Saturday 11 March 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 1 Farnham Town 0.
Swans made it four wins and four clean sheets from their last five matches as they edged past Farnham Town in a scrappy match at Stompond Lane. They had to frustratingly wait until early in the second-half to get what proved to be the decisive goal against opponents who barely created a chance throughout the match.
Howard Newton returned in place of Craig Tanner at left-back, while the fit again Elliott Simpson came in for Billy Marshall, who was suffering from a back problem.
Swans’ first threat came after six minutes when Nathan Gordon got down the left to drive the ball low across the six-yard box, where both Lea Van Sullivan and Jamie Thoroughgood, who had pushed up, just failed to get a touch. Thoroughgood then had a header taken by Farnham goalkeeper Richard Ossai when Simpson sent in a free-kick from deep on the left.
It was not until the 27th minute that Swans’ supporters had something to cheer, Louis Taylor striking a terrific, left-foot shot when the ball came to him 25 yards out. The ball looked destined for the right, top corner, but Ossai, who made one appearance for Swans last season, tipped it over the bar with a fine save.
The visitors posed a rare threat after 38 minutes when Max Meaton got down the right before driving the ball low across the six-yard box.
As the half entered the final five minutes TJ Nkoma got down the left to cross to the far-post, but Jamil Okai headed a good chance over. In stoppage-time Nkoma beat Farnham right-back George Horner on the left, but no-one got on the end of his low cross.
Swans had an opportunity early in the second-half with a free-kick on the left, but Thoroughgood’s far-post header from Simpson’s delivery went over.
Malachi Thomas came on for Gordon, and his first contribution was to set up what was to prove the winning goal eight minutes into the half. Nkoma brought the ball forward from deep in Swans’ half before hitting a long pass that put Thomas clear on the right. Thomas could have gone for goal, but he laid the ball across to Okai, unmarked by the penalty-spot, and he stroked it home.
Midway through the half the visitors had a rare opportunity when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the right corner of the box, but Elliot Cardona drove the ball over the far, top corner.
Swans soon went close to doubling their lead, but Nkoma’s superb strike from the left flew just wide. They went even closer with a quarter of an hour remaining. Nkoma broke clear on the left and Ossai raced out to try to close him down, but Nkoma was able to drive the ball in low to the far-post, where Thomas was just prevented from turning it in as it was put behind for a corner. Simpson then went down in the box, but claims for a penalty were denied, and Nkoma had a shot from the left, but the ball bounced wide.
With five minutes remaining Swans’ keeper Liam Beach was tested for the first time, but he got well behind Meaton’s good strike from outside the box.
Okai soon had a chance to clinch the three points, but his far-post header from Simpson’s right-side corner was disappointing. Then, in stoppage-time, Nkoma’s shot from inside the box was deflected just wide.
Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Corey Haywood-Roye, Howard Newton, Louis Taylor, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood, TJ Nkoma, Elliott Simpson, Francois Gabbidon (Sean White 90’), Jamil Okai, Nathan Gordon (Malachi Thomas 51’). Subs. not used: Seb Castello, Cameron Gyeabour, Alex Filipe. Scorer: Okai (53’). Cautions: Simpson (58’), Gabbidon (69’), Taylor (74’). .
Farnham Team: Ossai, Horner, Williams, Spires, Ford, Cox, Peck (Holland 87’), Staines, Poole, Meaton, Cardona. Subs. not used: Nelson, Wilson, Slater, Owusu. Cautions: Peck (51’), Staines (58’), Poole (81’).