Tuesday 7th September 2021. FA Cup, 1st Qualifying Round Replay.
Walton & Hersham 2 Beaconsfield Town 5
Swans’ FA Cup adventure came to an end in front of another bumper home crowd as they were left contemplating what might have been, but for the events of the 69th minute. Up until that moment the result could have gone either way as the sides had little to split them, despite the two division separation, and they were level at 2-2. The visitors were then gifted a gilt-edged chance to go ahead for the second-time, and only a foul by Reece Brewster prevented them from doing so, but the outcome was a penalty and a red card for the influential Swans’ midfielder. Scott Donnelly made it 3-2 from the spot, and with ten men Swans throwing everything into their attempts to force extra-time, the Rams’ experienced midfielder completed his hat-trick with two more goals in the final two minutes, the first coming with a second penalty. They were cruel blows for a Swans’ side that had more than matched their higher league opponents in a pulsating first-half that could well have ended with them going into the break with a two goal lead, rather than being held at 2-2. Although their run in the competition has ended, it has given Swans the opportunity of gauging how far they have come over the last year, and that must be a healthy plus, both on and off the pitch.
Brewster was one of three changes to the starting line-up that had played in the first match. He was available again after serving a one-match, competition specific suspension, while Alex Kelly had recovered from injury. Max Hustwick’s yellow card picked up in the first match was unfortunately his second of the competition, so he had to miss the game, with Harry Pointing coming in.
The visitors had the first opportunity when a long ball from Oliver Sprague found Aaron Minhas on the edge of the box, and he put a shot wide of the left post. Swans responded with Zach Dainkeh neatly back-heeling on the left to Harry Mills, 20 yards out, and his well-struck shot was just wide of the left post. Pointing was shown the first yellow card of the match for a tug-back on Callum Webb after ten minutes, but Donnelly’s free-kick from the left went straight through and into the gloves of Swans’ goalkeeper Liam Allen at the far-post. At the other end Dominic Ogun swung in a good cross from the right, and the ball was just headed away in the 6 yard-box to deny Kelly. The visitors looked a threat coming forward however, and Tyrone Lewthwaite poked a close-in shot just wide of the near-post following Sprague’s left-side cross.
Swans had a great opportunity to take the lead with a quarter of an hour played when Kelly was sent clear by Jacob Munting’s great through ball, but after getting into the box he tried to take the ball round Rams’ keeper Alex Tokarczyk, and after going to the right the angle became too tight for him, and his shot was blocked behind for a corner at the near-post by Jordan Aghatise. The ball then glanced off the head of Mills at the far-post when Jordayne Henry sent in a fine cross from the right.
But it was the visitors that took the lead midway through the half, somewhat against the run of play. A free-kick by the left corner-flag taken by Donnelly led to a scramble and a shot from Babs Jarra being deflected behind for a corner on the left, and with Allen being blocked off when Donnelly swung the ball in Lewthwaite headed in.
A fine build-up led by Dainkeh got the ball to Kelly on the right, and when he laid the ball back from the byline to Ogun his cross was headed away ar the far-post. Swans deservedly equalised after 26 minutes with a superbly worked goal. Brewster found Mills on the left with a fine pass, and he sent Louis Collins driving forward on the overlap before laying the ball across to find Kelly in the 6 yard-box, and he made no mistake in beating Tokarczyk.
Just two minutes later Swans were in the lead. The move was started by Ogun and Kelly on the right, and when Munting got Ogun into the box he had a possible claim for a penalty, going down as two defenders converged on him, but it was irrelevant as Dainkeh got possession to skip past a couple of challenges and drive in his first goal for Swans.
Beaconsfield’s Marcus Johnson-Schuster was found in space on the right, and he struck a first-time cross that was just cleared away. Swans had a chance to double their lead when a fine ball by Munting sent Dainkeh through into the box, but he was just blocked by Tokarczyk, saving with his feet. A free-kick taken by Brewster from the right then almost picked out Joe Hicks in the left of the 6 yard-box.
Although the visitors had had their fair share of possession, Swans would have been good value to go in at half-time with a lead, but with just four minutes remaining they conceded again. Donnelly picked out Lewthwaite in the right of the box, his first-time lay-off inside finding Minhas, who drove the ball past Allen.
