Swans 1 East Grinstead Town 1

Saturday 11 April 2015.                           Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 1   East Grinstead Town 1.

A poor second-half performance against a team that played the whole of the final 45 minutes with ten men left Swans still not safe from dropping into the third relegation spot. Despite taking the lead from the penalty-spot in the final minute of normal-time of the first-half, and the visitors having a player sent off at the same time, Swans failed to push on in the second period, allowing their opponents to make light of their depleted ranks. The League newcomers, on their first competitive visit to Stompond Lane, had already gone close several times, including having a penalty of their own saved, when they equalised with just over a quarter of an hour remaining, and from then on the result could have gone either way.

With Vernon Francis reporting sick André Scarlett came back into the side, while Ben Chick was given a first start against his former club. Manager Tony Reid was also absent due to work commitments, with assistant Martin Beard taking charge of the side.

With just two minutes on the watch some clever play by Swans’ Shawn Lyle close to the by-line on the left ended with him driving the ball low across the goal-face, with Chick just unable to get a touch at the far-post.

At the other end goalkeeper Gary Ross took a looping header from Marc Pelling after Steve Sargent had sent a free-kick into the box.

With a quarter of an hour played Swans’ Tarome Hemmings’ through ball almost got Lyle in on goal, but Wasps’ keeper Seb Bos was out to deny him.

Midway through the half the visitors broke following a home attack and Tom Carlse got into the left of the box, but he drove his shot over. The visitors threatened again when Lee Prescott laid the ball inside from the left to Ricky Freeman, who struck a shot wide from 25 yards.

Swans had enjoyed most of the attacking play, without seriously threatening, but they took the lead in the final minute of the half. Scarlett’s excellent through ball sent James Cottee away down the middle, and he surged between two converging defenders to get clear into the box. He was then held back, forcing him to shoot wide, and the referee immediately awarded a penalty. Matt Harden had only been on the pitch for a quarter of an hour, the East Grinstead substitute having replaced the injured Sargent, and he was adjudged to have denied a goal-scoring opportunity and was sent off. Cottee then drilled home his fourth penalty of the season.

Swans had looked comfortable after the resumption, until ten minutes in Freeman was allowed to break into the right of the box. With Harry Mills shielding his run Freeman went down under minimal contact and the referee again pointed to the spot. Freeman elected to take the spot-kick himself, but Ross made a superb save, diving to his right to push the ball away before falling on it.

Swans almost capitalised on the reprieve when Hemmings’ fine pass put Cottee free on the left, but after cutting inside he drove his shot over. On the hour Jake Bedford, soon after coming on for Chick, got to the by-line on the right before playing the ball in low to the near-post, but Cottee could only deflect it wide. Bedford was then played into the left of the six-yard box, but his shot was cleared behind for a corner at the near-post

Despite being a man short the visitors looked threatening, and with a quarter of the match remaining Carlse crossed the ball from the left to the near-post, and Ross made a great block from Andy Irvine’s close-in shot. Swans continued to look shaky, and they conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position right on the edge of the box. Jon-Paul Collier’s shot hit the defensive wall and the ball was deflected for a corner on the left. Following the kick the ball was driven in from the edge of the box, and was then put over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

Swans however went close to doubling their lead when Cottee put Lyle away on the left, but after getting into the box his low shot went just wide of the far-post, with Bedford just failing to get a touch as he followed in.

But after 73 minutes the visitors got the equaliser they had been threatening. Freeman challenged Ed Mason for the ball close to the right touchline and just managed to keep it in play. He immediately whipped a low cross to the far-post, where substitute Richmond Kissi stole in to knock the ball past Ross.

Swans soon had a chance to regain the lead when Bedford played Lyle in on the left, but he tried to hit the ball early and it flew yards wide of the near-post. Lyle then crossed the ball in low from the right, but it was cleared behind for a corner at the near-post to just deny Bedford. As the match entered stoppage-time substitute Jack Battie made a good run forward before striking a strong shot from outside the box, but keeper Bos got well behind the ball and Swans had to see another win slip out of their grasp.

Swans’ Team: Gary Ross, Nathan Daly, Ed Mason, André Scarlett, Jahmahl King, Harry Mills, Tarome Hemmings (Jack Battie 73’), Anthony Oaks, Shawn Lyle, James Cottee, Ben Chick (Jake Bedford 57’). Sub. not used: Martin Beard. Scorer: Cottee, penalty (45’). Caution: King (55’).

East Grinstead Team: Bos, Sargent (Harden 29’), Carlse, Sinclair, Pelling, Cumberbatch, Pykes, Prescott (Harding 45’), Freeman, Irvine (Kissi 67’), Collier. Subs. not used: Hart, Hysi. Scorer: Kissi (73’). Caution: Bos (90+3’). Dismissal: Harden (45’).