Camberley Town 1 Swans 1

Tuesday 26 September 2017.     Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Camberley Town 1   Walton & Hersham 1.

Swans have had some fine wins in recent weeks, but they were denied what would have been up there with the best of them by an equaliser scored in the last minute of normal-time. They had played two thirds of the match with ten men, leading scorer Abdeen Abdul having been controversially sent-off, but they went on to take the lead, one they seldom looked like surrendering until that final minute. The home side had been restricted to just one shot on target, and that in the first-half, until their equaliser. Elliott Simpson was also then sent-off in equally controversial circumstances immediately following Camberley’s equaliser, leaving Swans to play out stoppage-time with nine players. The last time a Swans’ player had been shown a red card was in March of last season at Guildford City, when both Louis Taylor and Stiven Rivic were the victims of equally questionable decisions by the same referee.

Both Jim Fenlon and Simpson were fit to return to a Swans’ starting line-up that forced a corner after just 20 seconds of play. TJ Nkoma was then soon making a good run on the right before cutting inside and driving a low shot just wide of the right-post. A superb diagonal ball from the right by Jamil Okai then picked out Nkoma on the left, and he was just denied after getting into the box.

Swans continued to dominate, and with 25 minutes played a fine build-up on the right led to Okai, centrally placed on the edge of the box, to drive in a left-foot shot that home goalkeeper Kallum Lunn got well behind. Chris Onoufriou then hit a long pass from the left to pick out Julian Hornby in the right of the box, and he did well to bring the ball down before having a shot deflected wide.

Then, with half an hour played, Abdul felt he was impeded unfairly as he tried to get past a home defender. After no more than a gentle shove on his opponent Abdul was surrounded by Camberley players, and after a minor scuffle the only action the referee felt was warranted was to show a red card to the Swans’ striker.

Despite being a man down Swans were soon attacking again, as Okai got past home left-back Josh Pound on the right to get in a low cross. The ball came to Onoufriou outside the box, and he got in a first-time, left-foot strike that Lunn saved on his line.

With ten minutes left to the break a Swans’ defence well marshalled by Jamie Thoroughgood at last gave Camberley a sight of goal, a strong shot being struck from inside the box that brought a terrific tip-over save from keeper Brendan Norris.

Lunn was soon brought into action at the other end, taking two attempts to save a 35 yard strike from Simpson. Then, two minutes into first-half stoppage-time, Simpson took a free-kick from deep on the right, and when Thoroughgood nodded the ball back at the far-post Okai struck a volley that Lunn did well to tip over his crossbar.

It was Okai who gave Swans the lead with a superb piece of individual play just three minutes after the resumption. After receiving the ball in the left of the box he deceived his marker with several side-steps before drilling a shot low into the far-corner.

Okai was soon testing Lunn with another shot after Hornby had got into the right of the box to lay the ball inside. Swans continued to make light of their numerical disadvantage, and Lunn did well to take a driven cross to his near-post from Hornby, who had again made a run in on the right. Then fine play by Nkoma on the left got him past Josh Wood, and his low ball to the near-post was put just wide by Onoufriou. Dwade James had come on for Okai, who had picked up an injury, and with just over a quarter of an hour remaining he was just denied at the far-post when Hornby crossed low from the right, and the ball was put behind for a corner.

The home side had been denied any sort of opportunity, but with three minutes of normal-time remaining they were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out, only for Jack Dean to drive the ball well over. But just as it looked as if Swans would pick up a well-deserved three points they were denied amidst more controversy. Simpson looked to have been fouled on the home side’s left, but with him down and Swans effectively down to nine men play was allowed to continue. A strong shot came in that Norris could only beat away, but the ball fell kindly to Adam Francis in the left of the box, and the former Swan struck a fine, first-time shot that found the far corner.

After recording the goal the referee decided that his next task was to book Simpson, apparently for simulation, and then immediately brandish a red card as the Swans’ midfielder expressed his objections. Swans’ nine men held out during a lengthy period of stoppage-time for a point, that would surely have been three but for some very debatable refereeing decisions.

Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Shaun Smart, Jim Fenlon, Chris Onoufriou, Jake Newton, Jamie Thoroughgood, Julian Hornby, Elliott Simpson, Abdeen Abdul, Jamil Okai (Dwade James 66’), TJ Nkoma (Bilal Benali 78’), Subs. not used: Howard Newton, Lea Van Sullivan, Sanchez Benali. Scorer: Okai (48’). Cautions: Thoroughgood, Hornby. Dismissals: Abdul, retaliation (31’), Simpson, 2 cautions, simulation & dissent (90’).

Camberley Team: Lunn, J. Greenwood, Pound, Moore, Derry (Brown 17’), Webb, Dean, Charsley, Jackson, Liddle (Francis 66’), Wood. Sub. also used: Wareham. Sub. not used: D. Greenwood. Scorer: Francis (89’).          

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