Swans 1 East Grinstead Town 3

Saturday 23 April 2016.                                 Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 1   East Grinstead Town 3.

Swans last chance of recording an elusive clean-sheet in this troubled season disappeared after 25 minutes when Veejay Miller tripped the visitors’ Christian Nanetti in the box, conceding a penalty. Hopes they had of building on their improved performance at South Park in midweek and that they could finally end their long losing run were also dashed three minutes later as they went 2-0 down. After halving the deficit they soon conceded again before half-time. If their 45 year unbroken membership of the Isthmian League does end this summer, the reasons were evident in this latest defeat, as the problems that have dogged them for most of the season again came to the fore. They made a good fist in the second-half of trying to come back from 3-1 down, and had several chances, but the task was again too great.

One change was made from the team that had played well in the previous match, Mark Corbett coming in for Scott Todd.

Swans were on the back-foot from the off and the visitors soon won a free-kick outside the left of the box, but Jordan Clarke drove the ball into the side-netting. Clarke immediately got down the left to get the ball across and Dylan Casey had to clear behind for a corner-kick. From the kick on the left a shot was blocked and James Fischett was left with a header in front of goal, but was off target.

Swans had survived a hectic opening, but with just over ten minutes played they had a chance when Ola Akinwande was played into the left of the Wasps’ box, but goalkeeper Nic Taylor was out to block. Lea Van Sullivan was then just denied a header at the far-post when Corbett crossed from the left.

With a quarter of an hour played Nanetti got into Swans’ box to get in a shot, but Seb Castello was able to block the ball. Home keeper Liam Beach then got well behind the ball when Jake McIntyre drove in a low shot from the left. Clarke then crossed from the left and Callum Emptage got in a far-post header that Beach did well to push wide.

But the penalty award soon followed and Trevor McCreadie drove the spot-kick past Beach.

Clarke was soon getting down the right to drive in a low cross that was blocked, and McCreadie followed up to put a header over at the far-post. But, with 28 minutes played, Danny Leonard was not closed down 25 yards out, and he drove a fine shot into the left, top corner to put the visitors 2-0 up.

Swans were given a lifeline ten minutes later in unexpected fashion when Wasps’ keeper Taylor needlessly pushed Gareth Chendlik in the back and the referee awarded a penalty. Chendlik elected to take the kick, only to see Taylor push the ball onto the left-post, but following a scramble the Swans’ player followed up to find the top of the net and halve the visitors’ lead.

This buoyed Swans and Casey got Michael Salako down the left, and he got to the byline to drive in a low cross that was cleared at the near-post.

But, as so often this season, Swans could not maintain their comeback, and in the final minute of the half they conceded again. Clarke got down the left before driving the ball low across goal, and McIntyre was unmarked at the far-post for a simple tap-in.

Three minutes into the second-half East Grinstead’s George Benner seemed to push Akinwande over in the box and Swans were certain it warranted another penalty, but the referee did not agree and waved play on. Just before the hour Akinwande lobbed the ball over from close to the byline on the right and Salako got in a header at the near-post that Taylor did well to tip over. Following Castello’s corner-kick from the right Chendlik had a shot cleared off the line. Corbett then got clear into the box, but the bounce was unkind and Taylor was able to force the ball away.

Swans were still in with a chance, and Corbett got in a shot from outside the box following Castello’s free-kick from the right, but it was straight at keeper Taylor. With just over ten minutes left Corbett and Salako combined to win a corner on the right, and from Castello’s kick Taylor just managed to claw the ball clear. Corbett then almost got through again, but had to settle for a corner on the left, and following the kick Casey got in a strong header at the far-post, but Taylor was there to take the ball. Castello’s through ball sent Corbett clear into the box, but Taylor again just denied him, and Chendlik was unable to follow in.

With five minutes remaining Nanetti got into the left of the box for the visitors, and Beach made a good save, pushing a strong shot wide of his near-post. Swans had been grateful to their young keeper on many occasions since he came into the side, and three minutes into stoppage-time he made another good save when East Grinstead got in on the right to drive in a shot.

Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Connor Channon, Veejay Miller, Cristiano Goncalves Neto (Theo Newton 68’), Lea Van Sullivan, Dylan Casey, Michael Salako, Sebastien Castello, Gareth Chendlik, Mark Corbett, Olakunle Akinwande (Kambo Smith 68’). Sub. not used: Gary MacDonald. Scorer: Chendlik (39’).        

East Grinstead Team: Taylor, Emptage (Gaggin 70’), Betancourt, Leonard, Fischett (King 76’), Benner (Peauroux 63’), Nanetti, Mazzone, McCreadie, Clarke, McIntyre. Subs. not used: Cassidy, Payne. Scorers: McCreadie, penalty (25’), Leonard (28’), McIntyre (44’).