Swans 1 Guernsey 2

Saturday 21 November 2015.                           Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 1   Guernsey 2.

For the second match running Swans were left wondering how they had not turned their domination into a win. The Channel Islanders had been under almost constant pressure for the opening 35 minutes as Swans put together some excellent attacks, but it was they who then opened the scoring. That was to prove to be one of just four chances they had, from which they accepted two, whereas Swans’ opportunities probably ran into double figures.

Manager Tony Reid was left with defensive problems before the match with goalkeeper Jack Howard and Femi Ismail joining Regan Mendes on the injured list, as well as both regular full-backs, John Oyenuga and Dominic Ogun, serving suspensions. James King and Shannon Wallace filled those full-back spots, while Sean Fallon returned in goal. Kadeem Ajeon also returned, while Jordan Johnson, who had a spell with Swans last season, came in for a first start.

Swans pressed from the first whistle and Jack Battie drove the ball low across the box from the right, but Aaron Watson just failed to get a touch at the far-post. Watson then put Wallace away on the left, but after getting clear the ball just ran away from him and over the byline.

The visitors’ first attack came when Ross Allen got to the line on the left to cut the ball back, but Fallon took it at the near-post.

At the other end Andrew Mensah played Johnson into the box, but he was just denied. With a quarter of an hour played Johnson set up Battie five yards outside the box, and he struck a low shot that forced Guernsey keeper Chris Tardif to dive and push the ball round his left-post. Watson then put Mensah into the left of the box, and he forced a corner. Swans attacks continued, and it was then Watson who broke on to Ajeon’s pass to get into the box on the left, but his shot was pushed away by Tardif. Another effort was blocked, and when the ball finally came to Johnson to the right of goal he shot over. Another corner was won when Johnson’s good ball again got Watson into the left of the box. Swans then won a free-kick 25 yards out, and Tardif could only push the ball away when Battie struck it well, but no-one was following up to capitalise. Swans continued to make inroads down the left, and Battie again got Mensah into the box, but his shot was blocked. Another raid down the left was set up by André Scarlett when he put Mensah away. He played the ball inside to Watson, whose shot took a deflection to go behind for a corner.

But after almost constant Swans’ attacks it was the Green Lions who took the lead against the run of play ten minutes before the break. A simple through ball by Guillermo Gonzalez put Dominic Heaume clear, and he drove the ball low past the advancing Fallon from the edge of the box.

Three minutes later there was a chance to make it 2-0 when Allen was played into the right of the box to get in a shot, but the ball was pushed round his near-post by Fallon.

But Swans deservedly equalised with two minutes of normal-time left of the half when they won a free-kick out on the left. Battie drove the ball across to the far-post, where Mensah planted a firm header past Tardif.

Swans won another free-kick five minutes after the resumption just outside the right corner of the box, but Johnson drove the ball straight through to keeper Tardif.

Immediately a lack of concentration almost cost Swans another goal when Guernsey were allowed to get the ball over from the right. Heaume was unmarked at the far-post, but Fallon just managed to keep the ball out.

Tardif was brought into action at the other end when Harry Mills drove in a low shot from wide on the left. The visitors’ keeper could not hold onto the ball, but he just recovered in time to deny the incoming Mensah.

Just past the hour Guernsey’s Craig Young got into the left of the box, but his low shot went wide of the far-post.

Battie then made a good run on the right for Swans, and when he played the ball in low Mensah had a shot deflected behind for a corner.

Then, with just over 20 minutes remaining, Guernsey caught Swans on the break again, to go ahead for the second-time. Allen does not miss many chances with the goal in his sights, and when he found space in the right of the box he shot past Fallon into the far corner.

This seemed to deflate Swans, and although they continued to have most of the possession, the visitors got men behind the ball, making it difficult to create openings.

Swans’ Team: Sean Fallon, James King, Shannon Wallace, André Scarlett, James Richmond, Harry Mills, Jordan Johnson (David Koduah 81’), Kadeem Ajeon, Andrew Mensah (Shaquille McIntosh 65’), Jack Battie (Sam Pledger 71’), Aaron Watson. Subs. not used: Shawn Lyle, Ryan Marklew. Scorer: Mensah (43’). Cautions: Battie, foul ((65’), Scarlett, foul (72’).    

Guernsey Team: Tardif, Geall, Isabelle, Dodd, Steel, Mahon (Dyer 45’), De La Mare (Black 59’), Gonzalez (Mackay 71’), Heaume, Allen, Young. Scorers: Heaume (35’), Allen (69’). Caution: Young, foul (79’).