Tuesday 12 December 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Walton & Hersham 4 Farnham Town 3.
An amazing scoring spree at the end of the first-half and beginning of the second saw Swans go 4-2 up, and they were looking as if they could go on to bury their opponents. The anticipated goal bonanza did not materialise however, and they allowed the visitors to have spells of dominance in the second-half, that not only brought them a third goal, but could have seen them pick up a point. An early goal for Farnham was finally wiped out as Swans scored twice in the final three minutes of the first forty-five, but there was still time left for the visitors to equalise and Swans to lead again, 3-2. Abdeen Abdul’s second goal just three minutes after the resumption seemed to have put Swans in total command, but they allowed Farnham to pull a goal back and set up a tight finish.
Swans attacked straight from the first whistle and Flo Bojaj had a far-post header tipped over by Farnham goalkeeper Ryan Hall when TJ Nkoma crossed from the right, and this led to three corner-kicks in quick succession.
But it was the visitors, who were almost totally changed from the line-up Swans had beaten 2-0 in August, that took the lead after just three minutes as they got into the home half for the first time. They broke down the left, and when the ball was crossed Ashley Peck got to the near-post ahead of Swans’ keeper Brendan Norris to deflect it in.
Bojaj soon got down the left for Swans, and his cross to the far-post was put behind for a corner-kick on the right that Nkoma unfortunately crossed behind. Another corner was won when Bojaj cleverly got in on the left goal-line to drive in a low cross. Jamie Thoroughgood then put a header wide at the far-post when Nkoma took a free-kick from the left.
Swans had attacked almost continuously, and after a quarter of an hour Sam Shaban struck a terrific shot from 25 yards that brought a fine tip-over save from Hall. Swans’ corner-kick count had already risen to half a dozen, and Nkoma’s kick from the left led to the ball being scrambled clear. Nkoma’s free-kick from the right was put behind at the far-post for yet another corner, but Thoroughgood was again wide with a far-post header from Nkoma’s left-side kick.
Julian Hornby then got the ball over from the left for Nkoma to get in a good low strike from 25 yards out on the right that Hall went down to save. Hall was then in the right place again to take a first-time shot from inside the box by Shaban after Abdul had pulled the ball back from the goal-line on the left.
Swans had attacked incessantly, but slack play almost cost them after 27 minutes. Chris Onoufriou was guilty of giving the ball away to allow Farnham to break clear, but fortunately Norris was alert to keep out a low shot.
Swans were soon winning another corner on the right, and from Nkoma’s kick the ball was cleared off the line and behind for yet another kick. Shaban and Farnham’s Josh Tarrant had clashed heads, and although the Swans’ player was able to continue after a lengthy delay, Tarrant had to be substituted. Swans’ ninth corner-kick was finally taken by Nkoma on the right, and Hall was again in the right place to save a shot from the edge of the 6-yard box.There was still ten minutes left of the half when Swans’ corner-kick count rose to double figures. Jim Fenlon had hit a superb diagonal pass from the left to find Nkoma on the right, whose cross was cleared behind.
Keeper Hall again denied Swans, beating away Abdul’s shot from the edge of the box after he had been found by Howard Newton’s long ball. Nkoma’s shot from the right took a deflection to go behind, and from his corner on the left Jake Newton put a close-in header over.
Swans’ pressure, and their twelfth corner, finally bore fruit with three minutes of normal-time left of the half. This time Onoufriou took the kick from the left, and Abdul rose high to send a firm downward header past Hall from the edge of the 6-yard box.
The Farnham keeper was soon saving a glancing header from Abdul after Nkoma had crossed from the right, but he was beaten again after 44 minutes. Abdul played the ball through to Shaban, and he ran on to the edge of the box before slotting it past the advancing keeper.
Having worked so hard to get ahead, Swans were pulled level again a minute into stoppage-time. Farnham won a corner on the left, and following the kick a shot from outside the box was blocked, but the ball ran through to Jack Dillon in the left of the box, and he scored from what looked a suspiciously off-side position.
However Swans wasted no time in going ahead again, as straight from the restart Bojaj picked up the ball on the edge of the box, and after conjuring up an opening drove it into the bottom, left corner.
The second-half was just three minutes old when Swans made it 4-2, Abdul planting a superb header into the top, right corner when Hornby crossed from the left.
The indications were now that Swans would go on to win convincingly, but that was not the case as Farnham came more and more into the game, having a lot of the ball.
Chances still came for Swans however, and Abdul had a shot blocked for a corner after being put down the right by Nkoma, and Shaban just failed to get in on goal following some terrific play by Bojaj on the right. Abdul then struck a fine shot just wide after Shaban had laid the ball off to him 22 yards out. Keeper Hall just finger-tipped the ball away when Abdul made a run on the left to drive it in low, and Hornby’s cross from the right was just too high to find the head of Abdul at the far-post.
But the visitors had always looked a threat in the second-half, and with just over ten minutes remaining they gave themselves a chance of snatching a point. Swans’ Jake Newton and Farnham’s Pascal Thornton had both just been booked after a clash that led to several players getting involved, but the outcome was a free-kick to the visitors. The kick was sent into the box, and following a scramble it was Thornton who was left with the chance to drive the ball past Norris.
Swans’ lead now looked fragile, but as the match entered the final five minutes Bojaj almost got substitute Athan Smith-Joseph in on the left, but a corner on the left was the outcome. From the kick Abdul put a header wide. Then in the fifth minute of stoppage-time Bojaj set up substitute Malachi Thomas on the edge of the box, and Hall did well to push round a strong shot.
There was then a sense of relief as the final whistle signalled a win for Swans that took them into third place in the table.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, TJ Nkoma (Athan Smith-Joseph 66’), Julian Hornby, Jake Newton, Jim Fenlon, Jamie Thoroughgood, Chris Onoufriou, Howard Newton, Abdeen Abdul, Flo Bojaj, Sam Shaban (Malachi Thomas 85’). Subs. not used: Cameron Gyeabour. Dave Musendo. Scorers: Abdul (42’ & 48’), Shaban (44’), Bojaj (45+2’). Cautions: J. Newton, foul (78’), Bojaj, kicked ball away (89’).
Farnham Team: Hall, Flynn, Smith, Cox, Tarrant, Staines, Dillon, Peck, Thornton, Horton, Medcraft. Subs. used: White, Owusu. Subs. not used: Slater, Yacoob. Scorers: Peck (3’), Dillon (45+1’), Thornton (79’). Cautions: Medcraft, Thornton.