Monday 17 April 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division
Walton & Hersham 1 Windsor 2.
Swans’ hopes of going the whole season unbeaten in league matches at Stompond Lane were dashed on Easter Monday with just two minutes of normal-time of their final home game remaining when visitors Windsor went into the lead for the second time. The record could still have been preserved four minutes into stoppage-time when Howard Newton was put clear with just visiting goalkeeper Hugo Sobte to beat, but his shot was saved and the final whistle immediately blew.
A run of three defeats and just one win in their last five matches now threatens to put a disappointing end to what had previously been a fine first season in the Combined Counties League. If other results do not go their way they could well be faced with the difficult task of having to rely on a win at runaway champions Hartley Wintney in their final game to avoid dropping down to fifth place in the table.
There was again no lack of acceptable scoring opportunities, but not taking them, that has become the problem again in recent games, once more caused Swans’ downfall. Windsor proved to be difficult opponents, and they took their chances in a match that was always a tight affair.
Swans almost had a chance inside the first minute when keeper Sobte’s hasty clearance hit Francois Gabbidon, but Windsor were able to scramble clear. Howard Newton’s fine ball then found Elliott Simpson on the left, and Jake Newton was just denied when his cross came in.
TJ Nkoma made a run in on the right, and when the ball came out to Jake Newton on the right edge of the box he struck a low shot wide.
Windsor’s first attack was a run down the right by Emmanoyil Goganos, who had a low cross cleared.
Swans’ first real chance came after a quarter of an hour when Simpson sent a free-kick from deep into the box. Jamie Thoroughgood nodded the ball down from the left of the six-yard box to Jamil Okai, who blazed a left-foot half-volley over.
With twenty minutes left of the half Howard Newton had to head behind at the near-post when Windsor’s Ashley Smith took a corner from the right, and from Smith’s second-kick a foul ended the danger.
Thoroughgood had a header taken by Sobte when Nkoma crossed from the right, while Windsor’s Gus Bowles shot into the side-netting at the far-post when Goganos took a long throw-in from the right.
The visitors took the lead with just over half an hour played when they won a corner on the right. From Smith’s kick Riccardo Cannon got unchallenged to the near-post to glance a header into the far-corner.
Swans had a chance to hit back immediately when Gabbidon got the ball to Okai in the right of the box, but his first-time shot flew just over. Lea Van Sullivan then had a far-post header cleared off the line when Simpson took a corner from the right.
The equaliser did come after 39 minutes following a throw-in on the left, Simpson slotting past Sobte when the ball broke to him in the box.
With two minutes left to the break Swans went close to taking the lead when Sullivan got in a fine near-post header from Simpson’s right-side corner, but the ball flew just over. In first-half stoppage-time Nathan Gordon played the ball in from the left to find Okai in the box, but his low shot was taken by Sobte.
The second-half started with Goganos driving a shot wide from 25 yards for Windsor, while Howard Newton soon did the same for Swans from a similar distance.
Cannon just failed to get his head to the ball when Smith took a free-kick from the left for the visitors, and it passed wide of the far-post.
With just under an hour played Swans had another chance to go ahead when Howard Newton drove the ball in from the right to pick out his younger brother Jake unmarked at the near-post, but he planted his header wide. Howard Newton was soon clipping the ball just over at the near-post when Nkoma made a clever run on the right before getting in a low cross.
Windsor replied with a free-kick from deep on the right that Swans’ keeper Liam Beach failed to gather, and Corey Haywood-Roye had to clear behind for a corner. The visitors’ substitute Robert Lazarczuk then went desperately close when a well-struck shot from 25 yards rattled the bar with Beach well-beaten.
Chances were then few for both sides until three minutes from the end of normal-time when Howard Newton nodded the ball down to Okai 30 yards out on the left, and he drove a half-volley over.
But just a minute later Windsor were allowed to play the ball in low from the right, and substitute Barry Dunbar found the space tuck a shot past Beach and into the bottom, left corner.
In stoppage-time Lazarczuk struck a good shot from wide on the left that forced a save from Beach, but with four minutes of the extra period played Swans had the chance to salvage their unbeaten home league record. Nkoma played a clever pass forward into the box to set up Howard Newton with just Sobte to beat, but the keeper came out to block his shot, and the final whistle blew.
Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Corey Haywood-Roye, Nathan Gordon, Jake Newton, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood (Seb Castello 90+2’), Elliott Simpson, Howard Newton, Francois Gabbidon (Jordan Wisdom-Muir 57’), Jamil Okai, TJ Nkoma. Subs. not used: Sean White, Jack Darby, Matt Rose-Hazel. Scorer: Simpson (39’).
Windsor Team: Sobte, Goganos, Smith, Sutherland, Ingram, Cannon, Skandari, Pearce (Lazarczuk 41’), Knight, Bowles (Dunbar 76’), Shafi (August 82’). Subs. not used: Cook, Birchmore. Scorers: Cannon (31’), Dunbar (88’).