Swans 0 Burgess Hill Town 2

Saturday 28 February 2015.                           Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 0   Burgess Hill Town 2.

This proved to be another frustrating afternoon for Swans as they looked well capable of getting a result against the runaway, unbeaten division leaders until they conceded a soft goal against the run of play after 25 minutes. They were again in a period of dominance in the second-half when they conceded again, and it was disappointing that despite there looking little between the two sides Swans failed to seriously trouble visiting goalkeeper Josh James throughout the match.

They again had to reshuffle their defence as Martin Beard was unfit and Louis Clark unavailable. Harry Mills was available to return and filled the troublesome left-back spot vacated due to Dominic Ogun’s long-term injury. Sacha Mbaye came in to partner Jahmahl King in central defence, playing his first game for the club since the beginning of October, Jack Battie was given a start in place of Tarome Hemmings and Vernon Francis returned for André Scarlett.

Swans started well, and after six minutes Josh Cover and Battie combined on the left, and when Cover got the ball across Andrew Mensah put a header over. Mensah was then just denied at the far-post when Cover again crossed from the left, and Nathan Daly followed up to strike a powerful shot wide from 35 yards. A free-kick taken by King found Cover on the left, and he put in another excellent cross that Mensah just failed to get a head on at the far-post. With a quarter of an hour played Daly took a long throw from the right, and the ball had to be put behind for a corner. Daly then drove the ball in low from the right to the near-post, but James Cottee could only deflect the ball into the hands of James.

It was eighteen minutes before Burgess Hill threatened, Pat Harding getting in a shot from outside the box that home keeper Gary Ross got well behind. Swans continued to dominate, so it was disappointing that they went behind after 25 minutes, and in the manner the goal was conceded. Sam Fisk took a long throw from the right, and when the ball found its’ way to the left of the box it was allowed to be played across and Lee Harding just got his head to it and it looped into the far-corner.

A yellow card for Mbaye seemed harsh, as was the free-kick given when he seemed to win the ball cleanly outside the box on the right, but from the kick Swans were able to break and Mensah almost got through. Battie followed up with a low shot that James took comfortably.

The visitors had shown little of the qualities that had carried all before them this season, but as the half entered the final five minutes Pat Harding did well on the right, and when he played the ball low across a chance opened up at the far-post, but the shot was blocked.

Swans came out for the second-half in determined fashion, and seven minutes in Battie did superbly well to keep the ball on the left, and when he got the ball inside Cover was unfortunate his shot was deflected through to keeper James.

But after 57 minutes the visitors doubled their lead, and it was again against the run of play. A simple lob forward got Pat Harding through into the box, but just as Mbaye seemed to have snuffed out the chance with a good tackle the ball ran loose, and Rob O’Toole rolled it past an exposed Ross.

From then on there looked little danger Swans could come back from 2-0 down, although Anthony Oaks struck a fine effort wide when the ball came to him 25 yards out. James then took the ball well at his near-post when Battie drove in a low corner-kick from the right, but it was Burgess Hill who went close to extending their lead with just over ten minutes remaining, Mbaye clearing a close-in shot off the goal-line.

Swans’ Team: Gary Ross, Nathan Daly, Harry Mills, Anthony Oaks, Jahmahl King (Ed Mason 61’), Sacha Mbaye, Jack Battie, Vernon Francis, Andrew Mensah, James Cottee (Gareth Chendlik 71’), Joshua Cover (Shawn Lyle 64’). Subs. not used: Tarome Hemmings, André Scarlett. Caution: Mbaye, foul (33’).

Burgess Hill Team: James, Tuck, Fisk, Budd (Martin 72’), Pearson, Miles, Kirkwood (Bold 88’), Keehan, P. Harding, L. Harding, O’Toole (Saunders 81’). Subs. not used: Taylor, Franzen-Jones. Scorers: L. Harding (25’), O’Toole (57’).