Eversley & California 1 Swans 2

Saturday 14th March 2020. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.

Eversley & California 1 Walton & Hersham 2.

In their last match before the minimum two week shutdown of fixtures due to the coronavirus, Swans moved back up to third in the table with their fifth win in a row. On their first visit to the Hampshire club they were given a tough examination, before completing the double over opponents who have picked up well recently after a poor first few months of the season. There were just over ten minutes remaining when substitute James Young scored their second goal to give them a deserved, hard-fought win. Young had come on to replace former Guildford City striker Kieran Campbell, who had signed 24 hours earlier. There was also a welcome return to the starting line-up for Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, whose dual-registered club, Royston Town, were without a fixture due to the Southern League programme being shut down. Home goalkeeper Liam Vaughan was busy inside the first minute, taking a driven-in ball from Miguel Lopes de Matos, who had been played into the left of the box. Swans continued a confident start, Thomas Lim’s low ball in from the right being cleared away after he had been played to the byline on the right by Pinto-Nogueira. A neat build-up then enabled Arif Hattabi to get in a shot from 25 yards that took a deflection to go behind for a corner on the left. Following the kick Swans went close to taking the lead when Hattabi crossed from the left, and Campbell was at the far-post to get in a volley that brought a good save from Vaughan, the ball going behind for another corner on the left. This time Jordan Simmons was in the right of the box to have a shot deflected over. Following the third successive corner Hattabi shot across the goal-face from the left. But it was the home side that was to take the lead against the run of play after ten minutes. The ball was played into the box on the left, but keeper Bert White let it slip when he came across to gather, and Paras Gill was able to gain possession and roll it towards an open goal, with Lopes de Matos just failing to clear off the goal-line. It only took Swans a minute to equalise however after they were awarded a free-kick five yards outside the box on the left. Hattabi drove in the kick, and the ball took a big deflection before finding the bottom, right corner. It took a good save from White to prevent the home side from soon regaining the lead when Ross McKernan got down the right to set up Josh Smith for a shot from the left of the box. Chris Robson drove a free-kick into the box that went wide of Swans’ far-post from deep on the right, the same player then sending a high cross from the right dipping over the goal. Midway through the half Munashe Mwatsiya’s long diagonal ball from deep on the right sent Tyreke Leslie surging into the home box on the left, but keeper Vaughan was quickly out to deny him. Leslie then just failed to get on the end of Hamzah Williams’s low ball across goal after Mwatsiya had got him to the byline on the right. A neat build-up led to Leslie and Pinto-Nogueira combining on the left for the latter’s cross to the far-post to be just too high to find the head of Lim. Pinto-Nogueira then cleverly got past Robson on the left to again get in a cross to the far-post, the ball just being cleared away. The home side sent a shot over from 25 yards before Hattabi sent Leslie into their box on the left, and he turned to get in a good strike that Vaughan did well to push wide of the left-post. A free-kick awarded just outside Swans’ box gave the home side a chance to restore their lead, but Gill drove the ball wide of the right-post. With just under ten minutes of the half remaining Hattabi cleverly nutmegged Phillip Veal in the left of the box to play the ball in low to Leslie, who was just closed out. Lopes de Matos then forced a corner after Ola Willams’s free-kick from deep had got him into the box on the left. There were a couple of attempts on Swans’ goal as the first-half entered the final five minutes. Gill shot wide of the near-post after a long ball had found him in space on the right, and Smith was also wide from outside the box when Dale Small sent in a free-kick from the centre-circle. Swans made a good start to the second-half, and had a great chance to take the lead just over ten minutes in. White’s long clearance sent Leslie bursting down the left and into the box, but after setting himself his shot was just blocked by Vaughan. The home keeper then just managed to prevent Leslie from scoring from close-in when Hattabi crossed from the right. Leon Lalor-Dell had replaced Lim early in the second-half for Swans, and he made a good run into the right of the box to get in a low cross, the ball coming out to Hattabi, whose shot took a deflection to go just wide. Hattabi then got in on the left to the corner of the 6 yard box, and was unfortunate to find Vaughan well-placed at the near-post to keep out his shot. White got well behind a good shot from outside the left edge of the box from the home side’s Gill, but Swans should have taken the lead with just under twenty minutes remaining. Lopes de Matos’s fine ball down the left sent Leslie racing clear and into the box. He chose to lay the ball low across to Lalor-Dell in front of an open goal, but he somehow cleared the crossbar from just a couple of yards out. Lalor-Dell was then played through on goal following a great piece of build-up play, but was ruled offside by what looked a poor decision. The home side had an opportunity with a free-kick 30 yards out, but McKernan’s effort was well over. Lalor-Dell also shot over for Swans after Hattabi had got him down the right to cut into the box and open up a chance. But, with just under ten minutes of normal-time remaining, Swans took the lead. Lopes de Matos swung in a terrific free-kick from the right, and Young beat Vaughan with a header in-off the far-post. The win was almost snatched away in the final minute when the home side broke on the right to drive the ball low into the 6 yard box, but a close-in shot was superbly kept out by White. But it was Swans who could have stretched their lead in stoppage-time. A terrific shot from 35 yards out by substitute Alvin Sarmiento was just kept out from under his crossbar by Vaughan. Young was then played into the left of the box by Pinto-Nogueira, but after opening up the chance his shot was blocked by the keeper.

Swans’ Team: Bert White, Hamzah Williams, Miguel Lopes de Matos, Munashe Mwatsiya (Alvin Sarmiento 79’), Jordan Simmons, Ola Williams, Thomas Lim (Leon Lalor-Dell 52’), Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Kieran Campbell (James Young 71’), Arif Hattabi, Tyreke Leslie. Subs. not used: Michael Winnister, Troy Silvera. Scorers: Hattabi (11’), Young (79’). Caution: Pinto-Nogueira, foul (31’).

E & C Team: Vaughan, C. Robson (Knight 60’), Drury, Small (Kittlesen 85’), Griggs, Moriarty, Josh Smith, Veal, Edwin, Gill (K. Francis 75’), McKernan. Subs. not used: Clarke, Tayo-Walker. Scorer: Gill (10’). Cautions: Veal, did not retire (67’), Kittlesen, foul (90’).