Cove 0 Swans 2

Tuesday 3rd March 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.

Cove 0 Walton & Hersham 2.  

Swans moved up to fourth place in the table after completing a double over the Hampshire side in a match rearranged after the original abandonment in August. They also kept their second clean sheet in a row, something they had not previously achieved all season. The win was achieved without either of their leading scorers, Tyreke Leslie and Seb Osei-Obengo, starting the game, but Simeon Dennis stepped up to the plate with the two goals and a man-of-match performance. Swans were forced into several changes, and only six players started on the evening that had begun the 8-2 win over Cove in January. Leslie was injured, while Osei-Obengo’s late arrival at the ground meant he could only take a place on the substitute’s bench, with James Young coming into the side. Hamzah Williams however was able to return after suspension to bolster the midfield. There was a tentative opening by both sides, and it was Cove who had the first shot on target after nine minutes when Lucas Pickett got in a good strike from 25 yards that goalkeeper Bert White, who has happily extended his work-experience loan at Swans by another month, beat down on his line. Swans’ first attempt came just past the quarter of an hour when Miguel Lopes de Matos picked out Alvin Sarmiento on the right with a good diagonal ball from the left, and he got into the box to drive a left-foot shot over. Sarmiento then knocked the ball back to Sam Marfo 40 yards out to strike a first-time, low shot wide of the left post. With 25 minutes on the watch Dennis played the ball through to Sarmiento in the right of the box, but home keeper Craig Atkinson was quickly out to save at his feet. Cove’s Lloyd Snell was soon finding space on the left to shoot low wide of the far-post. Few real chances had been created by either side, but after 38 minutes Cove’s Louie Chambers forced White to dive to his left and put the ball round the post with a good strike from 35 yards. This led to three successive corners on the right, the third of which was driven in and led to the ball being put wide at the far-post. White then just managed to push the ball away when Adam Alliston drove it in low from the right. But Swans finished the half strongly. Sarmiento drove over from 35 yards when Dennis laid the ball back to him, and Young got through into the box and almost got past keeper Atkinson and a defender, but was just closed out. Lopes de Matos then had a free-kick into the box cleared away. Swans only took two minutes after the resumption to take the lead. Ola Williams picked out Dennis on the left, and he got forward and into the box before striking a left-foot shot that took a deflection off a defender on its way into the net. Young was soon forcing Atkinson into a fine save with a strong shot. Marfo again tried his luck from distance with a shot that went over, before Osei-Obengo came on to replace Young. Jordan Simmons’ diagonal ball found Dennis on the left, and he got forward before playing the ball inside to Hamzah Williams in the box, but after making room his shot was blocked. But with an hour played Swans doubled their led. A ball down the middle was superbly helped on by Osei-Obengo’s back-heel flick to Dennis on the left, and after working his way into the box he shot past Atkinson. With just under twenty minutes remaining White did well to tip the ball away when Cove took a corner from the left, but Dennis was soon driving a shot over from the edge of the box at the other end. With the final five minutes approaching Dennis was again found on the left with a diagonal ball from Marfo. Dennis played the ball across to Gonçalo Freitas on the edge of the box, and the young midfielder, who had replaced Hamzah Williams, saw his shot blocked, and his first-time, follow-up effort fly just wide . Cove had an opportunity with a free-kick on the left, but when Aaron Parfitt sent the ball into the box it was put wide at the far-post. In the final minute of normal-time Osei-Obengo was played down the middle, and was clearly pulled back by Max Elward after getting past the Cove central defender. The referee however saw no offence and played on, with Elward, already on a yellow card, escaping any form of sanction. Swans sought to increase their lead in stoppage-time, and Osei-Obengo drove a first-time shot into the side-netting after being found in space on the left. Having faced thirteen minutes of added-on time the previous Saturday, there were an extra eight minutes on the referee’s watch for Swans to see out in this match. This gave Cove a final opportunity with a free-kick just outside the box on the left, but the only outcome for the home side was to see Elward finally sent-off before the kick was taken, presumably for speaking out of turn.

Swans’ Team: Bert White, Michael Winnister (Thomas Lim 65’), Miguel Lopes de Matos, Sam Marfo, Jordan Simmons, Ola Williams, Alvin Sarmiento, Hamzah Williams (Gonçalo Freitas 73’), James Young (Seb Osei-Obengo 56’), Munashe Mwatsiya, Simeon Dennis. Subs. not used: Mamadaliu Balde, Hugo Freitas. Scorer: Dennis (47’ & 60’). Cautions: Winnister, O. Williams.

Cove Team: Atkinson, Parfitt, Alliston, Clarke, Elward, Chambers, Cox (Bradbury 62’), Pickett, Rodgers (Parry 70’), Price (Gurney 76’), Snell. Sub. not used: J. Jupp. Caution: Rodgers. Dismissal: Elward, 2 cautions (9’ & 90+7’).