Saturday 1st February 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.
Fleet Spurs 4 Walton & Hersham 0.
Swans will want to put this poor performance, which probably ranks as their worst of the season, quickly behind them as they were leapfrogged in the table by their opponents. On a dreadfully bobbly surface, and in a blustery wind, they failed to adapt their technical, close-passing game to the conditions and paid the price. Credit must be given to the home side however, who utilise a direct, no-nonsense style of play more suited to their pitch. Swans never really settled, and barely managed to build-up any constructive moves, with their normal quick, incisive forward runs snuffed out at source. It was a difficult return in goal for Jordan Johnson, who was subjected to some hefty challenges that were seemingly deemed as legitimate, and after being at fault for Fleet’s third goal the keeper had to be replaced by central defender Sam Marfo with a quarter of the game left. As well as Johnson returning Swans had to make other changes to their starting line-up, and two new signings were introduced. Taiwo Ojo has joined after being released by Yeovil Town, for whom he made several Football League appearances, while Emmanuel Yeboah is a short-term dual-registration signing from Lewes. In an overall disjointed performance by Swans, neither were really able to show their qualities, and whether they will be valuable additions to the squad. Swans were pinned in their own-half from the start, unable to get the ball up to their forward players, but they finally managed to get a move going that forced a corner after seven minutes. From the kick on the left Hamzah Williams was just denied in front of goal. Andre Smith got free on the left for Fleet, but shot well over the goal. The dangers were there for Swans however, and Johnson twice had to beat shots down at his near-post when firstly Adam Bellmaine, and then Smith got in on the left. Swans had not settled at all, and they went behind after 19 minutes. The home side got free on the right, and when the ball was driven across Adam Bellmaine was unmarked in front of goal for a simple tap-in. Johnson did well to claim the ball as a corner was taken from the right, and Fleet’s Oliver McAleese picked up the first booking of the match as he blocked off the Swans’ keeper. The home side then put a good chance over after they had broken on the right to lay the ball inside. It was 26 minutes before Swans made an incisive forward run through Leon Lalor-Dell, who freed Munashe Mwatsiya on the right, but his cross went disappointingly behind. Fleet doubled their lead just past the half-hour. Mwatsiya was exposed two on one, and he could not prevent Smith playing the ball to Adam Bellmaine unmarked to his left, and the finish was again a simple one. Swans put together an all too rare attack and Tyreke Leslie won a corner on the left, but Anderson Pinto-Nogueira’s kick was comfortably cut-out by home keeper Mark Appleby. Ojo then broke on the left and was brought down outside the edge of the box, but Yeboah’s free-kick was cleared away. Pinto-Nogueira followed up in the left of the box, but again the ball was cleared. However Swans were twice fortunate not to go further behind before the break. Adam Bellmaine put a good chance wide, and the same player was denied his hat-trick when he put the ball in after Johnson could only push away a low shot from Smith, but he was judged offside. Swans came out looking more incisive for the second-half, and Mwatsiya was soon getting through on the right before finding Pinto-Nogueira, who sent a fine left-foot shot dipping just over the far, top corner from the right corner of the box. Their best move of the match then gave Seb Osei-Obengo a chance inside the box, but his shot was blocked, and a corner was won on the right. Leslie then made a good run on the right, and Osei-Obengo was just denied as the cross came in. Kay Hampson picked up Fleet’s second booking for a foul just outside the left corner of the box, giving Swans a free-kick opportunity, but Osei-Obengo’s effort was not well-struck and keeper Appleby made a comfortable save at his near-post. Swans continued to have their best spell of the match, and Miguel Lopes de Matos clipped the ball through to Osei-Obengo in the left of the box, but his first-time shot was wide of the near-post. But just as it looked as if Swans could force their way back into the match they gave away a soft goal just past the hour. A high cross came in from the right, and Johnson unfortunately let the ball slip from his grasp at the far-post, leaving Smith with a routine tap-in. Swans tried to hit back, and Pinto-Nogueira did well on the left before driving in a cross that Appleby just prevented from going under his crossbar as he tipped the ball over the far, top corner. But at the other end Smith got free on the right to find Adam Bellmaine on the edge of the box, and he was again denied his third goal as his low shot struck the right post. It was decided Johnson could not continue in goal for Swans, and he was replaced by Marfo, for his third emergency stand-in between the posts of the season. A double substitution was made, with Michael Winnister coming on, along with Justin Hemmings. Swans immediately had a chance when Lalor-Dell’s cross from the right picked out Ojo in space at the far-post, but he could not direct his header past keeper Appleby. Yeboah then did well to make an opening 30 yards out, but his shot cleared the bar. Fleet’s substitute Naman Nasir drove a shot just wide of the left post from 35 yards, before Ojo did well on the left for Swans to set up Lopes de Matos for a cross into the box and Lalor-Dell to have a shot blocked. But, with just under ten minutes of normal-time remaining, Marfo dashed out of his area to try to close down Adam Bellmaine out by the left touchline, but failed to win the ball. The Fleet striker was able to roll the ball towards an empty net and into the far corner to make it 4-0 and seal his own personal hat-trick. It could have got worse for Swans, but Smith headed wide from a left-side cross. As the match entered the final five minutes Swans at last got some joy down the flanks, with substitute Thomas Lim making two fine runs down the right. Mwatsiya had the last attempt on the home goal, but his shot from 35 yards was straight at keeper Appleby.
Swans’ Team: Jordan Johnson (Michael Winnister 67’), Munashe Mwatsiya, Miguel Lopes de Matos (Thomas Lim 79’), Emmanuel Yeboah, Sam Marfo, Hamzah Williams, Leon Lalor-Dell, Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Seb Osei-Obengo (Justin Hemmings 67’), Tyreke Leslie, Taiwo Ojo. Sub. not used: Stanley Channell. Caution: Lopes de Matos (71’).
Fleet Team: Appleby, Parrott, Noble, Hampson, Burchett, Hayler, McAleese (Nasir 61’), Scott, J. Bellmaine, A. Bellmaine (Ward 84’), Smith. Subs. not used: Ludlow, Cleevely, Tanner. Scorers: A. Bellmaine (19’, 31’ & 81’), Smith (61’). Cautions: McAleese (21’), Hampson (53’), Parrott (87’).