Jersey Bulls 1 Swans 0

Saturday 19th October 2019. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Division One.

Jersey Bulls 1 Walton & Hersham 0.

Swans came as close as anyone has this season to puncturing the Channel Island club’s 100% record, but a goal scored with just twelve minutes of normal-time remaining ended their hopes. Those hopes had been temporarily raised late in the first-half when they thought they had taken the lead, but a Parish Muirhead goal that was originally given was ruled out for handball following a discussion between the referee and his assistant. There can be no argument that the home side had several good chances before they finally went ahead, but great credit must be given to a Swans’ side that stuck to a game-plan and stayed well-organised throughout with a battling display. A surprising element of the game was that the new sin-bin rule, that seems to have been rarely put into practice this season, was enforced no fewer than four times in the match, with both side having two players receiving ten-minute temporary dismissals. Swans were soon forced onto the defensive, and when a clearance from home goalkeeper Euan Van der Vliet found Zeljko Martinovic on the left, his low cross had to be put behind for a corner at the near-post. Ruben Mendes-Pestana then shot wide of the right-post from the edge of the box after Daryl Wilson had laid the ball back to him. Jersey continued to impress with their neat passing game, and when Wilson cut in from the left he got in a shot from the corner of the box, but it lacked the power to seriously trouble Swans’ keeper Jordan Johnson. Swans had been pretty well pinned back in their own half, but they broke the shackles after ten minutes when Tyreke Leslie beat Bulls’ left-back Jay Giles on the right to get into the box, but he was just closed out. A long ball threatened to get Wilson clear for Jersey, but the danger was superbly cut-out by Justin Hemmings’ interception. There was another opportunity for the home side with a free-kick awarded ten yards outside the box on the left, but Sol Solomon put it wide of the right-post. Martinovic then made space on the edge of the box to get in a shot that was deflected for a corner on the right. From the kick Jack Griffin put a strong header over the goal. Swans had had little opportunity to threaten the home goal, but with twenty minutes played clever play by Leslie on the right got him past his marker. He laid the ball inside to Muirhead on the edge of the box, but he was just denied from getting a shot away. Jersey soon threatened again when a slick bout of passing in the box set up Harry Cardwell, but he stabbed a good chance wide of the right-post. Hemmings made a break forward on the right for Swans, and brought a bout of appreciative applause from the Jersey supporters in the nearby stand with consecutive, clever feints, that took him past two home players. Jersey spurned another good chance following a free-kick deep on the right when Griffin shot wide of the right-post from the edge of the box as the ball was knocked back from the left. Mo Ghailan’s knock forward for Swans got Leslie in on goal, but his attempt to lob Van der Vliet could only send the ball looping into his gloves. The home keeper was soon given a more serious test when Seb Osei-Obengo got free into the left of the box, just keeping out a low shot at his near-post. Jordan Simmons followed up on the left to drive the ball across the 6 yard box, with Leslie just failing to get to it at the back-post. Despite Jersey’s pressure on his goal, Van der Vliet’s opposite number Johnson had not been seriously tested, but just before the half hour the Swans’ keeper made a fine save to beat away a shot from Cardwell, who had been set up close to the penalty-spot. Swans had settled into the game as the half had progressed, and with 37 minutes played thought they had taken the lead. An attempt to kick clear by Van der Vliet was blocked by Muirhead just outside the box on the right, and he was able to get past the exposed keeper and roll the ball into an empty net. The referee initially saw nothing untoward and awarded the goal, but after discussion with his assistant changed his mind, apparently for handball by the Swans’ midfielder. Johnson did well to come out and deny Martinovic in the left of the box, but the interval was reached with his side deservedly on level terms. Jersey were again quick out of the blocks in the second-half, and Martinovic cut in from the left to send a shot over. Mendes-Pestana then got free in the left of the box to lay the ball inside to Solomon in front of goal, but he mishit his shot and Johnson was able to go down and save on his line. Immediately, five minutes into the second-half, Jersey’s Luke Campbell said something untoward to the referee and was sent to the sin-bin, leaving his side to play out the next ten minutes a player short. They were still able to test Johnson in Swans’ goal, a fine strike from 35 yards by Kamen Nafkha forcing an excellent tip-over save from the keeper. James Queree then dragged another good chance wide of Swans’ goal after the ball had been crossed in from the left following a right-side corner. A misplaced pass in the middle of the pitch allowed Cardwell to get clear on the left, but again the home side could not find the target, the ball being driven wide of the far-post from the edge of the box. Johnson then again did well to tip the ball over his crossbar when Giles sent in a free-kick from 30 yards out. With just over a quarter of an hour remaining Nafkha became the second Bulls’ player to spend time in the sin-bin for something said. The breakthrough finally soon came for his side however. Mendes-Pestana had a shot from the right of the 6 yard box deflected behind for a corner. The kick was played short on the right, and when the ball was crossed in Campbell was at the far-post to tuck it home. Sam Marfo immediately became the first Swans’ player to be sin-binned. With just over five minutes remaining Swans won a free-kick out by the left corner flag, and when the ball was crossed in by substitute Simeon Dennis, Hamzah Williams was just denied at the near-post as it was put behind for his side’s first corner of the match. In the final minute of normal-time Muirhead became the second Swans’ player to be sent to the sin-bin after throwing the ball down, leaving his side temporarily down to nine men. There was still a chance to salvage a draw however as Leslie got down the left before cutting back and driving in a low, right-foot shot that Van der Vliet kept out at his near-post. Jersey’s Fraser Barlow shot wide of the far-post after being found in the left of the box, but Swans had one last opportunity with a free-kick centrally placed ten yards inside the home half, but Alvin Sarmiento’s delivery into the box was headed away.

Swans’ Team: Jordan Johnson, Hamzah Williams, Jordan Simmons, Munashe Mwatsiya (Arif Hattabi 75’), Justin Hemmings, Sam Marfo, Tyreke Leslie, Parish Muirhead, Seb Osei-Obengo (Simeon Dennis 69’), Anderson Pinto-Nogueira, Mo Ghailan (Alvin Sarmiento 82’). Subs. not used: Miguel Lopes de Matos, Michael Winnister. Cautions: Pinto-Nogueira, foul (32’), Simmons, foul (63’). Sin-bins: Marfo (78’), Muirhead (90’).

Jersey Team: Van der Vliet, Queree, Giles, Griffin, Campbell, Nafkha, Cardwell, Mendes-Pestana, Wilson (Barlow 64’), Solomon (Gabbiadini 78’), Martinovic (Trotter 64’). Subs. not used: Logue, Scott. Scorer: Campbell (78’). Cautions: Giles, foul (41’), Van der Vliet, time-wasting (90+5’). Sin-bins: Campbell (50’), Nafkha (73’).