Swans 0 Hanworth Villa 0

Tuesday 28 March 2017.     Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Walton & Hersham 0   Hanworth Villa 0.

Swans failed to get the win that would have seen them jump over the visitors into third spot in the table as they had to settle for their fourteenth draw in the league, and their sixteenth in all competitions this season. It was also the first time this season they had gone successive games without finding the net. However, they will not feel too dissatisfied with their overall performance against opponents that would rank amongst the strongest to visit Stompond Lane this season and keeping another clean sheet, meaning they have conceded just four goals in the last ten matches.

Lea Van Sullivan was free to return following suspension, but Elliott Simpson was absent for similar reasons.

It was a slip by Sullivan that almost led to Villa taking the lead inside the first minute as Levi King got clean in on the right, but Swans’ goalkeeper Liam Beach made a fine save at his near-post to turn King’s shot wide.

Swans’ first opportunity came with just under ten minutes played when Stivan Rivic’s excellent corner driven in from the left went across the goal-face. TJ Nkoma was soon beating his marker by the left corner flag with some fine play, but after cutting inside his shot flew across goal. Nkoma then drove a terrific left-foot shot just over from the edge of the box.

The visitors had an opportunity with a free-kick awarded 25 yards from goal, but King drove his shot over.

Swans soon had a free-kick just inside Villa’s half, but Rivic’s ball into the box went straight through with no-one able to get a touch.

With just under ten minutes of the half remaining the visitors’ Steve Loveridge picked up the game’s first booking for a reckless high challenge that left Nathan Gordon down with a head injury.

Rivic’s dead ball kicks had been superb, and as the half entered the final five minutes the Croatian midfielder’s corner from the right was met at the near-post by Louis Taylor, but his header flew over. Nkoma then had a shot from outside the box blocked, and as the ball ran to Malachi Thomas on the right he could only find the side-netting.

Nkoma was soon getting into the left of the box in the second-half, but his ball in could not find a teammate.

Ten minutes into the half Swans were grateful to keeper Beach for preventing Villa from taking the lead. A free-kick was awarded 25 yards out, and Tom Neale’s fine effort looked like finding the top, right corner, but Beach made a tremendous save, diving to his left to push the ball onto the post.

Just past the hour the Swans’ keeper again had to keep the ball out. A long ball down the left put Cyril Ocansey away, and he cut inside to get in a low shot that Beach deflected onto his near-post. The visitors continued to have a good spell, and with just over a quarter of an hour remaining Sullivan made a fine block as a shot was driven in from the right of the box.

Swans brought on Matt Rose-Hazel in place of Francois Gabbidon, the striker making his first appearance since early November following a long lay-off due to injury. Nkoma cut in on the left to get in a low shot that Villa keeper Balvinder Khaira did well to save down at his near-post.

Swans pressed hard in the final five minutes to try to get a winner, and Jamil Okai twice drove shots over after making good runs forward. Three minutes into stoppage-time substitute Corey Haywood-Roye cut in on the left before getting the ball to Rose-Hazel, who just cleared the bar with a well-hit shot from outside the box. A final chance soon came with a free-kick, but Rivic drove the ball wide.

Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Howard Newton, Nathan Gordon, Louis Taylor, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood, Malachi Thomas (Corey Haywood-Roye 82’), Stiven Rivic, Francois Gabbidon (Matt Rose-Hazel 79’), Jamil Okai, TJ Nkoma. Subs. not used: Sean White, Alex Filipe.

Hanworth Villa Team: Khaira, Loveridge (Cheetham 82’), Milborrow, Queensborough, Baigent, Dilloway, Smith-Joseph, Ocansey, King, Neale, Buckle. Subs. not used: White, Muldowney, Wright, Vincent. Cautions: Loveridge (36’), Queensborough (90+3’).

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