Knaphill 0 Swans 6

Tuesday 28th December 2021.   Cherry Red Combined Counties League Premier Division South.

Knaphill 0    Walton & Hersham 6.

Playing their first match in 17 days, Swans made a rapid return to top spot in the table, after briefly dropping to second, following a dominant display at Redding Way. A goal after just two minutes gave them the platform to go on and completely dominate the game, giving the home side little opportunity to get back into the contest. That early goal was scored from the penalty-spot by Harry Mills, who then went on to complete a hat-trick of spot-kicks, almost certainly a unique feat by a Swans’ player. It was fitting that he should do that on what was his, including substitute appearances, 100th match for Swans. Mills took over from regular penalty taker Palace Francis, who has moved to National League club Bromley, and despite missing a couple earlier in the season he was unerring from the spot, recording a perfect treble of right corner, middle and left corner.

Francis’s place in the side was taken by new signing from Sutton Common Rovers Ollie Twum, who had a fine debut and looked an ideal replacement, being brought down for two of the penalties and scoring a goal himself. Darry Siaw also came into the starting line-up, making his first appearance since mid-October.

Inside the first minute Swans built up a good move on the left and Twum cut into the box on the byline before being brought down. Mills made no mistake with the penalty, driving the ball confidently into the right corner.

Mills was soon nodding the ball down in the box from a left-side cross to almost set up an opening for Eddie Simon, but home goalkeeper Jos Barker just denied him.

Knaphill posed their first threat after ten minutes with a break on the right, but former Swan Marlon Plnder’s header from the cross was comfortably taken by keeper Liam Allen.

Twum was soon seizing on a loose ball to cut into the home box from the left and make room for a shot that was blocked away. Swans had settled into their neat passing game, with most of the final thrusts coming down the left as Twum and Louis Collins linked up well. Collins sent over a fine cross that sailed over keeper Barker, but dipped just over the far, top corner.

It was another fine move on the left that resulted in Swans doubling their lead after twenty minutes. Collins delivered the final cross into the 6 yard-box for Dominic Ogun to stoop and guide a clever header into the far corner.

Collins got in a good strike from fully 35 yards out that dipped just over, and Twum cut in from the left to the corner of the box to send a shot just over the far, top corner. Swans continued to pin the home side in their own half, and another fine passage of play on the right got Ogun through to the byline, from where he did well to get the ball over, but Barker was able to cut the cross out at his near-post. Simon then made a clever forward run to almost play Ogun in on goal.

Knaphill soon made a rare inroad into Swans’ final third, and another former player Wayne Ridgley got in a low shot from outside the box that was straight at Allen on his line.

Swans continued to dominate however, and some fine play by Mills close to the corner of the box on the right led to him sending a left-foot shot dipping just over. As the half entered the final five minutes Swans extended their lead with their second penalty, and again it was the debutant Twum that forced the foul. Some terrific play on the left again got him driving in on the byline before he was brought down. Mills again took on the responsibility of the spot-kick, and this time he dinked the ball, with shades of Panenka, down the middle of the goal.

There was still time remaining for a chance to make it 4-0, as a fine move started by Jacob Munting led to Alex Kelly playing Ogun into the box, but after making space he drove over the bar.

Kelly was soon making a fine run in the second-half to find Ogun in the box, but the ball took a deflection to go over when he turned to get in a shot. But, just five minutes into the half, Swans made it 4-0 with a super goal. An excellent move ended with Ogun playing Twum into the right of the box to neatly slip the ball into the far-corner.

Mills was soon making a fine run on the right before driving the ball low across the 6 yard-box. It continued to be one-way traffic towards the home goal, a terrific move by Swans outside the box leading to Ogun having a shot blocked, and Simon to follow up with a strike from 22 yards that keeper Barker kept out on his line.      .

Just before the hour Swans made it 5-0 with their third penalty of the evening when Kelly burst into the box before being crudely hacked down. Mills completed his hat-trick of spot-kicks, this time beating Barker to his right.Collins made a good run forward on the left that took him clear into the box, but he then shot disappointingly well wide of the near-post.

Allen had had a quiet evening in Swans’ goal, but midway through the half Knaphill’s Connor Holland got through to the right edge of the box to get in a low shot that the keeper saved on his line.

Swans immediately made a triple substitution, making it five in the second-half, one of the replacements being Shaun Joash, who was making his first appearance since early August. With ten minutes remaining Munting set up Joash just outside the box, and he got in a good left-foot strike that Barker did well to tip over.

Five minutes later it was 6-0 to Swans. Substitute Will Kouadio found Simon on the left, and he cut in to the edge of the box before curling a superb shot into the far, top corner. Munting then made a terrific run into the right of the box to get in a strong shot that Barker beat away.

The home side had barely posed a threat to Swans’ goal, but two minutes into added-on time they forced a corner, their first of the match, on the right. Allen had been virtually a spectator in goal, but after punching away following the kick, he was alert enough to make a good block as a shot came in. He then made an even better save as a follow-up strike was driven in from outside the box, deflecting the ball over his top, left corner.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Darryl Siaw (Stuart Baldwin 63’), Louis Collins, Jacob Munting, Max Hustwick (Harry Pointing 69’), Joe Hicks, Harry Mills (Reece Brewster 69’), Eddie Simon, Dominic Ogun, Alex Kelly (Shaun Joash 69’), Ollie Twum (Will Kouadio 59’). Scorers: Mills, 3 penalties (2’, 42’ & 58’), Ogun (20’), Twum (50’), Simon (85’).

Knaphill Team: Barker, Tanner, Rumble, Horkan, Kellett-Smith, Butler, Ridgeley (L. Taylor 79’), Lambe (Williamson 45’), Azzouz (Holland 45’), Westney, Pinder. Subs. not used: Babchynitser, Sabek. Caution: Tanner, foul (40’).