Corinthian-Casuals 0 Swans 1

Saturday 2 February 2013.                                               Ryman League, Division One South.


Corinthian-Casuals 0    Walton & Hersham 1.

For the second match running Swans had to battle to hold onto a slender 1-0 lead with ten men after having a player sent-off. This time they succeeded after having to play all of the second-half a man short following Adriano Moraes’ dismissal during the half-time interval. It took a hard-working, disciplined second-half performance to see them through to their first-double of the season as they repeated their earlier 1-0 win over Casuals at Stompond Lane. With the home side just below them in the table, this was an important three points for Swans.

With Liam Flanighan having served his one-match suspension, he returned at left-back in place of Matt Holliday, while Connor French came in for Jaymo Ellis.

Swans looked somewhat uncertain at the back during the early stages, and when a high cross was played in from the left by Casuals the ball ran free to Joel Thompson inside the right of the box, but he dragged his shot wide of the far-post. Jamie Byatt then turned inside the left of the six-yard box to drive in a shot to the near-post that Swans’ goalkeeper Chris Manderson went down to take. With a quarter of an hour played Casuals sent in a free-kick from deep on the left touchline, and when the ball was nodded back at the far-post Danny Green volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box.

Swans gradually settled, but it was midway through the first-half before they created an opportunity. Moraes’ terrific diagonal pass from deep on the left picked out French in space wide on the right, but home keeper Danny Bracken just got out to deny him and claim the ball. Moraes then sent a free-kick forward for Graeme Purdy to chest the ball down to Tom Hayden, but his first-time half-volley flew well over. A fine ball over the top by Chris Wales almost got Purdy clear down the middle, but the ball was just hacked clear before he could pounce. With ten minutes left to the break Flanighan took a throw-in from the left, and when the ball fell to French inside the left of the six-yard box he got in a clever overhead kick, and Bracken just kept the ball out of the far-corner of his goal.

The home side immediately had a great chance to take the lead when a long ball got Dave Hodges bursting through a high Swans’ back-line on the left, but he drove his effort over the bar.

Swans responded with Flanighan getting Purdy into the left of the box, and he did superbly to get past his marker before playing the ball in to the near-post, where it was cleared off the goal-line. But with three minutes of normal-time remaining of the half Victor Kiri nodded the ball forward to find Purdy on the left edge of the six-yard box, and with the Casuals’ defence slow to respond to the danger, Purdy turned well and slotted a left-foot shot home to give Swans the lead.

The home side had a chance to pull level before the break when Byatt broke clear on the left, but with Thompson well placed in the middle Byatt chose to shoot, and Manderson did well to push the ball round his near-post. In first-half stoppage time Matt Ellis sent in a free-kick from just inside Swans’ half, and when Manderson could not hold onto the ball under pressure, it had to be hacked clear.

Then with the referee close to blowing the whistle for half-time Moraes was involved in a melee with several members of the Casuals’ team close to the players’ tunnel, and the pushing and shoving continued as the teams left the pitch. The referee showed Moraes a red card during the interval, apparently for a head-butt by the Brazilian.

Despite starting the second-half a player short Swans began on the attack, soon forcing a corner, and from Hayden’s kick from the right Chris Grayland’s header at the far-post was just kept out. French then got into the right of the box to drive in a shot that took a deflection to go behind at the near-post.

Casuals had a chance to equalise when Manderson dashed out to the right of his area but failed to claim the ball, leaving Thompson to collect and get in a low cross that was just smuggled away off the goal-line by Grayland. Swans had to withstand further pressure as Casuals’ substitute David Ocquaye headed over from Ellis’s high ball in from the left, and Hodges lobbed over the goal when Jason Turley’s long ball got him clear down the left.

Swans made a double substitution, with Michael Gordon coming on for Purdy and John Clark replacing Hayden, and with twenty minutes remaining Gordon played the ball through to Clark on the left, but after getting forward into space he sent a low shot just wide of the far-post. A further opportunity to clinch the win came when French was brought down on the right edge of the box. Wales chose to square the free-kick across to Liam Collins, but he drove the ball over the bar.

As the match approached the final five minutes a high ball found Casuals’ Byatt on the left, and when he laid the ball in Wales had to clear off the line at the near-post. Manderson then just denied Byatt again, clearing behind for a corner, but Swans held on for a valuable three points.

Swans’ Team: Chris Manderson, Steve Betancourt, Liam Flanighan, Adriano Moraes, Chris Grayland, Victor Kiri, Connor French (Jaymo Ellis 85’), Chris Wales, Graeme Purdy (Michael Gordon 66’), Liam Collins, Tom Hayden (John Clark 66’). Subs. not used: Audie Matheson-Light, Courtney Warren. Scorer: Purdy (42’). Cautions: French, did not retire at free-kick (71’), Ellis, dissent (90+3’). Dismissal: Moraes, violent conduct (45’).   

Casuals’ Team: Bracken, Dudley (McKee 88’), Ellis, Gough, Hicks (Amaechi 45’), Turley, Thompson (Ocquaye 52’), Green, Byatt, Alimi, Hodges. Subs. not used: Davies, Akinwwande. Cautions: Dudley, foul (52’), Alimi, foul (66’).