Swans 1 Bagshot 0

Saturday 29th February 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.

Walton & Hersham 1 Bagshot 0.

Swans registered their first clean sheet in the league for fifteen matches, and it came at an opportune time, to give them a valuable three points by the narrowest of margins. With a gusty wind that fluctuated in intensity in their favour in the first-half, it would have been hoped to have taken more than a single goal lead into the break, but it was to prove enough. A penalty award could have given them a two goal buffer to take into the second-half, but not for the first time this season they failed to convert from the spot. Since Swans’ convincing away win in the Division One Cup back in October a change in team management and squad had given their opponents a lift and a run of good results that had led them to a mid-table spot, so they posed a much stiffer challenge. Swans still lacked the services of the suspended Leon Lalor-Dell and Hamzah Williams, and also had to get by without their influential midfielder Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, who had decided to move up the pyramid to Southern League Premier promotion contenders and FA Trophy quarter-finalists Royston Town. Swans made a confident start, and although the visitors’ first attack yielded two corners in succession, should have taken the lead after nine minutes. Simeon Dennis sent Tyreke Leslie down the right, and when he laid the ball across Emmanuel Yeboah had a good sight of goal, but drove well over from just inside the box. It only took another minute however for Swans to go ahead. Miguel Lopes de Matos played the ball in to Dennis from the left, and he made a clever run across the box before finding Alvin Sarmiento at the far-post. Although his first effort hit the post, he was able to follow up and force the ball just over the line. Munashe Mwatsiya’s long diagonal pass found Lopes de Matos on the left, and when he got to the byline to play the ball low across Leslie just failed to capitalise, and Bagshot’s Luke Edmondson was able to get it clear. The visitors had an opportunity with a free-kick out by the left touchline, and the ball had to be put behind for a corner when Aaron Ross delivered it in. Kenan Muganda then stole the ball from Justin Hemmings in midfield, but after getting clear shot wide from outside the box. Swans soon had a chance to double their lead with a quarter of the game played when they took a corner from the left and the ball was judged to have struck the arm of Bagshot’s Dan Jewell in the right of the box. The visitors were probably justified in thinking the award of a penalty somewhat harsh, but their goalkeeper Lee Allen did well to dive to his left and keep out Dennis’s kick. Allen then did well to cut out a free-kick swung in on the wind from the right touchline by Lopes de Matos. Play then carried on for a while in wind driven sleet that turned quickly to hailstones, and Bagshot’s Ross got in a shot from the right corner of the box that Swans’ keeper Bert White got well behind on his line. Sarmiento sent the ball swirling in high from the right for Swans for Lopes de Matos to nod down at the back-post to Leslie, whose clever back-heel attempt was cleared off the goal-line. With five minutes left of the half Bagshot won a corner on the left, and from Ross’s kick Jewell was found in the right of the box, but he drove the ball over the goal. The visitors then took a free-kick quickly that allowed Muganda to drive the ball in low from the right, but Ola Williams was there to tidy up. With the first-half entering stoppage-time Edward Cardona got through Swans’ back-line to get in a shot that took a slight deflection to go over the bar. Following Ross’s corner from the right Bagshot appealed for handball against Jordan Simmons, but the referee’s whistle was only to signal the end of the half. Edmondson’s continued protests earned him a visit to the sin-bin, which meant he would sit-out the opening ten minutes of the second-half. Straight from the resumption Leslie had a chance to double Swans’ lead when he was played into the left of the box, but he shot wide. With the wind still gusting, a Swans’ attempt to clear their lines only sent the ball swirling back towards their own goal, and when it fell to Bagshot’s Elliott Cardona on the left edge of the box he volleyed it wide. Ten minutes into the second-half Swans brought on Seb-Osei Obengo and Gonçalo Freitas for Dennis and Yeboah, at the same time the visitors regaining full-strength, with Edmondson coming back on. Sarmiento’s diagonal ball was soon sending Lopes de Matos on a run down the left, but his cross went across goal and wide of the far-post. Just past the hour Bagshot’s Jewell utilised the wind by sending a free-kick from halfway into Swans’ box, and when the ball came out to Aaron Stuart he got in a shot that brought a save from White. White’s opposite number Allen then had to be quickly out to deny Leslie, who had been played into the right of the box by Osei-Obengo. Jewell again had the opportunity to take a free-kick for Bagshot, this time in a promising position 35 yards from goal, but he sent the ball both high and wide. With just under twenty minutes remaining some fine play for Swans in the left of the box by the 17 year-old Freitas led to him setting up Mwatsiya, but he sent a low shot just wide of the far-post. Muganda was immediately breaking clear on the right for Bagshot to drive the ball in low and White to save on his line. Leslie was then judged offside just inside the Bagshot half as he was played clear down the middle. With Jewell determined to take the resultant free-kick from an obviously incorrect position inside Swans’ half, and the referee seemingly disinclined to prevent him from doing so, Osei-Obengo voiced his protests in length. Osei-Obengo was eventually cautioned, although why it was not a sin-bin offence remains unclear, a decision that was to come back and bite the Swans’ striker late in the game. Leslie soon had a chance to make the final quarter of an hour easier for Swans, but after getting clear into the left of the box, the usually clinical finisher shot wide of the far-post. Leslie was soon again bursting into the box on the left, but this time keeper Allen was quickly out to gather at his feet. With two minutes of normal-time remaining Williams got forward before playing Osei-Obengo down the right, and he was brought down just outside the edge of the box by Sam Hanger. Having already been booked in the first-half the Bagshot player was sent-off for a second yellow card offence. Numerical parity was soon restored two minutes into stoppage-time however. With Swans trying to keep the ball close to the right corner of the pitch they conceded a free-kick, and Osei-Obengo was shown his second yellow card of the match and sent-off, presumably for delaying the kick from being taken. Swans appeared to have done enough however to protect their slender lead and see the match out, unaware they would be facing an astonishing twelve plus minutes of added-on time. That time could have been made easier when Leslie beat Jewell to get clear in on the left, but he could not beat keeper Allen. Thomas Lim, on for Sarmiento, then had a shot from the right deflected for a corner, and this was quickly followed by a scare for his side when Bagshot’s substitute Brad Timpson volleyed wide from the right corner of the box. With the match entering the thirteenth minute of stoppage-time Leslie had the final chance to clinch the points for Swans when he was sent clear, but the Division’s new top scorer again failed to add to his twenty league goals as Allen got behind his shot.

Swans’ Team: Bert White, Michael Winnister, Miguel Lopes de Matos, Justin Hemmings, Jordan Simmons, Ola Williams, Alvin Sarmiento (Thomas Lim 69’), Munashe Mwatsiya, Tyreke Leslie, Emmanuel Yeboah (Gonçalo Freitas 55’), Simeon Dennis (Seb Osei-Obengo 55’). Subs. not used: Sam Marfo, James Young. Scorer: Sarmiento (10’). Caution: O. Williams, time-wasting (90+12’). Dismissal: Osei-Obengo, 2 cautions (73’ & 90+2’).

Bagshot Team: Allen, Selby, Elliott Cardona, Hanger, Ranger (Timpson 75’), Jewell (Cox 90+8’), Ross, L. Edmondson, Muganda, Stuart, Edward Cardona. Subs. not used: S. Edmondson, D. Wickens. Sin-bin: L. Edmondson (45+1’). Dismissal: Hanger, 2 cautions (18’ & 88’).

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