Swans 1 Redhill 0

Monday 3rd January 2022.   Cherry Red Combined Counties League Premier Division South.

Walton & Hersham 1    Redhill 0.

A dramatic last minute penalty winner helped stretch Swans’ lead at the top of the table over their second placed visitors to five points with a game in hand, as they got 2022 off to a perfect start.It also secured their first league double of the season, following their 2-0 win at Redhill early in the season.On the balance of play and chances created it should not have come down to that final minute to decide a clash that did not disappoint another record crowd for a Swans’ match at The Sports Hub.But Redhill showed why they have such an excellent record in both league and cups this season as they put on a determined, organised performance that thwarted everything Swans could throw at them for 89 minutes.They did not have a shot on target however, with home goalkeeper Liam Allen relatively untroubled throughout the match, whereas Swans dominated possession and created numerous opportunities as they pressurised their goal.Several of those chances should probably have been taken, negating the need for the tight finish, but there was also fine defending by the visitors and keeping by Jack Minchin in their goal.

Swans gave a debut to new signing from Badshot Lea, Dean Rule, and the former England Schools international showed he will be a fine addition to the squad, linking up well and making clever runs. The other new recruit, Ollie Twum, was not fit enough to start however and was named among the substitutes.

The visitors posed an early threat as Jack Knight got to the byline on the right, but Allen was first to the ball as it was played low across, to deny Nathan Hogan.

But Swans had a chance to take the lead after just five minutes, following a fine piece of play on the left that led to Louis Collins getting Alex Kelly away. Kelly crossed to the far-post to pick out Harry Mills, but he stabbed the ball wide from the corner of the 6 yard-box.

Swans had most of the early possession, but with a quarter of an hour played Redhill again threatened on the right byline when Knight ran on to a long ball, but his low cross did not trouble Allen, who claimed comfortably. Jamarie Brissett then made a good run forward that took him deep into Swans’ half, but Joe Hicks timed his tackle perfectly to snuff out the threat.

Swans won a free-kick deep on the right, and this led to them again going close to taking the lead.Mills worked a quick one-two with Max Hustwick before driving forward to the edge of the box and playing the ball in to Kelly eight yards out, but he shot over the goal

The visitors had a free-kick of their own deep on the right, but Billy Frost’s delivery into the box was well taken by Allen.

Swans continued to probe away looking for the opener however, and Hicks sent Collins away on a fine run on the left to drive the ball low across. Dominic Ogun’s drive from the corner of the 6 yard-box was well blocked by keeper Minchin, and Rule followed up to have a shot deflected over. Following Mills’ corner on the right Kelly drove a shot over from the edge of the box. After a few early forays Redhill were now mainly pressed back in their own half, and Rule made a run in on the left before finding Mills on the right. Mills cut inside to drive in a low, left-foot shot from the edge of the box that took a deflection, and Minchin did well to go down and save. Swans then passed the ball around probing for an opening, and Mills’ ended the move by playing Kelly in on the right, but the ball just ran away from him and behind.

Redhill relieved the pressure by Frost getting Brissett to the byline on the right to force a corner off Collins, but Eddie Simon was able to gather on Swans’ right following the kick, and Knight then lunged in on Collins to earn the game’s first booking.

With five minutes left to the break an excellent clearance by Allen was nodded on by Rule on the left to get Collins away and force Tom Drinkwater to concede a corner. Another fine move ended with Rule finding space in the left of the box, but his low shot was straight at keeper Minchin.

Redhill’s Hogan was able to get forward into space on the left, but his low cross was weak and went straight to Allen.

As the half entered stoppage-time a terrific cross-field pass by Hustwick picked out Rule on the left, and Jayden Edwards had to head behind for another corner. There was still time for Swans to build up another fine move on the left and Simon to open up a chance for Rule in the box, but his well-struck shot just cleared the far, top corner.

