Friendly: St. Albans City

Saturday 23 July 2011. Pre-Season Friendly.

Walton & Hersham 1 St. Albans City 0.

An early goal from Phil Williams gave a skeleton Swans’ squad a win in their second pre-season friendly on the all-weather surface at Matthew Arnold School, Staines. A whole host of players were unavailable due to holidays, etc., including Gareth Williams, Chris Wales, Shaun Elliott, Damian Matthews, Richard Taylor, Sean Bradley, Victor Kiri, Graeme Purdy and Kenny Ojukwu. The only goal came after three minutes when Ashley Quashie’s pass found Phil Williams on the left, and he cleverly lobbed the St. Albans’ goalkeeper from outside the box.

Swans proceeded to dominate the match, and after half an hour Reis Stainslaus put just wide when Tommy Williams’ free-kick from the left found him at the near-post. Stanislaus then sent in a good strike from the right that the keeper did well to tip over, and Jon Munday headed just over when Harry Smart crossed from the left. Swans continued to have the best of the play as the second-half opened, and Stanislaus was soon playing the ball through to Phil Williams on the left, and he ghosted past his marker before shooting across the goal. Stanislaus struck a shot from the edge of the box that took a deflection to pass just wide, and then cut in from the right to put a low shot past the near-post. Last season’s youth team captain Steve Betancourt was looking a fine prospect, and when he got forward on the right he struck a fine, low shot just wide of the near-post from the edge of the box.

The Saints’ keeper then had to take a good, dipping shot from Betancourt from 25 yards out on the right. A cross from the right then found George Harrowell in space inside the left of the box, and he put a first-time shot across goal. Midway through the second-half Swans carried on with ten men when Munday came off, and soon after the Saints had their first real opportunity of the match. A cross from the left struck a hand and a penalty was awarded, but Sheikh Ceesay kept up his fine record against spot-kicks by making a good save. Some terrific play by Phil Williams inside the right of the box almost set up a second Swans’ goal, but Stanislaus stabbed the ball just wide at the near-post. With five minutes remaining Jason Pinnock came off with a back injury, reducing Swans to nine men, and this gave the Saints the opportunity to salvage a draw. They had two chances to do so, but Ceesay made a fine block on the edge of the area when a Saints’ player was played through, and then a shot from the edge of the box went just over.

Swans’ Team: Sheikh Ceesay, Steve Betancourt (Trialist 45’), Ashley Quashie, Tommy Williams (Steve Betancourt 51’), Jon Munday, James Nicholls, Jason Pinnock, Harry Smart (Phil Williams 58’), Reis Stanislaus, Phil Williams (George Harrowell 51’), Russell Pym (Joe Goldsmith 45’).

Scorer: P. Williams (3’).