Beaconsfield Town 2 Swans 2

Saturday 4th September 2021.                                 FA Cup, 1st Qualifying Round.

Beaconsfield Town 2    Walton & Hersham 2.

A last-minute equaliser gave Swans a deserved draw against their Southern League Premier Division South opponents that takes the clubs to a replay and into the draw for the next round. This was after they had taken the lead just before the break, only to be pegged back by two quick goals that put them 2-1 down just before the hour. Those two goals by the home side triggered a dominant spell by them, but Swans came back strong late in the game, and they fully deserved their chance for another opportunity to progress.

They had gone into the match missing three key players. Darryl Siaw and Reece Brewster were both serving one-match, competition-specific bans, while Alex Kelly had not recovered from an injury sustained against Cobham in mid-week, but those coming into the side all contributed to a fine performance.

The tie kicked-off at the ground of Chalfont St. Peter FC, as the Rams’ ground is undergoing redevelopment, and Swans were fortunate not to fall behind inside the first minute. Dylan Kearney was allowed to get unchallenged into the left of the box, and after setting himself he drove the ball against the near-post. A free-kick was soon conceded close to the left corner-flag, and Joe Hicks had to put the ball behind from Scott Donnelly’s delivery. Donnelly’s resultant corner from the left led to the ball being headed wide at the far-post.

Swans gradually began to settle on a bumpy, undulating pitch, and Dominic Ogun was fouled just outside the box on the left edge of the ‘D’, but Harry Mills drove the free-kick over the goal. Mills then cut across the edge of the box from the right to drive in a low, left-foot shot that home goalkeeper Mike Neish did not take cleanly, but he recovered to prevent Ogun from following up.

Midway through the half Kearney got in a far-post header for Beaconsfield when the ball was crossed high from the left, but he could not direct it past Swans’ keeper Liam Allen. Carl Stewart then drove the ball wide of Allen’s right post from the edge of the box, after a cross came in from the left.

Swans responded with Zach Dainkeh playing a good ball to Ogun on the left, but after getting into the box he sent his shot well over. Palace Francis made a run forward on the left before cutting inside and being brought down just outside the box by Stewart, the foul earning The Rams’ player the game’s first booking. Mills took the free-kick from an almost identical position as the one earlier, and this time he went close to finding the far, top corner of the goal.

Swans were guilty of losing the ball in midfield, allowing Aaron Minhas to get forward, but his shot from outside the box was straight at Allen.

Jacob Munting made a good run on the right for Swans to send a dangerous ball into the box, but it was just hooked clear.

With the last ten minutes of the half being played the home side had a chance when a first-time cross came in from the left that Tyrone Lewthwaite met with a left-foot volley close to the penalty-spot, but the ball flew wide of the left post. Kearney then got in on the left byline and was fouled by Max Hustwick, earning the Swans’ central defender a yellow card. The resultant free-kick was headed away, leading to a shot being driven well over.

Mills’ terrific run in on the right, where he nutmegged Alex Lafluer, deserved to lead to a goal, but his low cross was cleared. But it was Mills who gave Swans the lead with three minutes of normal-time left of the half. Dainkeh made a good run forward before finding Jordayne Henry on the right, and he played the ball inside to Mills, who got into the box to drive in a low shot, that although not cleanly hit, beat keeper Neish just inside his far-post.

It could have been 2-0 straight from the restart when Swans caught Beaconsfield napping with a quickly taken free-kick on the left that sent Dainkeh clear, and he just failed to play Ogun in.

The home side had an opportunity in stoppage-time with a free-kick outside the box, but Toby Little’s shot was saved down to his left by Allen.

Little was almost played in straight after the resumption, but excellent covering by Hustwick in the box snuffed out the threat.

Hustwick was soon striking a fine diagonal ball from the right to find Louis Collins on the left, and his good ball in went across the box.

