Saturday 2 September 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 1 Colliers Wood United 0.
Swans made it three wins in three meetings with Colliers Wood United, but this was the toughest of them, as their opponents have started the season well, and were previously unbeaten. The only goal of the game, scored after 17 minutes by Jamil Okai, looked for periods as if it would not be enough to secure the three points as the visitors showed at times why they have made that good start, but a solid defensive display saw Swans home.
There were enforced changes to the regular defensive line-up, with Jamie Thoroughgood unavailable, and Jim Fenlon unable to get to the ground due to travel problems. Shaun Smart made his first star of the season at right-back, replacing Fenlon, and had a solid game.
Swans forced a couple of early corner-kicks, both coming from runs on the left by TJ Nkoma.
Clever play got him cutting in on the byline for the first, and a dangerous cross that had to be headed behind by Cedric Abraham won the second.
The visitors had an opening with just under ten minutes played when Jake Newton slipped over, allowing Moses Kaddu to get to the byline on the left, but his low cross was cut out by home goalkeeper Brendan Norris.
Swans then had a good three minutes, which led to them taking the lead. Sanchez Benali was played into the left of the box to slip a shot just wide of the far-post, and a fine ball by Elliott Simpson released Nkoma on the left, and after cutting inside he had a low shot taken by Sean Fallon in the visitors’ goal.
The goal then came following some good play by Smart. Okai was found in space in the left of the box, and after some deliberation he drove the ball past former Swans’ keeper Fallon.
Swans continued to play well, and just before the half hour Norris sent Bilal Benali away on a surging run down the right that took him into the visitors’ box, but he could not pick out a teammate.
But the away side immediately went close to equalising as Dan Hughes got his head to the ball in the right of the box, and it looped onto the bar with Norris struggling to get to it. Mario Embalo then laid the ball in from the left to Jake Hill, who sent a shot wide of the near-post. The visitors continued to have a good spell, and they had an opportunity with a free-kick awarded 30 yards from goal, but Mohammed Mohammed drove the ball straight through and into the gloves of Norris. The Swans’ keeper then had to tip the ball over his crossbar when Tyrone Newton struck a half-volley from outside the box.
With the final five minutes of the half being played Swans went close to doubling their lead. Nkoma hit a terrific shot from the left of the box that Fallon did well to dive to his left and push away. Sanchez Benali then drove the ball just over the far, top corner from the left.
The visitors had a lot of possession as the second-half progressed, with Swans struggling to keep the ball up front, but just past the hour Fallon kicked the ball out straight to Okai, but he was unable to set up Sanchez Benali.
Colliers Wood had a chance from a free-kick 25 yards out, but Norris dived to his right to keep out Abraham’s strike. The Swans’ keeper injured himself in the process and required treatment for some minutes.
The final threat from the visitors came with a minute of normal-time remaining as they were fortunate to be awarded a free-kick just outside the box on the left, but Kier Dickson’s driven kick was cleared at the near-post.
But the final chance fell to Swans when Okai robbed Hill on the right, but he couldn’t force his way through on goal.
There were a full eight minutes of stoppage-time played, but Swans held on for the win without too much alarm.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Shaun Smart, Julian Hornby, Elliott Simpson, Lea Van Sullivan, Jake Newton, Bilal Benali, Abdeen Abdul, Jamil Okai, Sanchez Benali, TJ Nkoma (Jamel Johnson 76’). Sub. not used: Howard Newton. Scorer: Okai (17’). Caution: Simpson.
CWU Team: Fallon, Hughes, Hill, Talbot, Abraham, Woodhouse, Lubango (Doherty 70’), Newton, Kaddu, Mohammed (Scott 57’), Embalo. Subs. not used: Dickson, Russell, Lindo. Cautions: Talbot, Woodhouse, Dickson.