Swans 1 Peacehaven & Telscombe 2

Tuesday 28 January 2014.                                                Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 1    Peacehaven & Telscombe 2.

The eventual outcome may have been another defeat, but this was a good, battling performance by Swans that gives optimism for the games to come. Despite being reduced to ten men after less than half an hour they pushed the outright Division One South leaders all the way, the south coast club struggling to hold onto their slender lead in the final stages.

With the worst of the heavy rain showers hitting the southeast passing Stompond Lane by, this was one of just two Ryman League games to survive the weather.

Several players were available to return to the squad after the previous Saturday’s match at Three Bridges, and a debut was given to the highly experienced Gary Drewett, the former Bromley and Dulwich Hamlet player having signed for Swans 24 hours earlier.

Just a few seconds into the match Drewett and Peter Wedgeworth combined well on the left to force a corner. But then Swans seemed to give the strong visiting line-up too much respect, and they struggled to get any meaningful possession, resulting in them being put under considerable pressure for the first quarter of the match.

Vernon Francis picked up a caution for a fairly innocuous looking challenge after just two minutes, and from Jamie Brotherton’s free-kick from the right a strong header came in that home goalkeeper Mo Maan did well to dive to his left and push the ball round the post. A shot from the edge of the box flew just over Maan’s crossbar, and the Swans’ keeper could only watch as Lloyd Cotton’s super strike rattled his left-post.

The Sussex club’s pressure finally reaped reward midway through the half as Swans conceded yet another goal from a free-kick into their box, the prolific Charlie Walker pouncing from close-in after the ball had been headed down to him.

The visitors seemed prone to go down under the mildest of challenges, and with 27 minutes played Francis’s tackle hardly looked worthy of the second yellow card being shown to him, resulting in his sending-off.

Swans’ play gradually became more composed and assured, despite being a man down, and in the final minute of the half Andy Lomas made a good run forward on the left before playing a long ball through that almost got Drewett in.

Early in the second-half Drewett got his head to Wedgeworth’s free-kick, and the ball drifted just wide of the far-post.

At the other end the visitors twice put headers over from right-side corners, and when Brotherton cut in from the left his shot forced Maan into a save. Swans were now competing well, pushing forward, but with ten men they were always in danger of conceding again, and a shot was driven over their bar when the ball was knocked back from Ash Jones’s free-kick into the box.But with a quarter of an hour remaining a long through ball caught them short at the back and Walker ran clear to slot into the far corner from the left of the box.

Two minutes later Swans gave themselves a chance when substitute Mu Maan scored from close-in when Wedgeworth swung in a corner from the right.

The visitors should have restored their two goal lead when Tom Burton got clear, but he shot well wide. The same player was then closer with a shot with five minutes of normal-time left.

Swans’ last chance to take a point came in the final minute when a good build-up culminated in a fine strike by Lomas on the left, but it was straight at Peacehaven keeper Tony Di Bernardo,

Swans’ Team: Mo Maan, Dan Dean, Andy Lomas, André Scarlett, Jon Boswell, Alan Bray, Samad Kazi (Mu Maan 60’), Vernon Francis, Greg Andrews (Louis Glace-Palmer 72’), Gary Drewett (Nathan Oliver 81’), Peter Wedgeworth. Subs. not used: Dane Buss, Louis Clark. Scorer: Mu Maan (77’). Cautions: Drewett, foul (67’), Andrews, foul (69’), Glace-Palmer, foul (88’). Dismissal: Francis, 2 cautions for fouls (2’ & 27’).                           ,  

Peacehaven Team: Di Bernardo, Marzetti, Metcalf, McLaughlin, Jones, Richards, Cotton, Crelin, Walker, Burton, Brotherton. Subs. not used: Murky, Saunders, Eason, Deacon, Hammond. Scorer: Walker (22’ & 75’). Caution: Jones, foul (52’).