Saturday 23 September 2017. FA Vase, 2nd Qualifying Round.
Sporting Club Thamesmead 0 Walton & Hersham 8.
Swans continued their recent goal feast as they eased past the Kent club and into the 1st Round Proper of the FA Vase. They have now found the net 15 times in just two rounds of the competition and 28 times in the last 5 matches overall. Abdeen Abdul had scored three hat-tricks in those 5 games, but although he failed to get on the scoresheet this time, the mantle was taken over by Jamil Okai, who registered on the scoresheet 5 times. Although Swans had gone in at the break 3-0 up, the home side had looked a threat on occasion, but they were swept away in the second-half.
Despite several lengthy stoppages in that second-half the referee decided to call a halt to the match on 90 minutes. With Swans so dominant, and looking like scoring from every attack, their score could well have been greater had full stoppage-time been played.
After the side being unaltered for four matches, Swans had to make changes for the tie. Jim Fenlon was unwell and Elliott Simpson was suffering from a muscle strain, so Howard Newton came in and Lea Van Sullivan returned. Okai also started in place of Sanchez Benali.
Swans soon attacked, and Okai looped a header wide when Howard Newton crossed from the left. Julian Hornby and Howard Newton then combined on the left, but Newton’s cross was just too high for Abdul and TJ Nkoma at the far-post.
The lead came after eight minutes with a goal of great simplicity. Goalkeeper Brendan Norris sent a superb throw down the left to find Okai, and he surged forward past his marker, before scoring with a low, left-foot shot from the edge of the box.
The home side had an opportunity from a free-kick 30 yards out, but Tony Hill’s kick went straight through to Norris.
Chris Onoufriou played Nkoma down the right to set up another attack for Swans, but when the ball came out to Okai he shot low wide of the left-post.
Midway through the half the home side had another free-kick on the left, but following Ramell Lake’s kick a foul in the box ended the opportunity.
Hornby was found on the left for Swans by Nkoma’s cross from the right, but after cutting into the box he put his shot over the bar.
Swans doubled their lead with half an hour played after they won a corner on the left. From Nkoma’s kick Jamie Thoroughgood headed back across goal from the far-post, and Okai got in a header that dipped just under the crossbar.
Swans were soon given a warning that the tie was not yet settled as a strong shot from the right of the box by Josh Patrick rattled their crossbar.
They responded with Onoufriou’s fine diagonal pass finding Nkoma on the right, and after cutting inside he struck a strong, left-foot shot that home keeper Simon Vanderhook beat down. Hornby then played the ball through to Okai, and he turned on the left edge of the box to drive a low shot just wide.
The Kent side still posed a threat however, and when Norris failed to gather a free-kick into the box the ball broke to Alian Akumwami on the left, but his shot was blocked at the near-post.
Swans immediately scored their third goal with just over five minutes left to the break, to effectively settle the tie. Shaun Smart made a good run into the box, and was tripped just inside by Ricky Hardie, and Hornby drilled home Swans’ first penalty-kick of the season.
In first-half stoppage-time Nkoma made a terrific run through the middle to get into the box, but his shot was blocked.
The home side had a chance to reduce the deficit before the break as they got through into the box, but Merrick Simms’ shot was well blocked for a corner by Norris.
Norris was soon getting well behind a low shot from outside the box by Lake as the second-half kicked-off, but Abdul beat Hardie on the left at the other end to win a corner. Nkoma’s kick led to a scramble in the box and Okai having an on-target shot deflected over. Abdul was then fouled five yards outside the box, but his free-kick was blocked. Swans were now well in command, and Nkoma turned outside the box to put a low shot just wide, and when Jake Newton found Abdul in the left of the box his shot to the near-post was taken by Vanderhook.
It was 4-0 to the visitors eight minutes into the second-half. Onoufriou’s free-kick into the box found Okai to the right of goal, and he hit a good shot that was blocked by Vanderhook, but Okai regained possession and sealed his hat-trick with a shot off the left-post.
Swans soon made a double change, with Bilal Benali and Dwade James coming on for Nkoma and Abdul, and it was James who set up the fifth goal after 63 minutes. He knocked the ball forward to Okai, whose looping header was just tipped onto the bar by Vanderhook, but he followed up to score.
It was a clever run in on the right by Bilal Benali that led to Swans’ sixth goal. Vanderhook made a good save from Benali’s shot, but when the ball came to Onoufriou outside the box the keeper was beaten by a shot that took a deflection into the bottom, left corner.
Swans made it three goals in a ten minute spell as they made it 7-0, Smart getting in on the right to score with a low shot.
Sanchez Benali had replaced Hornby, and he struck a shot from outside the box on the left that Vanderhook just kept out of the far, top corner. It now seemed a question of how many goals Swans would get, and Okai had another shot blocked when Smart played him into the right of the box. Jake Newton then sent a glancing header just wide when Smart crossed a high ball from the right.
With eight minutes left there was a lengthy hold-up when the home side’s Patrick was injured as he got through to the edge of the box and collided with Norris. With him being unable to continue and all three substitutions made, his side was forced to play out the remaining time a man short.
Home substitute Ryan Minnott sent the ball just over the far, top corner from the right, but Swans bettered their previous three totals of seven goals this season in the final minute with their best goal of the afternoon. Sanchez Benali made a run inside from the left before finding Okai in the right of the box, and he sent a fine, left-foot shot into the far, top corner to register his fifth goal. The referee then decided that was enough and blew the final whistle.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Shaun Smart, Howard Newton, Jake Newton, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood, TJ Nkoma (Bilal Benali 58’), Chris Onoufriou, Abdeen Abdul (Dwade James 58’), Jamil Okai, Julian Hornby (Sanchez Benali 70’). Sub. not used: Elliott Simpson. Scorers: Okai (8’, 30’, 53’, 63’ & 89’), Hornby, penalty (39’), Onoufriou (69’), Smart (73’). Cautions: Okai, foul (33’), Onoufriou, dissent (37’).
SC Thamesmead Team: Vanderhook, Johnson, Hill, Jones, Mason Simms (Fenech 58’), Hardie, Williams (Minnott 45’), Merrick Simms, Patrick, Lake, Akumwami (Ward 45’). Subs. not used: West, Ebajabiamila. Cautions: Hardie, foul (39’), Akumwami, simulation (45+4’), Merrick Simms, foul (71’).