Tuesday 7th January 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.
Chessington & Hook United 3 Walton & Hersham 4.
Swans registered a much-needed win, but they made hard work in overcoming a physical home side that they should have beaten comfortably. After spurning a number of gilt-edged chances that should have put them out of sight, they were left hanging on for the win. The result duplicates the 4-3 win over Westside when Swans last visited Chalky Lane back in September, and with two defeats by that same score-line in recent matches the indications are clear that while they have few difficulties scoring goals, not conceding them is a recurring problem they need to quickly solve. It was certainly an offensive line-up that started the match, with Thomas Lim, Simeon Dennis and Leon Lalor-Dell all coming in, but influential midfielders Anderson Pinto-Nogueira and Parish Muirhead were still not fit to return. Swans went close to taking the lead three times inside the opening six minutes. Dennis and Alvin Sarmiento worked a short corner on the left, and when Lalor-Dell was set up on the edge of the box he drove a low, left-foot shot just wide. Seb Osei-Osengo will then be disappointed not to have taken two great chances from the edge of the 6 yard box. He drove a shot wide after Tyreke Leslie had done well to get to the left byline and pick him out. He then put another chance over the bar when Dennis sent Lim away on a run down the right to play the ball low across. Osei-Obengo had a more difficult chance when Lalor-Dell played him into the right of the box, and he shot wide of the near-post. Lalor-Dell was soon getting in a good strike from 30 yards that just cleared the crossbar. There was a warning for Swans just before the quarter of an hour when the home side broke, and Cameron Peters drove a shot wide from outside the box. Sarmiento was rather surprisingly the first player to be shown a yellow card after Chessington & Hook had given away a succession of free-kicks with some pretty hefty challenges in the opening exchanges, and it was the home side that took the lead totally against the run of play after 18 minutes. Former Swan Danny Green struck a low shot from 25 yards that did not look particularly threatening, but the ball crept just inside the right post. Saheed Sanko then became the first home player to be booked for a particularly crude tackle on Dennis. Swans equalised after 27 minutes with a fine goal. A clever overhead kick by Osei-Obengo sent Leslie down the left, and after getting to the byline he cut the ball back onto his right foot before slipping it past home goalkeeper Joshua Woodcock and into the far corner from the acutest of angles. Leslie soon had a chance to give Swans the lead when a neat flick by Osei-Obengo played him into the left of the box, but his shot was blocked for a corner at the near-post by Woodcock. The second of two successive corners taken from the left by Dennis found Jordan Simmons in space at the far-post, but he could only find the side-netting. Sam Marfo’s long ball down the middle sent Osei-Obengo through, but before he could bring the ball under control Woodcock came out to block. Despite their dominance Swans were given another warning when Chessington & Hook were allowed to get in a shot from the edge of the box, and it took a fine save from their keeper Jordan Johnson to get the ball round his right post. As the half entered the final five minutes Lim did well on the right to play Leslie into the right of the box, but he drove a left-foot shot over. Then, in the final minute of normal-time, Swans fell behind for the second-time in somewhat unfortunate fashion. They struggled to clear the ball in their box, and when a shot came in it was judged to have struck an arm. A penalty was awarded that Peters duly converted. Swans avoided going in at the break behind with a terrific goal in first-half stoppage-time. They played another short corner on the right, and when Lalor-Dell was found by the right corner of the box he struck a superb, left-foot shot into the far, top corner. Swans were almost caught out early in the second-half when the home side were allowed to get in a cross from the left, and it took a good save from Johnson to push the ball round his left-post when Peters drove in a low shot from the edge of the box. But two goals in the space of four minutes put Swans in a commanding position. After 52 minutes Kane Sergeant’s tackle that earned the home player a booking gave Swans a free-kick just outside the right edge of the box. Miguel Lopes de Matos swung the ball in with his left-foot, and it looked like going over the far, top corner until it dipped at the last moment to go in-off the top of the far-post. It was almost 4-2 when Lim dispossessed keeper Woodcock in the left of the box, but the ball was scrambled behind for a corner. Following the kick on the left, Osei-Obengo drove a shot into the far-corner from the left of the box to give Swans a two goal lead. It should have been 5-2 with just over an hour played when Lalor-Dell crossed from the right for Leslie to knock the ball down to Osei-Obengo in front of goal and just a couple of yards out, but he drove it over the bar. Swans were almost punished for the miss when the home side got in on the left and Johnson had to put the ball round his near-post. Following the corner a shot had to be blocked. Swans continued to create openings however, and Osei-Obengo was just closed out and forced a corner when Munashe Mwatsiya played him into the right of the box. But they were fortunate when Chessington & Hook’s Louis Chin crossed high from the right, and with Johnson beaten the ball struck the far-post. Another great chance to give Swans a three goal cushion came and went with seven minutes of normal-time remaining. Lalor-Dell made a fine run on the right to get to the byline and play the ball low across to Dennis, unmarked in front of goal, but he somehow drove the ball over the bar. In a game they should have won by some margin it suddenly became very tight for Swans with three minutes of normal-time remaining. The home side were awarded a free-kick 35 yards out, and when Dylan Merchant struck the ball low, it was somehow allowed to beat Johnson just inside his right post. As the match entered stoppage-time Leslie almost made it safe for Swans with a low shot from the left corner of the box that Woodcock did well to get round his far-post. Swans tried to see the game out by keeping the ball by the right corner flag, but there was still enough time left for the home side to go seeking an equaliser. The final whistle was then greeted with a degree of relief by a Swans’ side at the end of a match they should have won comfortably.
Swans’ Team: Jordan Johnson, Alvin Sarmiento (Michael Winnister 71’), Miguel Lopes de Matos, Munashe Mwatsiya, Jordan Simmons, Sam Marfo, Thomas Lim (Hamzah Williams 60’), Simeon Dennis, Seb Osei-Obengo (Mo Ghailan 78’), Leon Lalor-Dell, Tyreke Leslie. Subs. not used: Daniel Pinto, Stanley Channell. Scorers: Leslie (27’), Lalor-Dell (45+2’), Lopes de Matos (52’), Osei-Obengo (56’). Cautions: Sarmiento, (17’), Mwatsiya, foul (75’).
Chessington & Hook Team: Woodcock, Watts (Black 71’), Upton, Sanko, Morally, Merchant, Green (Ogbanufe 60’), Adeosun, Peters, Burns (Chin 60’), Sergeant. Subs. not used: Thorne, Kerbey. Scorers: Green (18’), Peters, penalty (44’), Merchant (87’). Cautions: Sanko, foul (22’), Morally, foul (42’), Sergeant, foul (51’).