Saturday 8th February 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.
Walton & Hersham 0 Jersey Bulls 3.
It was pretty much a given that Swans needed to get off to a solid start if they were to be the first side to put a dent in the Channel Islands club’s 100% record, but their hopes took a big hit when they conceded after just two minutes. Those expectations were still alive at half-time however, as there had been little to choose between the two sides, and a single goal still separated them. But a second goal, conceded less than ten minutes after the resumption, followed by an extremely harsh penalty award just two minutes later, effectively ended their challenge. In for the early kick-off, Swans’ second biggest crowd of the season saw the home side get off to a disappointing start, as a simple long ball down the middle by Jonny Le Quesne split their defence, and Fraser Barlow was free to take the ball round their advancing goalkeeper, Bert White, and roll it home. Swans seemed hard-done-by to have a free-kick awarded against them out on the left touchline, but Jay Giles’ delivery was safely dealt with at the far-post. The visitors continued to dominate the early exchanges with their neat, controlled play, but it was a long clearing kick by keeper Euan Van de Vliet that almost set them up with another chance, but his opposite number White was quickly out to the edge of his box to claim the ball. Giles then swung in a left-side corner-kick, but a foul by Jersey in the box ended the threat. It was almost mid-way through the first-half before Swans made their first attack of note. Leon Lalor-Dell made a terrific run on the left, bursting past a couple of defenders before getting into the box and driving in a shot that Van de Vliet managed to get round his near-post. Jordan Simmons then laid a deep free-kick off to Emmanuel Yeboah, and he burst forward before sending a shot dipping over from 35 yards. The visitors immediately broke on the left through Karl Hinds, and when the ball was played into the near-post Sol Solomon got a touch to bring a fine save from White, and the loose ball was cleared away. With just under half an hour played Bulls’ Le Quesne was yellow carded for pulling back Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, and the Swans’ midfielder was soon striking a low shot from the edge of the box that was just wide of the right post. New signing Ola Williams, who had started his Swans’ debut well, played a long ball to send Tyreke Leslie down the right, but after beating Luke Campbell he was brought down by the Bulls’ defender, with surprisingly no free-kick being awarded. White had to be quickly out of his area to head clear and deny Barlow, who had threatened to get on the end of a long ball by Jersey. But the Swans’ keeper was almost caught out when Giles struck a left-foot shot from well-out, and the ball struck the crossbar. With the last five minutes of the half approaching Bulls went close again when Jules Gabbiadini drove the ball in low from the right, and Solomon was in the middle to get a touch to deflect it wide of the far-post. Giles’ cross from the right then picked out Barlow by the left corner of the 6 yard box, but he was forced to shoot wide of the near-post. Swans came out for the second-half still well in the game, and five minutes after the resumption Pinto-Nogueira and Lalor-Dell combined to get Leslie into the box, but he was just closed out. The visitors were soon getting in on the left however, and the ball had to be put behind for a corner at the near-post. A Bulls’ shot was then blocked, and when the ball came to Hinds outside the box White had to beat down his strike. But, nine minutes into the half, Le Quesne was allowed to get the ball in low from the right, and Solomon was left with a simple tap-in to make it 2-0. This left Swans with a mountain to climb, and that got steeper just two minutes later when Simmons was judged to have fouled Barlow in the box. Play had continued with no appeals from the visitors when the referee pointed to the spot for what seemed an extremely harsh penalty award. It was a double whammy for Swans, with Simmons being sin-binned for his protests, and Hinds finding the bottom, right corner with the kick. Williams headed wide at the far-post when Miguel Lopes de Matos sent in a free-kick from deep on the left as Swans tried to reduce the deficit, and just under twenty minutes into the half they thought they had added to The Bulls’ mean goals against tally of just seven. Some fine, determined play by Yeboah ended with him playing Simeon Dennis down the right. Dennis drove in a low shot that Van de Vliet could only push away, and Leslie followed in at the far-post to net, but he was judged to be offside. With 17 minutes of normal-time remaining Swans were guilty of giving the ball away, and Jersey’s substitute Zejko Martinovic got in a shot from just outside the box that struck the right-post, but the visitors were soon reduced to ten players. Kamen Nafkha had only just been booked, along with Swans’ Seb Osei-Obengo, for an off-the-ball altercation, when he kicked the ball away and was shown a second yellow card. Swans soon had a chance when Dennis took a free-kick from the right to pick out Sam Marfo in the left of the box, but his downward header lacked the power to beat Van de Vliet, who made a comfortable save. Another opportunity soon came when Yeboah played the ball through to Osei-Obengo in the left of the box, but he miskicked in trying to get in a first-time shot. Osei-Obengo got in a better strike when he made room after Leslie had laid the ball off to him outside the box, but Van de Vliet parried the ball on his line. There was one final opportunity when Dennis took a free-kick from the left, but Simmons’ far-post header was wide.
Swans’ Team: Bert White, Ola Williams, Miguel Lopes de Matos, Justin Hemmings, Jordan Simmons, Sam Marfo (Munashe Mwatsiya 75’), Simeon Dennis, Emmanuel Yeboah (Thomas Lim 83’), Tyreke Leslie, Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Leon Lalor-Dell (Seb Osei-Obengo 65’). Subs. not used: Michael Winnister, Alvin Sarmiento. Cautions: Lalor-Dell, Osei-Obengo, Mwatsiya. Sin-bin: Simmons (55’).
Jersey Team: Van de Vliet, Gabbiadini, Giles, Queree, Campbell, Nafkha, Barlow, Le Quesne (Martinovic 65’), Hinds, Trotter, Solomon (Griffin 71’). Subs. not used: Cardwell, Carpenter. Scorers: Barlow (2’), Solomon (54’), Hinds, penalty (56’). Cautions: Le Quesne (29’), Gabbiadini (58’). Dismissal: Nafkha, 2 cautions (70’ & 73’).