Beaconsfield continued to press, and Swans had to hook the ball away when Donnelly sent a free-kick into the box from the left, another free-kick from the right touchline being met by a far-post header by Jarra that was cleared.
Swans made a couple of changes for the second-half, Palace Francis coming on for Mills, who had picked up an injury, and Darryl Siaw replacing Pointing.
Straight from the restart Collins was played through into a promising position in the left of the box, but the ball just ran away from him and behind. Francis was soon making an impact, cutting inside from the left past Johnson-Schuster to drive in right-foot shot that Tokarczyk just got a hand to, diving to his left to push the ball away. Hicks then struck a fine diagonal pass from the left to find Henry on the right, and he laid the ball back to Munting, whose low shot went across goal and just the wrong side of the far-post.
Minhas played Carl Stewart into the left of the box for Beaconsfield, and it took a fine tackle by Siaw to deny him, the resultant corner going high across the goal-face. Allen then did well to go down on his line and take the ball when Webb’s low shot from 25 yards took a deflection on its way through.
Munting was soon sending a shot wide from the edge of the box at the other end after Francis had again threatened on the left. Ten minutes into the half Munting found Ogun on the right, and he beat his marker before striking a left-foot shot that Tokarczyk just managed to push away, with Kelly just failing to follow in on the loose ball. Ogun was soon going close again, sending another left-footer dipping just over from the right corner of the box following a good move on the right. Dainkeh was then played down the right, and his driven cross almost went in the far, top corner.
Swans had been superb in their search for a winner, but they could have fallen behind when the ball was given away and Lewthwaite got in a shot from the edge of the box that Allen saved brilliantly with his feet to deflect over his goal and behind for a corner.
There was an opportunity with a free-kick outside the left corner of the box when Dainkeh was brought down, but for once Brewster’s delivery was poor and hit too long to send the ball behind.
Toby Little sent a left-foot shot dipping over from outside the right of the box for Beaconsfield before the game changed in their favour. Swans tried to play out from the back, but the ball was lost and Minhas looked certain to score after Allen had half-saved at his feet, only for Brewster to bring him down. The Swans’ midfielder was sent off, and Donnelly made no mistake with the resultant penalty.
It was now an uphill task for Swans to remain in the cup, but with just under a quarter of an hour remaining Munting neatly clipped the ball to Ogun on the right, and he curled a left-foot shot just wide of the far-post.
The visitors had a free-kick 25 yards out, but Donnelly sent the ball straight through to Allen, the Swans’ keeper then making a good save at his near-post when Webb was played into the right of the box.
An opportunity came for Swans with a free-kick on the right with three minutes of normal-time remaining, but Tokarczyk came out to claim the ball from Munting’s delivery. But just a minute later Lewthwaite went down easily inside the box close to the left byline following the slightest of touches by Siaw, and another penalty was awarded, which Donnelly again converted.
Donnelly was then allowed to get forward and drive a shot inside the left post to complete his hat-trick, and give the tie a rather skewed score-line on the balance of play.
One last opportunity came for Swans with a free-kick just outside the box on the left when substitute Onur Bakici was fouled, but Collins’ delivery was cleared at the far-post.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Jordayne Henry, Louis Collins, Reece Brewster, Harry Pointing (Darryl Siaw 45’), Joe Hicks, Harry Mills (Palace Francis 45’), Jacob Munting, Alex Kelly, Zach Dainkeh (Onur Bakici 76’), Dominic Ogun. Subs. not used: Will Kouadio, Darren Simpson, Alec Fiddes, Stuart Baldwin. Scorers: Kelly (26’), Dainkeh (28’). Cautions: Pointing, foul (10’), Hicks, foul (77’), Siaw, foul (88’). Dismissal: Brewster, denied goal-scoring opportunity (69’).
Beaconsfield Team: Tokarczyk, Johnson-Schuster, Sprague, Aghatise, Jarra (Neville 90+4’), Donnelly (Ajanlekoko 90 +1’), C. Webb, Stewart, Lewthwaite (Kearney 90+3’), A. Minhas, Little. Subs. not used: Lafluer, Maloney, Neish, Louis, Scorers: Lewthwaite (22’), Minhas (41’), Donnelly (69’ [pen.], 88’ [pen.] & 90’).