Swans had come well into the game and were good value for their lead, but they rather gifted Beaconsfield an equaliser just four minutes into the second-half. The ball was played into the box, leading to Allen and Collins getting in each other’s way, and it ran loose. Kearney was in the right corner of the 6 yard-box to drive a shot into the top of the net. Kearney was soon finding room on the edge of the box to have a shot blocked, his follow-up then going straight through to Allen.

A fine piece of build-up play by Swans on the left led to Munting sending a superb long ball into the box, and Neish just got back to tip it over his crossbar.

The home side brought on the highly experienced Jefferson Louis, and the 42 year-old was soon influencing play. Allen had to make a fine save from a low shot, and a follow-up from outside the box was blocked on the line and behind for a corner.

The home side continued to have a good spell, and this led to them going ahead after 57 minutes, but Swans will feel disappointed in the manner of the goal. The ball was lost inside the centre-circle, and with Swans’ defence exposed, Little was able to run through to the edge of the box before scoring past the advancing Allen. Then only some terrific covering by Francis prevented Louis from getting in on the right. Beaconsfield continued to look dangerous, and Lewthwaite shot low across goal from the left of the box.

But Swans were still having their moments however, and Ogun had a chance after being played into the left of the box, but his left-foot shot was too high. Munting was having a superb game in midfield for Swans, and he picked out Francis on the left with a fine diagonal ball. Francis played the ball inside to Mills, whose low shot from 25 yards was wide of the right post.

Swans brought on new signing Alec Fiddes for Darren Simpson, and it only took him three minutes to go close to equalising. Mills sent a free-kick into the box from out on the right touchline, and with the home defence under pressure from Hicks the ball ran loose to Fiddes in the right of the 6 yard-box, but his shot was blocked on the line.

At the other end Lewthwaite got through on the left to drive the ball in, and Allen to make a good take down at his near-post.

Swans were determined not to go out of the competition without a fight, and a fine ball from Mills got Ogun free on the left, and his clipped ball in to the far-post was just too high for Fiddes. Mills was soon driving in a strong shot from 25 yards, but it was straight at keeper Neish. Another excellent move, again started by Munting, resulted in him getting to the right byline and playing the ball in to Collins, close-in at the near-post, but his shot was blocked on the line and the ball deflected behind for a corner. With ten minutes of normal-time remaining Mills’ fine diagonal ball from the right picked out Francis on the left, and he did well before cutting inside and firing in a shot that Neish just got over his far, top corner with an excellent save.

Onur Bakici came on to replace Ogun, and had an opportunity after just two minutes. Francis played the ball through to him, and hesitation by Beaconsfield’s Jordan Aghatise allowed him to get clear, but Neish just managed to prevent the ball being taken round him. Munting and Dainkeh continued to be excellent, probing in midfield for Swans, but Collins was also playing a fine part in the search for an equaliser, and with less than five minutes remaining a move started by him on the left led to Mills finding Fiddes on the right, but his cross was too long and went behind. Collins then won a corner on the left, playing the ball off Marcus Johnson-Schuster, but Mills’ kick was headed clear.

Just as it looked as if Swans’ efforts were going to be in vain, Mills sent in a superb ball from the left to the edge of the 6 yard-box, and Bakici got to it first to glance a header past Neish and secure a replay.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Jordayne Henry, Louis Collins, Jacob Munting, Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills, Zach Dainkeh, Dominic Ogun (Onur Bakici 81’), Darren Simpson (Alec Fiddes 65’), Palace Francis. Subs. not used: Stuart Baldwin, Ed Mahoney, Harry Pointing, Max Lohmeier. Scorers: Mills (42’), Bakici (90’). Caution: Hustwick, foul (37’).  

Beaconsfield Team: Neish, Johnson-Schuster, Lafluer, Aghatise, Sprague, Donnelly, Lewthwaite (McCoy 74’), Stewart (C. Webb 84’), Kearney (Louis 54’), A. Minhas, Little. Subs. not used: Jarra, Rose, Ajanlekoko. Scorers: Kearney (49’), Little (57’). Caution: Stewart, foul (28’).