Saturday 4 November 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
CB Hounslow United 0 Walton & Hersham 2.
Despite having the bulk of the attacking play in the first-half, Swans had to wait until early in the second to finally make the breakthrough against a side that played some neat football at times, but were always a distinct second-best. Having gone behind, the home side then allowed Swans long spells of possession, getting men behind the ball despite trailing. A single goal lead is always vulnerable however, and a shot against their post from a rare home threat came as a warning to Swans, but once the lead was doubled with less than ten minutes to play the three points always looked secure.
Central defenders Billy Jeffreys and Jamie Thoroughgood were both available to return after missing the previous match, but both leading scorers, Jamil Okai and Abdeen Abdul, were still absent through injury. New signing Leon Solomon came into the side, the experienced defensive midfielder having joined on dual registration from Hampton & Richmond Borough, while Malachi Thomas made his first start since being injured in August.
On an excellent playing surface at the home side’s new ground it was Thomas who had the first chance with just under ten minutes played. There was more than a hint of offside as he got clear to the right of goal, but he drove the ball wide of the far-post. TJ Nkoma then laid the ball off to Flo Bojaj 25 yards out, and he struck a left-foot shot that flew wide of the left post.
Swans continued to press, and with just over a quarter of an hour played the home side’s Gabriel Chiedozie had to clear the ball over his own goal when Nkoma was played down the right to cross low into the box. Nkoma was then in the middle to have a shot deflected over when the ball broke to him following Jim Fenlon’s run on the left. Bojaj had a shot from the left of the box deflected over, and with half an hour played he got the ball to Nkoma on the left, who cut inside to strike a right-foot shot. Home goalkeeper Rhys Forster had to dive to his left to push the ball round the far-post. From Thomas’s corner on the right Nkoma volleyed over at the far-post.
It had been pretty well constant Swans’ attacking, and it was 33 minutes before CB Hounslow posed a real threat. Jordan Ireland, who had looked their most accomplished player, broke away down the middle before being pulled down 25 yards from goal by Jeffreys, who was rightly shown a yellow card. Ireland took the free-kick, but drove it over the crossbar.
With just under ten minutes left to the break Swans had, but missed, their best chance so far. Solomon played Athan Smith-Joseph down the left, and he played the ball low across to Thomas in front of goal, but he failed to make contact and the chance went begging. Bojaj then sent a half-volley wide from the left following a good build-up.
Another good chance then came and went when Bojaj played a fine ball through to Thomas in the left of the box, and this time Smith-Joseph put the ball over at the far-post when it was sent low across. With the final five minutes of the half being played a free-kick was taken short on the left, and Chris Onoufriou sent a shot dipping over the top, right corner from 25 yards.
After a frustrating first-half Swans made the breakthrough just four minutes after the resumption. Good pressure was applied on the right that enabled Jake Newton to get to the goal-line. Smith-Joseph was found in space in the right of the 6-yard box, and he sent a left-foot shot into the far, top corner.
Swans continued to dominate possession, but were kept at arm’s length as the home side funnelled back to their own half, although Nkoma got in on the goal-line on the left to force a corner, and Thomas crossed from the left and the ball dipped just over the far, top corner.
With just over an hour played Swans were given a warning as Ireland broke forward to find Sirak Beyene on the left, and he cut inside to get in a shot that clipped the top of the crossbar.
Determined play by Smith-Joseph won him the ball on the right for Swans, but when his cross found Bojaj, he couldn’t quite turn the ball in. With just under twenty minutes remaining Bojaj made a run forward that took him into the left of the box, but his strong shot was taken high at his near-post by Forster.
The home side’s Shakeel Morris turned to send a shot dipping over from 25 yards, while Swans replied with Smith-Joseph and Jake Newton combining on the right and Forster taking the ball at his near-post as Newton got to the goal-line to drive it across.
Swans’ lead was again made to look fragile as the lively Beyene was found in space on the left, and he drove the ball against the left-post. The ball then fell to Rami Cortez outside the right of the box, and he drove a low shot wide of the far-post.
But with just under ten minutes remaining Swans effectively made the points safe with a goal that was well made, but was somewhat of a gift. Substitute Elliott Simpson played a good ball to get Thomas down the right, and when he drove the ball across Forster went down to save, but the young keeper failed to hold on and Bojaj was left with a tap-in at the far-post.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Jake Newton, Jim Fenlon, Leon Solomon (Howard Newton 83’), Billy Jeffreys, Jamie Thoroughgood, Athan Smith-Joseph, Chris Onoufriou (Elliott Simpson 66’), Malachi Thomas, Flo Bojaj, TJ Nkoma (Julian Hornby 71’). Subs. not used: Sanchez Benali, Bilal Benali. Scorers: Smith-Joseph (49’), Bojaj (81’). Cautions: Jeffreys, foul (33’), Bojaj, foul (86’).
CB Hounslow Team: Forster, O’Neill, Vidal (Morris 61’), Ireland, S. Bamford, Chiedozie, Driver (Saaley 84’), G. Bamford, Roberts (McKee 78’), Cortez, Beyene. Cautions: G. Bamford, Driver.