Saturday 3rd September 2022. FA Cup, 1st Qualifying Round.
Walton & Hersham 2 Beaconsfield Town 2.
With six minutes of stoppage-time already played Swans were 2-1 up and looking forward to revenge for last season’s exit from the competition at the hands of Beaconsfield Town, and a place in the 2nd Qualifying Round for the first time since 2009-10. Their hopes were dashed however when the visitors equalised for the second-time to take the tie to a replay. It should never have come to that as Swans were the better side throughout, and had the better chances against opponents from a step higher. The visitors had played with ten men from the 56th minute after having a player red-carded, but Swans could only capitalise by going back in the lead with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. Further chances came to extend that lead, but Swans could not quite find the finish to confirm their passage to the next round. They were also reduced to ten men when Alex Kelly was sent-off in the final minute of normal-time, but any thoughts that would have come too late to prevent the game being seen out were dashed by the late, late equaliser.
Swans sprang a surprise with the addition to the side of right-back Devan Tanton, who has joined on-loan until the end of the year from Premier League Fulham. The Texas born 18 year-old has played for the USA at youth levels, and has recently been at UE Cornellà in Spain.
Swans started positively, and a good move led to Taurean Roberts making room on the edge of the box to have a shot deflected over for a corner on the right. The kick was played short, and John Gilbert cut in to have a shot blocked. Some more fine play led to Dominic Ogun crossing from the left, but the ball went straight to visiting goalkeeper R’Avan Constable. Tanton played a good long ball down the right to Max Blackmore on the corner of the box, and he turned past Beaconsfield’s Luke Neville to drive a left foot shot over. Clever play by Roberts on the left got him into the corner of the box to strike a right foot shot just over the far, top corner.
Swans had bossed the opening ten minutes, but Beaconsfield threatened when Sean Fraser and Toby Little combined on the right, and Charlie Nicholas headed the cross clear. A free-kick was then won by the left corner flag, and Kyel Reid played it short with Scott Donnelly, who crossed the ball in, forcing Joe Hicks to head over his own bar.
Swans built up another fine move, and Tanton crossed from the right to win a corner as the ball was headed behind. With just over a quarter of an hour played Beaconsfield went close when a long ball from deep on the left led to Nathan Minhas challenging Nicholas on the edge of the box, and Little sent a left foot lob dipping just over the goal. Swans responded with a good move, started by Roberts on the left, getting Jordan Adeyemi away on a run. Adeyemi cut inside before finding Gilbert in the right of the box, and he dummied Oliver Sprague to drive in a low shot that brought a good save from Constable. Swans continued to move the ball around well, and some fine play by Gilbert on the right led to him laying inside to Kelly, who found Roberts on the edge of the box. Roberts cleverly flicked the ball over Mark Nisbet and got in a low, left foot shot that Constable saved well down by his left-post. Adeyemi almost got in on the left, but Constable just got to the ball.
Beaconsfield had a free-kick 30 yards out, but Reid’s effort was blocked, and a corner followed on the right. The kick was played short by Reid, but Kelly was able to bring the ball clear before being fouled, and Nisbet picked up a yellow card.
With ten minutes of normal-time left of the half Ogun played Arsen Ujkaj into the left of the box, and he drove in a low, left foot shot that keeper Constable blocked at his near-post. Straight away Kelly got the ball to Gilbert in the middle of the pitch, and he got forward before striking a fine shot from 25 yards that Constable just managed to get round his left post.
Swans finally took a deserved lead after 37 minutes. Another excellent move led to Ujkaj’s neat flicked pass that sent Adeyemi away down the left. Adeyemi drove into the box before getting in a left foot cross that Constable could only block away on his line under pressure from Blackmore, and Gilbert followed in to volley home.
Tanton had looked excellent on his debut, and when Gilbert got the ball to him on the right, he drove it across the box and just wide of the far-post. There was still time in the final minute of normal-time of the half for the visitors to go close, when they had a free-kick out on the right touchline. Little swung the kick in with his left foot, and when the ball was nodded on at the near-post it came to Adam Martin in at the far, but he poked wide under pressure from Hicks.
Beaconsfield made a double substitution for the second-half, and a third soon followed when their skipper Little was injured and had to be replaced.
Roberts was by the centre-circle to play the ball through to Adeyemi on the left, and he laid it inside to Gilbert just inside the box, but he put a left foot shot well over. Nicholas then sent a long ball from deep on the left down the line to Adeyemi, and he made a clever run into the box before laying across to Gilbert on the right, but again he drove the ball over. Swans almost scored a fluke goal when Constable’s attempt to kick clear struck Blackmore, but the ball rebounded over the goal.
