Tuesday 28 February 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 2 Raynes Park Vale 0.
After going thirteen matches without a clean-sheet Swans will take great satisfaction from now registering three in a row as they completed the double over Raynes Park Vale. As in their last home match with their visitors’ fellow strugglers Bedfont & Feltham it took a late goal to finally make the three points safe.
The first twenty minutes saw Swans slow to settle against opponents who made a determined start. The first chance fell to the home side however when Billy Marshall’s free-kick from the left found Jamil Okai in the right of the box, and he struck a terrific volley that was blocked behind at the near-post, and this resulted in three successive corner-kicks. Another corner soon followed, and Jamie Thoroughgood put a header over from Marshall’s right-side kick.
Swans finally made the breakthrough ten minutes before the break, but it was a somewhat scrappy goal that did it. Marshall sent a free-kick into the box, and the ball was deflected onto the bar. Another effort hit the goal-frame before Okai finally forced the ball in.
The visitors had hardly posed a threat, but a free-kick from the left led to a shot being well-blocked by Louis Taylor.
Swans went close to doubling their lead with three minutes remaining of the half when Corey Haywood-Roye sent in a fine cross from the right, and TJ Nkoma just failed to make contact at the far-post.
Swans had a chance early in the second-half, but a shot from the left just took a deflection to pass wide of the far-post. A poor clearance by the visitors sent the ball straight to Nkoma, and he got forward before striking a low shot from 22 yards that goalkeeper Tony Davis went down to save.
Liam Beach was tested for the first time just past the hour when James Norton drove in a free-kick from 30 yards, and the Swans’ keeper dived to his left to take the ball. Tom Harland-Goddard then made an ambitious attempt from 45 yards, but the ball dipped well wide.
Nkoma made a good run on the right for Swans before getting the ball inside to Malachi Thomas, but his first-time shot fell short of the target and was cleared.
The visitors put a shot over after getting in on the right, and Anthony Moulds’ free-kick from 35 yards out was driven over.
As the match entered the final five minutes Raynes Park Vale almost punished Swans for not adding to their lead when they got in a close-range header following a throw on the left, but Beach did well to tip the ball over his crossbar.
Swans then broke following a visitors’ corner and Francois Gabbidon got in on the right, but he could only found the side-netting.
But Swans’ latest signing was not to be denied his fourth goal in as many starts, although he left it very late. Three minutes into stoppage-time Howard Newton did well before sending Gabbidon away on the right, and this time he drilled the ball home off the inside of the near-post.
Raynes Park Vale thought they had pulled a goal back, but after finding the net from the left of the box, the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.
Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Corey Haywood-Roye, Howard Newton, Louis Taylor, Lea Van Sullivan, Jamie Thoroughgood, Malachi Thomas (Sean White 82’), Billy Marshall (Seb Castello 69’), Francois Gabbidon, Jamil Okai. TJ Nkoma (Nathan Gordon 66’). Subs. not used: Cameron Gyeabour, Alex Filipe. Scorers: Okai (35’), Gabbidon (90+3’).
Raynes Park Team: Davis, Fraser (Neto 74’), Moulds, Williamson, Lewis, Smart, Amaju (Youngsam 69’), Norton, Okunowo (Forbes 74’), Harland-Goddard, Murphy.