Colliers Wood United 0 Swans 4

Saturday 2nd October 2021.   Cherry Red Combined Counties League Premier Division South.

Colliers Wood United 0    Walton & Hersham 4.

Swans met a top six side for the second away match running, and again picked up the three points as well as keeping another clean sheet, their fifth in a row in the league, the win moving them into second spot in the table. Their other two away wins this season had seen the respective home sides have opportunities to turn the result around with dominating spells, but this was an almost faultless display, with their opponents seldom looking like scoring. The conditions were challenging, with heavy rain falling throughout the match, but the pitch was excellent and held up well, only the final stages seeing some standing water. Swans made light of the difficult conditions however, playing excellent football from the back to the front that the home side had little answer to.

Joe Pratley-Jones came in for his first game of the season, with Louis Collins and Jacob Munting also both being fit to return. The defence of Pratley-Jones, Max Hustwick Joe Hicks and Collins barely put a foot wrong all match, but it was the youngest of the four Collins who was undeniably Swans’ man of the match, having a superb game, be it defending or getting forward down the left.

Colliers Wood had a couple of early set-pieces, a corner and a free-kick from halfway, with neither posing a threat to Swans, but the opening exchanges were generally cagey, with both sides getting used to the conditions and reluctant to get men too far forward. It was eighteen minutes into the match before either side had an opportunity. A rare mistake saw Swans lose the ball close to halfway, allowing their former striker Seb Osei-Obengo to get forward, but he finished with a low shot wide of the right post from outside of the box. The home side had another opportunity when Nathan West laid the ball off to Alex Nunes in the left of the box to get in a shot that took a deflection to go over. Swans’ goalkeeper Liam Allen saw his first serious action after 27 minutes, tipping the ball over his crossbar when Owen Roberts got in a far-post header from West’s right-side corner. Allen then made a confident catch from West’s second corner from the left.

Swans had been playing well, without seriously threatening the home goal, but some fine play by Palace Francis on the right allowed him to lay the ball in low to Alex Kelly, whose shot took a deflection off Owen Roberts to go behind for a corner. Swans immediately took the lead with half an hour played, and it came from more superb play by Francis on the right. Kelly supplied the pass for Francis to make a typical run into the box, but despite the angle being tight and there being little sign of an opening, Swans’ top scorer was able to drive a superb, left-foot shot low into the far corner.

Swans were incensed when a clear foul just outside the box on their right was not called and Osei-Obengo was allowed to play the ball across to Tyreke Leslie on the right. The other former Swans’ striker made room before forcing Allen into a good save with a push round his near-post, the keeper then being shown a yellow card for his protests. Swans’ goal had encouraged the home side to get more men forward and they forced another corner on the left, but the ball was cleared away from the near-post after West and Bradley Williams had played it short. Anthony Nazareth then got into the right of the box before laying the ball off to Leslie, whose driven, low cross was superbly cut out by Allen.

At the other end Zach Dainkeh laid the ball off to Munting 30 yards out, and he sent a good shot wide of the left post. With five minutes remaining of the half Swans had a great chance to double their lead when Dainkeh got Harry Mills free into the left of the box, but his attempt to find the far corner with a low, left-foot shot was just wide of the far-post. A terrific piece of build-up play ended with Munting getting into the right of the box to lay the ball back to Kelly, whose shot was straight at home keeper Ben Roberts.

Swans had made a really strong finish to the half, and Mills got past Nazareth to get into the box on the left and have a low cross cleared behind for a corner. The kick was played short for Mills to send a great cross into the box and Hustwick to power a header past Foster, to give him his first goal for Swans since making his original debut for them almost 21 years previously.

Early in the second-half Williams glanced a header wide for the home side when West delivered a free-kick from deep on the right. Swans soon had a free-kick of their own, from a similar position, and it almost led to them taking a 3-0 lead. Reece Brewster delivered the ball into the box, and Mills was close to the penalty-spot to leap and get in a fine, glancing header that looked certain to find the goal, but Roberts made an excellent save, diving to his left to push the ball wide.

The home side had another free-kick 30 yards out, but Williams drove the ball straight through to Allen. Osei-Obengo made a clever run on the right, but his low cross couldn’t find Daryl Hay in the box, and another free-kick from deep on the right by West tried to find Owen Roberts at the far-post, but the ball glanced off his head and harmlessly wide. Greg Andrews had come on for Colliers Wood, and he had an opportunity with a free-kick awarded outside the left corner of the box. Swans’ supporters will probably remember his expertise from such situations from his time at their club, and although he struck the ball well, it flew just wide of the far-post.

A free-kick deep on the left gave Brewster another opportunity to deliver a good ball into the home box, and Pratley-Jones was at the far-post to head it back across for Mills to try an overhead kick, but he failed to make clean contact. Despite the home side having a number of half-chances Swans had looked comfortable at 2-0, and with just under a quarter of an hour remaining they effectively made the game safe with a third goal. Brewster struck a great pass from deep on the right to find Kelly in space on the left, and he got into the box for a superb finish into the far corner.

Swans took the opportunity to make substitutions, and two of them, Onur Bakici and Darren Simpson, were instrumental in setting up their fourth goal. Bakici got free on the right before laying the ball in to Simpson, and when Darryl Siaw, who had come on earlier, found room on the edge of the box, he got in a shot that took a deflection before finding the back of the net.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones (Jordayne Henry 76’), Louis Collins, Reece Brewster (Onur Bakici 81’), Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills, Zach Dainkeh (Darren Simpson 78’), Alex Kelly, Jacob Munting (Darryl Siaw 71’), Palace Francis. Sub. not used: Harry Pointing. Scorers: Francis (30’), Hustwick (44’), Kelly (76’), Siaw (85.’). Caution: Allen, dissent (33’).

Colliers Wood Team: B. Roberts, Nazareth, Murphy, Nunes (Andrews 64’), Wilson, O. Roberts, Leslie (Tan 40’), West (Fofanah 76’), Osei-Obengo, Williams. Hay (Walker 76’). Sub. not used: Thompson. Cautions: Wilson, foul (49’), Nazareth, foul (64’), Williams, foul (70’).