Swans 1 Hanworth Villa 1

Saturday 12 August 2017.           Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Walton & Hersham 1   Hanworth Villa 1.

Swans began their second season in the Combined Counties League as they did their first, with a draw at home. This time they had the benefit of an early goal, but they came up against difficult opponents who equalised from the penalty-spot with just over a quarter of an hour played, and who looked like they will again be among the front runners.

One change was made from the side that had won convincingly in the FA Cup, Billy Witham making his debut in defence in place of the unavailable Jamie Thoroughgood.

Swans got off to the perfect start, taking the lead with under two minutes played. Sanchez Benali was found in space on the right, and he played Malachi Thomas into the right of the box, from where he drove a fine shot into the far corner to register his fourth goal in two games.

The visitors began to come into the game, and a cross from the right was met by Athan Smith-Joseph beyond the far-post, but his volley went over. But with 16 minutes on the watch they won a free-kick close to the left corner-flag. Jack Buckle’s kick reached the right of the box, where Cyril O’Cansey drove in a shot that was kept out at the near-post, but the ball was judged to have struck a hand. A penalty was awarded, and Buckle drove the ball into the bottom, left corner.

Midway through the half it took a fine block by Lea Van Sullivan to cut out the danger when Smith-Joseph broke on the right to drive in a low cross.

Benali tested Michael Eacott in the visitors’ goal with a low shot from 25 yards after being set up by Julian Hornby, the keeper pushing the ball away before it was scrambled clear. Eacott was again brought into action with just over ten minutes left of the half, diving to his left to push away a strong header from Sulllivan after Benali took a free-kick from deep on the right. With two minutes left to the break Benali played Thomas into the left of the box, and after cutting inside he drove a low shot wide of the left-post.

The visitors began the second-half strongly and Adam Baigent sent a far-post header over from a left-side corner. O’Cansey then had a fine chance as he was found in space in the right of the box, but he spun to drive the ball across goal and wide. Buckle was then just over with a good strike from 30 yards. With a quarter of an hour remaining it took a good take by Swans’ keeper Brendan Norris to cut out a dangerous low cross from the left by O’Cansey after Sullivan had only half-cleared the ball.

Thomas had a chance to win it for Swans when he was found in the right of the box, but after his first shot was blocked he drove his second just over.

But, with stoppage-time being played, it took a fine interception by Jake Newton close to goal to cut out a dangerous low cross from the right.

Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Jim Fenlon (Howard Newton 78’), Julian Hornby, Jake Newton, Lea Van Sullivan, Billy Witham, Malachi Thomas, Elliott Simpson, Jamil Okai (Cameron Gyeabour 70’), Sanchez Benali, TJ Nkoma (Harrison Livingstone 63’). Subs. not used: Shaun Smart, Mourad Jarraz. Scorer: Thomas (2’). Caution: Gyeabour, foul (79’).

Hanworth Villa Team: Eacott, Ogunlana, Milborrow, Queensborough, Baigent, Dilloway, Smith-Joseph, Mills, O’Cansey, Neale (Darko 83’), Buckle. Subs. not used: Wright, Ahorlu, Muldowney, White. Scorer: Buckle, penalty (16’).