Leatherhead 0 Swans 2

Monday 29th August 2022.                          Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

Leatherhead 0    Walton & Hersham 2.

Swans made it three league wins on the spin, and their first away from home, as they put on a fine performance at Fetcham Grove in the Surrey derby to make it a perfect Bank Holiday weekend. After a somewhat cagey first-half they really came into their own as an attacking force in the second, and deservedly came away with the three points.

Both Ollie Twum and Jordan Adeyemi had picked up injuries against Uxbridge, so Jude Molloy and Taurean Roberts both returned to the starting line-up, with Adeyemi named among the substitutes.

Both sides had free-kicks in the opening minutes. John Gilbert’s for Swans, from out on the right touchline, was cleared, while Joshua Webb’s for the Tanners, from deep on the right, was hit too long and passed harmlessly wide of the far-post.

The first quarter of an hour was incident free as the two sides played conservatively, but Swans had an opportunity when Molloy was played down the left to get in a good cross, but it was just too long to pick out Max Blackmore at the far-post. The home side responded with a dangerous cross from the right, but again it was over-hit, and Elliott Buchanan could not get his head on the ball at the far-post. Swans’ goalkeeper Liam Allen was worked for the first time after Leatherhead won a corner on the right. Webb played the kick short to Dave Tarpey, and then whipped in a low, left-foot cross that Mitchal Gough got a touch on by the near corner of the 6 yard-box, and Allen did well to save on his line, but he was fouled in the process by Danny Dudley.

Gilbert drove a good ball down the middle to try to find Blackmore in the box, and the ball deflected off the Tanners’ Louie Paget and into the path of the Swans’ striker, but home keeper Luke Williams managed to scramble clear at his feet. A fine build-up by Swans led to Dominic Ogun crossing from the right, but the ball went wide of the far-post. Eddie Simon then almost got Ogun through on the right, but he was denied by a good tackle from Keane Anderson.

Ogun was then shown the first yellow card for a foul on Tarpey. Webb’s free-kick from deep on the left was headed back at the far-post, but the ball was cleared in the box. Leatherhead had a good chance when Jerry O’Sullivan drove the ball into the box from deep on the right, and it eluded Joe Pratley-Jones to find Tarpey at the far-post, but the former Swans’ striker was stretching and poked it wide. Anderson then sent over a corner from the left and the ball was cleared to Buchanan, who drove in a low shot that was blocked on the line at the right post by Molloy. The ball came back to Buchanan, but he drove wildly over. The home side had hit a good spell, and when the ball broke to Archie Burnett in the right of the box he drove a shot over.

Simon was found on the right by Roberts for Swans, but his cross was too long.

The Tanners continued to threaten however, and when they were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out on the left Tarpey’s effort deflected off the defensive wall and the ball looped towards goal. Allen did well to gather the ball by the left post with Buchanan waiting to pounce.

With just under ten minutes left of the half Swans had their best opportunity to open the score. Another fine move led to Pratley-Jones getting forward and crossing into the box from the right. Blackmore got in front of Gough by the penalty-spot, but his header was straight at Williams. Pratley-Jones was then at the other end to head clear at the far-post when O’Sullivan sent in a cross from deep on the right.

A foul by O’Sullivan out by the left corner-flag gave Swans a free-kick, and Gilbert’s ball into the 6 yard-box was well punched clear by Williams. In the final minute of normal-time at the end of the first-half the ball broke to Simon on the right, and he forced a corner. Gilbert’s kick glanced off the head of Joe Hicks and the ball fell to Roberts outside the box on the left. He knocked the ball forward to Pratley-Jones, who hooked it over the goal from the edge of the box.

Straight from the resumption Tarpey got forward for the home side and threaded a fine pass through to get Buchanan into the left of the box, but Allen did superbly to come out and gather at his feet.

Fine play by Roberts in the middle of the pitch for Swans led to him clipping the ball out to Molloy on the left, and he drove forward before sending a great cross into the box. The ball just failed to find the head of Simon in front of goal and reached Blackmore at the far-post, but he could not make contact. Swans had looked far more positive coming forward in the second-half, and another fine move led to Gilbert laying the ball across from the left to Alex Kelly, who slipped a great pass through to Blackmore. Blackmore set up Ogun in space on the right, but he drove a left-foot shot just over.

Leatherhead played a long ball over the top and into Swans’ box, but terrific covering by Hicks denied Tarpey.

Swans had settled into their clever build-up play, and a fine move led to Gough handling the ball on the left edge of the box to deny Roberts and concede a free-kick in a promising position, but Gilbert sent the ball dipping wide of the left post.

O’Sullivan made a run in on the right for Leatherhead before laying off to Tarpey five yards outside the box, but Allen got well behind his low shot.

Swans responded with Simon getting Blackmore to the byline on the left, but there was no-one in the middle to get on the end of his cross. Kelly was in the centre-circle to get the ball out to Ogun on the right via Gilbert, and he made a clever run into the box to drive in a shot that Williams did well to claw away.

But Swans did not have to wait long to take the lead after 63 minutes. Ogun started the move on the right, and Gilbert laid the ball across to Roberts on the edge of the ‘D’. Roberts shifted the ball onto his right foot to sidestep Webb and curl a superb shot inside the right post.

Tanners’ substitute Reece Robins showed good feet by the right corner of the box to open up a chance, but his low, left foot shot was wide of the near-post. Jermaine McGlashan got past Molloy on the right to drive the ball across for fellow substitute Tom Bird to come in on the left and drive in a low shot that was blocked in the box, the flag then going up for offside against Buchanan. Webb’s ball out to the right found McGlashan, and he again got past Molloy and into the box before going down under a challenge from the Swans’ left-back, but penalty appeals always looked optimistic and Kelly was able to bring the ball clear.

Charlie Nicholas threaded a pass down the left to Molloy, who neatly flicked the ball on to Swans’ substitute Adeyemi . Adeyemi, who had come on for Blackmore, played a one-two with Gilbert, before cutting inside and getting in a shot that took a slight deflection off Gough to go wide of the far-post.

With normal-time running out Swans made the points safe. A passage of possession led to Molloy laying the ball back to Nicholas just inside his own half on the left, and he sent a terrific left-foot, diagonal pass to pick out Gilbert just outside the box on the right. Gilbert took advantage of hesitation by Bird, and Williams coming off his line, to lob the ball first time over the keeper and into the goal.

Leatherhead had a free-kick 40 yards out on the right, but Webb sent the ball straight through to Allen.

Swans went close to making it 3-0 five minutes into stoppage-time when Allen sent a kick downfield and Tanners’ defenders Bird and Dudley collided by the right corner of the box. Gilbert got possession, and laid the ball across to substitute Arsen Ujkaj in front of goal, but his left-foot shot was just blocked away by Williams  

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Jude Molloy, Alex Kelly, Charlie Nicholas, Joe Hicks, Dominic Ogun, Taurean Roberts (Reece Brewster 83’), Max Blackmore (Jordan Adeyemi 75’),  Eddie Simon (Arsen Ujkaj 66’), John Gilbert. Subs. not used: Nick Burgess, Will Kouadio. Scorers: Roberts (63’), Gilbert (89’). Caution: Ogun, foul (25’).

Leatherhead Team: Williams, Paget (Bird 67’), O’Sullivan, Webb, Dudley, Gough, Hellestoe (Robins 61’), Burnett (McGlashan 68’), Tarpey, Buchanan, Anderson. Subs. not used: Ojemen, Phair. Cautions: Webb (53’), Gough (80’).