on an eight match unbeaten run, from completing a double over them. That run for Bedfont & Feltham had started with their win at Walton in mid-November, while conversely Swans have now not had a league victory since, stretching their own winless sequence to five. Although they have games in hand of most of the clubs above them, they need to get back to winning ways quickly if they are not to lose touch with the top four. They started this match brightly, but fell away as the first-half progressed, and were fortunate to go in at the break only trailing to a single goal conceded in the final minute. They were much improved in the second-half however, and created enough good chances to have possibly gone on and won the match, but they were denied by some lax finishing and their former player Kavanagh Keadell, who was inspired in the home goal. The task had been made harder when Bedfont & Feltham had doubled their lead against the run of play with a quarter of the game remaining. Problems had started for Swans before the match, with half a dozen first-choice players not available for selection. These included influential midfielders Parish Muirhead and Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, who joined Justin Hemmings on the injured list. Hemmings is still not ready to return following a hamstring injury, and with Hamzah Williams serving a one-match ban, Swans were left short of central defenders. Michael Winnister and Simeon Dennis were also both unavailable due to personal commitments. Sixteen year-old Ange Djadja from Swans’ U18s was given his debut at right-back, while Alvin Sarmiento and Seb Osei-Obengo were both available again following suspensions. Jordan Simmons was also recalled, while Arif Hattabi played his first match since mid-October following a spell at Staines Town. Swans started brightly, and straight from the off Tyreke Leslie found space to run into on the right, but his cross was cleared away at the far-post. Osei-Obengo’s cross from the left then took a deflection, and the ball went behind for a corner. Leslie made another run that took him to the byline on the right, but an excellent cross failed to find a teammate in the box. But it was the home side that had the best chance to open the scoring after seven minutes when Jae Kelly got free on the right to cross to the far-post, where Michael Capon was unmarked, but he put a close-in header wide. Another chance quickly came when former Swan Ross Nunn crossed from the left of the box to Kelly, free on the right, but he drove his shot over. Swans soon had an opportunity when Hattabi’s good ball found Leslie on the right, but after driving into the box he struck a low shot wide of the far-post. Miguel Lopes de Matos then got forward down the left, and when the ball came back to Osei-Obengo by the corner of the box he drove in a low shot that Keadell got well behind. Swans’ keeper Jordan Johnson was soon having dash out and punch clear as Kelvin Karanja broke down the middle for the home side. The former Swan was injured in the coming together, and there was a lengthy hold-up as he received treatment before eventually being substituted. With just under twenty minutes played Osei-Obengo was unlucky not to put Swans ahead when he turned 25 yards out, before striking a terrific right-foot shot that dipped just wide of the right post. The dangerous Kelly was left unchallenged to make a good run forward for the home side that took him to five yards outside the box, but Johnson got behind his shot. This triggered a dominant spell for Bedfont & Feltham that Swans were fortunate to come through unscathed. Capon was found free on the left to get in a cross that failed to find a teammate, and the same player then got into the left of the box to drive in a shot that Johnson blocked behind for a corner. There were claims for a penalty rejected when Kelly went down in the right of the box, and the same player forced a good block from Johnson with a low shot after Nunn had picked him out in space on the right. Swans had struggled to keep possession, but there was a brief respite when Munashe Mwatsiya’s good ball got Leslie through to the byline on the right, but his low cross went unchallenged across the goal-face. But it was the home side that continued to dominate, and Tom Betts drove a shot wide of the left post when the ball was played back to him 22 yards out. The ball then had to be scrambled clear when Jamie Pearce sent a long throw into the box from the left. As the half entered the final five minutes Swans had a rare opportunity when Mo Ghailan was fouled