Beaconsfield equalised against the run of play eight minutes into the second-half. Fraser headed the ball down to Donnelly on the right, and he sent a first-time cross high to the far-post. Swans’ keeper Liam Allen tried to get across, but Hicks and Tanton seemed to get in each other’s way, and Nathan Minhas leapt to loop a header into an open goal.
The ball was soon being laid back to Donnelly 30 yards out, and he struck a good effort just over. Swans responded with Hicks playing the ball through to Blackmore, who then found Gilbert, and he cut in from the right to have a shot that the keeper got behind.
The match had been full of incident, and a Beaconsfield move that started in their own half led to Aaron Minhas making an excellent run from halfway that took him into the right of the box to force a good save from Allen. The referee suddenly stopped play and showed a straight red card to the visitors’ Dan Bradshaw, who had only come on for the second-half, for an offence that was not immediately obvious.
Donnelly and Shaun McAuley soon followed into the referee’s notebook, having been shown yellow cards, McAuley’s for a foul on Eddie Simon, who had just come on for Blackmore. The resultant free-kick was just outside the right corner of the box, but Gilbert drove the ball straight through to the keeper. Another patient build-up by Swans led to Tanton crossing from the right, but the ball was just too long to find Simon at the far-post. Aaron Minhas got forward into Swans’ box on the left, but he was eventually closed out.
Swans should have gone ahead when Gilbert crossed from deep on the right to find Ujkaj on the edge of the box. Ujkaj laid the ball off to Simon, who tricked his way across the box and in on the left byline. Simon played the ball across to Ujkaj on the edge of the 6 yard-box, but his shot took a slight deflection to go over. Tanton then found Gilbert on the right, and he cut in to drive in a low, left foot shot that Constable went down to save.
With just over a quarter of an hour remaining Swans deservedly regained the lead. Adeyemi laid the ball back to Ogun inside his own half on the left, and he played the ball down the line to Simon. Simon neatly slipped the ball through to send Adeyemi driving to the corner of the 6 yard-box, and his low, left foot shot to the near-post went through the legs of the keeper, and the ball crept over the goal-line.
Beaconsfield had a free-kick deep on the left, and Donnelly’s delivery led to a header at the far-post that was straight at Allen.
Swans went close to making it 3-1 when Roberts worked the ball to Adeyemi on the left. Adeyemi played the ball back in to Roberts, and he made room on the edge of box to drive in a shot that brought a good save from the keeper, diving to his left. Tanton then knocked the ball down the right to Simon, and he got past Neville to get in a low shot that Constable just got a touch on, and the ball went inches wide of the far-post.
Beaconsfield had an opportunity with a free-kick deep on the right, but Tanton was able to clear when Donnelly sent the ball into the box. With a minute of normal-time remaining Kelly pushed Aaron Minhas over on Swans’ right, and then lashed out at the Beaconsfield striker on the ground, and was shown a straight red card. Donnelly’s free-kick into the box was safely claimed by Allen.
Swans went close to settling the tie as it went into added-on time. Gilbert was played into the right of the box by substitute Ollie Twum, and after beating Neville he slipped over, but got up to get in a shot that Constable just managed to block away.
Then, with six minutes of stoppage-time played, Beaconsfield’s Reid crossed from the left, and Neville nodded back from edge of 6 yard-box to Aaron Minhas, who hooked the ball into the bottom, left corner to earn his side an unlikely replay.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Devan Tanton, Dominic Ogun, Alex Kelly, Charlie Nicholas, Joe Hicks, Taurean Roberts (Ollie Twum 82’), Arsen Ujkaj (Reece Brewster 87’), Max Blackmore (Eddie Simon 63’), John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Jude Molloy, Flynn Bolton, Joe Pratley-Jones. Scorers: Gilbert (37’), Adeyemi (74’). Caution: Blackmore (28’). Dismissal: Kelly (89’).
Beaconsfield Team: Constable, Fraser, Sprague, Nisbet (Bradshaw 46’), Neville, Martin (McAuley 46’), Little (Togwell 49’), Donnelly, N. Minhas, A. Minhas, Reid. Subs. not used: McDevitt, Neish, McCoy. Scorers: N. Minhas (53’), A. Minhas (90+6’). Cautions: Nisbet (25’), Donnelly (61’), McAuley (67’). Dismissal: Bradshaw (56’).