Straight after the resumption for the second-half Rule was pulled back by Edwards on the left to give Swans a free-kick. Collins delivered the ball into the box, and Ogun set up Kelly to get in a shot from ten yards, but Minchin stuck out his left leg to deflect the ball just wide of the right post. Collins was soon getting Rule on a clever run on the left, and he set up a clear chance for Simon on the edge of the box, but his shot cleared the bar.

Redhill immediately won a free-kick in the centre-circle following a foul by Darryl Siaw, but Collins was able to bring the ball clear on the left following Frost’s delivery. The visitors soon had another free-kick awarded on the halfway line when Kelly pulled back Brissett, resulting in a yellow card for the Swans’ midfielder, but Frost’s kick into the box was headed clear. Redhill had begun to look more positive going forward, and Jacob Munting picked up Swans’ second booking for a foul on Joe Dyett, conceding another free-kick out on the left touchline, and Hogan’s delivery to the near-post was put behind by Kelly for a corner. Swans were almost left ruing their missed opportunities, as Hogan delivered the kick into the edge of the 6 yard-box, and the ball deflected off Knight and went just over the bar. Another free-kick was soon conceded in a similar position out on the left when Hogan was fouled by Siaw, but this time Hogan’s delivery could only find the gloves of Allen at the far-post. Swans settled again after a good spell by Redhill, but they were caught when Frost broke from an attack and found Hogan on the left, but Frost shot well wide of the near-post from the edge of the box when the ball was laid back to him.

But Swans had regained the ascendency, and midway through the half a fine build-up again created an opening, Munting setting up Simon 22 yards out, but his deflected shot brought a fine reaction save from Minchin, diving low to his right. Rule crossed the ball back in from the left of the box, and Dyett had to head behind at the near-post. Mills was fouled by Sam Tutt, earning the Redhill left-back a booking, and the resultant free-kick was delivered into the box by Mills, but Hustwick could not get enough on his header and the ball found the gloves of Minchin. With ten minutes of normal-time remaining superb play by Rule released Kelly on the left, and more fine play by him led to a lay inside to Simon in the box, but after making room his shot was again deflected over.

Redhill were immediately reduced to ten men when Mills played the corner short to Twum, who had come on for Munting, just outside the box on the right, and he was tripped by Tutt, who was shown his second yellow card. The free-kick led to Swans going desperately close to making the breakthrough, as Mills laid the ball in to Twum, who clipped it towards goal, and it was somehow hooked acrobatically off the goal-line by Dyett. Rule followed in with a header from the left of the box that just cleared the bar. Dyett was then shown a yellow card for a crude tackle on Simon.

It began to look as if, despite all their dominance and chances, Swans would have to settle for a share of the spoils, but that changed with just a minute remaining. Substitute Reece Brewster drove the ball into the box from out on the right, and it was judged to have struck the arm of a Dyett. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty-spot. Following his hat-trick of spot-kicks in the previous match it was a no-brainer that Mills would assume the responsibility, and he left little to spare as he drove the ball home off the inside of the left post.

In stoppage-time Twum made a fine run on the right, and when he crossed into the box to pick out Ogun, the ball deflected into the hands of keeper Minchin. Brewster then chipped the ball through from the right to pick out Ogun’s run forward, but his first-time lob over the keeper dipped just wide of the left post.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Darryl Siaw (Reece Brewster 83’), Louis Collins, Jacob Munting (Ollie Twum 69’), Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills, Eddie Simon, Dominic Ogun, Alex Kelly, Dean Rule (Will Kouadio 90+2’). Subs. not used: Harry Pointing, Stuart Baldwin. Scorer: Mills, penalty (89’). Cautions: Kelly, foul (51’), Munting, foul (58’).

Redhill Team: Minchin, Edwards, Tutt, Jarrett, Drinkwater, Dyett, Brissett (Vendrells 68’), Frost (Murphy 85’), Knight (Brown 71’), King, Hogan (Hayford 63’). Sub. not used: Upton. Cautions: Knight, foul (38’), Dyett, foul (83’). Dismissal: Tutt, 2 cautions for fouls (73’ & 80’).