ten yards outside the box by Gilmar Rodriguez, who was injured and had to be substituted. Osei-Obengo eventually took the free-kick, but sent the ball dipping over the goal. Swans had begun to look like they could see out the half on level terms, giving them the opportunity to regroup during the break, but they conceded in the final minute of normal-time. Kelly had been a constant threat for Bedfont & Feltham, not only in this match, but also in the previous encounter at Walton, and Swans were guilty of letting him being found in yards of space on the right by Nunn. Johnson came out to try to close him down, but Kelly rolled the ball past him, and Sam Marfo just failed to get back and prevent it finding the goal. Things could have got worse for Swans straight from the restart as Capon got free on the right, but his shot could only find the side-netting. Then, in stoppage-time, Elliott Hayden sent in a free-kick from his own half to find Nunn, who got in a shot that brought a good tip-over save from Johnson. Swans replaced Djadja with Leon Lalor-Dell for the second-half, and he made his presence felt straight from the resumption. Leslie played him to the byline on the left, and his cross forced the home side to head the ball over their own goal for a corner. Swans continued to press, and Leslie was just closed out after beating Kelly to cut in on the left byline. Leslie was immediately being set up for a clear chance in the right of the box, but keeper Keadell made a fine block. Lalor-Dell then burst through into the box, but was just denied by Ashley Hitchinson. Swans had made a strong opening ten minutes of the half, and when Sarmiento sent a free-kick into the box, Osei-Obengo sent a volley over when the ball came to him 25 yards out. But they were almost undone when Capon just failed to turn the ball in when Kelly drove it in from the right. Just past the hour Swans had a great chance to equalise when Lopes de Matos made a run on the left to get the ball over to the far-post and pick out Osei-Obengo, but his diving header was just wide. Ghailan then glanced a header wide when Leslie crossed from the left. Swans had failed to make their second-half dominance pay, and after 66 minutes they were punished as the home side doubled their lead. Betts took a corner from the left, and when the ball was flicked-on Capon was unmarked at the far-post to nod home from almost on the goal-line. Swans soon had a great chance to get back into the game when Lalor-Dell was sent clear down the middle, but after getting into the box he failed to beat Keadell, who made a fine block. Leslie then beat Hayden in the left of the box to get in a shot, but Keadell made another fine save to turn the ball behind for a corner. From Lalor-Dell’s kick on the left Leslie put a header over. With just under a quarter of an hour remaining Ghailan found substitute Dan Pinto in the right of the box, but after cutting inside his shot was blocked. Lalor-Dell then sent a free-kick from 30 yards out wide of the goal. Swans continued to press for a goal, and when Ghailan found Leslie on the right his shot was again blocked away. The ball fell to Pinto outside the box, but his first-time shot was wild and well off-target. Thomas Lim replaced Leslie, and Hattabi soon found him in space on the right, but his cross went disappointingly over the goal. Swans were almost caught out with just over five minutes remaining when Kelly was found in acres of space on the right, but he sent the ball low, and unchallenged, across the box. Lim was found in the right of the box by Hattabi, but the ball was blocked behind for a corner. The home side broke clear through Kelly, but Lopes de Matos did superbly to track back and make the tackle before bringing the ball clear. Swans probably realised it was not to be their day, as in the final minute of normal-time Pinto crossed from the right to pick out Lim close-in at the far-post, but Keadell pulled off a superb, instinctive save to keep out a first-time shot.
Swans’ Team: Jordan Johnson, Ange Djadja (Leon Lalor-Dell 45’), Miguel Lopes de Matos, Alvin Sarmiento, Jordan Simmons, Sam Marfo, Tyreke Leslie (Thomas Lim 80’), Munashe Mwatsiya, Seb Osei-Obengo (Daniel Pinto 70’), Arif Hattabi, Mo Ghailan. Subs. not used: Stanley Channell, Jordan Junor. Cautions: Marfo (67’), Sarmiento (88’).
Bedfont & Feltham Team: Keadell, Rodriguez (Msamala 42’), Nutbeam, Kibreab (Bond 75’), Hayden, Pearce, Karanja (Betts 23’), Hitchinson, Capon, R. Nunn, Kelly. Subs. not used: Lewis, Hardy. Scorers: Kelly (44’), Capon (66’). Cautions: Kelly (56’), Msamala (84’).