Tuesday 19 December 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 1 AFC Hayes 1.
Swans will have been hoping to pick up maximum points from three successive home games to consolidate a top three position, but they had to settle for a second draw in a row, to make it just five points gained out of a possible nine. They again started well, having good spells of possession with some excellent build-up play, but too often the moves broke down in the last third, or the final pass was lacking. When chances were created they failed to take them to add to the advantage of an early goal. The visitors were then allowed to come more into the game, building in confidence, and it was no surprise when they equalised with just over twenty minutes remaining. Their play certainly belied their position of 16th in the table, although they did have 2 to 3 games in hand on the teams around them.
Swans started with them giving the ball away in midfield, allowing Harry Carter to get forward for AFC Hayes, but he shot over from just outside the box.
Julian Hornby soon made a good break down the left for Swans, and when he put in a low, driven cross, both Flo Bojaj and Sam Shaban just failed to force the ball in from close range.
The visitors again found some room coming forward and Max Benincasa laid the ball in from the right to Carter, who got in a shot that home goalkeeper Brendan Norris got well behind.
Swans should have taken the lead when Athan Smith-Joseph made a run in on the right to find Shaban in front of goal, but he shot well over.
The lead did come after 13 minutes however, and the assist again came from Smith-Joseph with another run down the right. This time his cross found Abdeen Abdul at the near-post, and he scored with a fine header.
A long ball soon picked out Abdul, and his header down almost got Shaban in. Smith-Joseph’s excellent cross from the right was then just too high for Abdul at the far-post. With just over ten minutes left of the half Abdul headed straight at visiting keeper Cameron Kennedy when Bojaj crossed from the right.
AFC Hayes again showed they could pose a threat when Carter got in a strike from out on the right that Norris took two attempts to save. Norris then just fell on the ball on his line when Benincasa drove it in from the right.
At the other end Kennedy had to take the ball at his near-post when Smith-Joseph drove it in from the right.
Norris then had to save on his line when the visitors got in a shot from the edge of the box.
Swans will feel they had not made the most of their opportunities in the first-half, but they were soon given a chance early in the second when Shaban was fouled just outside the box by Austin Schofield, who was shown a yellow card. Elliott Simpson, who had replaced Bojaj on the resumption, took the free-kick, and the ball was knocked down at the left-post before being put behind. Abdul then made a good run on the left, and when he drove the ball low across Howard Newton was just denied close-in at the far-post by Charley Howes, who injured himself in putting the ball behind for a corner.
The visitors continued to see a lot of the ball however, and when they were awarded a free-kick by the right corner-flag, it went across goal and just wide of the far-post.
The game continued to be very open, and when Hornby made a good run on the right he pulled the ball back to Simpson, who drove it wide. Abdul then put a looping header wide when Chris Onoufriou took a free-kick from deep on the left.
But it was the visitors who scored after they were awarded a free-kick a couple of yards outside the box. Jordan Berry’s kick was tipped onto the crossbar by Norris, and when the ball dropped down Carter followed in to slide it over the line.
Swans had a great chance to regain the lead with a quarter of an hour remaining when Simpson played Abdul clear into the box, but Kennedy was quickly out to make a fine block. Smith-Joseph then made a terrific run in on the right, but his low ball in was scrambled clear. Swans continued to press for a winner, but they were frustrated as the play was broken up by the visitors making three substitutions inside the final five minutes. There was one last opportunity in stoppage-time when substitute TJ Nkoma made a run to the goal-line on the right, but his low cross was cleared away.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Athan Smith-Joseph, Julian Hornby, Jake Newton, Jim Fenlon, Jamie Thoroughgood, Chris Onoufriou, Howard Newton, Abdeen Abdul, Flo Bojaj (Elliott Simpson 45’), Sam Shaban (TJ Nkoma 81’). Subs. not used: Louis Taylor, Charlie Holmes, Cameron Gyeabour. Scorer: Abdul (13’). Caution: Thoroughgood, foul.
AFC Hayes Team: Kennedy, Benincasa, Howes, Fosh, Schofield, Dearden, Carter, Maw, Jarraz, Berry, Dean McDonnell. Subs. used: Dan McDonnell, Bishop, Kaczmareck. Scorer: Carter (69’). Cautions: Berry, Schofield.