Tuesday 13 December 2016. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 0 Bedfont Sports 0.
Swans missed out on the opportunity to close the gap on the teams above them as they failed to break down an organised Bedfont Sports’ side that grew in confidence as the game progressed. Things could have been worse however, as they had goalkeeper Liam Beach to thank for a fine penalty save thirteen minutes from time. Swans threatened to blow their opponents away in the opening quarter of an hour, with TJ Nkoma sparkling on the right, but they failed to make the early breakthrough. They continued to dominate the rest of the first-half, going close on several occasions, but had to settle for 0-0 at the break. The visitors re-organised for the second-half, which was much more even, and Swans never recaptured their earlier fluent form, and chances were few and far between.
One change was made from the side that had started at AFC Hayes, with Billy Marshall returning in place of Jordan Wisdom-Muir.
Swans went close after five minutes when Nkoma did well on the right before striking a low shot that visiting keeper Billy Bishop saved at his near-post. With the ball running loose Howard Newton passed it home from the edge of the box, but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside. Nkoma then beat his marker on the right to play the ball in low, but Newton could not control his shot and Bishop took the ball. Nkoma drove a shot well over after cutting in from the right, and when Jamil Okai got into the right of the box he laid the ball back to Elliott Simpson, whose low shot was straight at Bishop. Midway through the half Nkoma made a good run forward from his own half before finding Simpson on the left, whose fine cross forced Bedfont’s Michael Kinsella to head behind. Jamie Thoroughgood then put a header over when Marshall took a free-kick from the right.
Swans continued to dominate and Nkoma put a terrific strike just over from 30 yards. Newton then chipped the ball over from the left to pick out Okai at the far-post, but he put his header over. Clever play by Marshall some 40 yards out finished with a shot that almost caught Bishop out, but the keeper dived to his left to push the ball away. Bishop was soon tested again, diving to his right to keep out a fine 30 yard strike from Louis Taylor. As the half entered the final five minutes Beach pumped a free-kick forward, and Newton drove a shot over from 25 yards.
Swans were left disappointed as they went into the break without a lead, allowing the visitors to regroup for the second-half.
Bedfont soon had a free-kick deep on the right, and their hopes that Thoroughgood had handled the ball in the box proved fruitless. The visitors now began to look a threat, and a cross from the left was just too high for Bradley Wilson at the far-post.
Swans responded with Nkoma making a run on the right before crossing to the far-post, where Newton just failed to get to the ball. With an hour played Marshall was unlucky with a fine strike from the left corner of the box that flew just over.
The play was now more even however, and Bedfont’s Connor Moody was just wide of the right post with a shot from the edge of the box. The visitors’ clearest opening came when space opened up on the edge of Swans’ box, but Wilson’s shot took a deflection to go wide.
But with thirteen minutes remaining Kyle Lemon was allowed to get into the left of the box and was judged to have been tripped by Marshall, leaving Bedfont with the chance to steal the win from the penalty-spot. Wilson was the player assigned the responsibility of the kick, but he was denied by Beach diving to his left to make a fine save.
The result could now have swung either way, and in the final minute Beach could only half save Wilson’s low shot from the right, but was able to recover to deny any follow-up.
Swans had one last chance to win the match in stoppage-time when Okai brought the ball down just outside the box, but keeper Bishop got well behind his half-volley.
Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Olade Yusuf, Nathan Gordon, Louis Taylor, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood, TJ Nkoma, Elliott Simpson (Seb Castello 80’), Jamil Okai, Billy Marshall (Scott Todd 87’), Howard Newton (Jordan Wisdom-Muir 70’). Subs. not used: Sam Bates, Cameron Gyeabour. Caution: Taylor, foul (65’).
Bedfont Team: Bishop, Pitt (Greenwood 75’), Lemon, Kinsella, Bettamer, Hicks, Johnson, Mbenkwi, Harris (Wilks 45+1’), Moody, Wilson. Subs, not used: Hibburt, Mngadi. Caution: Wilson, kicked ball away (43’).