Saturday 23rd October 2021. Cherry Red Combined Counties League Premier Division South.
Walton & Hersham 2 Camberley Town 1.
By winning their game in hand over leaders Badshot Lea, Swans went back to the top of the table, but they had to work hard to come away with all three points against a resilient Camberley Town side. Belying their position in the bottom half of the table, the visitors made it difficult for a Swans’ side that for periods struggled to hit the fine form they have shown of late.
There were several changes to the starting line-up, the absence of Reece Brewster being enforced due to injury. Jordayne Henry and Harry Pointing came in for Louis Collins and Max Hustwick, while Onur Bakici was given his first start and Darren Simpson also returned.
Camberley pressed early on, firstly winning a free-kick deep on the right and then forcing a corner-kick. It was Swans however who should have taken the lead after ten minutes following their first real threat on the away goal. A superb flick-on by Harry Mills sent Alex Kelly clear into the left of the box, where he was brought down by Lynden McGugan. A penalty was awarded and the Camberley No. 5 shown a yellow card. After some delay Kelly stepped up for the kick, but goalkeeper Christian Paulat-Brigg dived to his right to keep out the midfielder’s low effort, Swans’ recent penalty misery continuing as they failed to convert for the third home game in a row, fortunately none of the misses being result defining.
The visitors were soon being awarded another free-kick, but Swans broke away through Palace Francis, and he sent Kelly clear into the box, but the flag went up for a marginal offside. A fine, multi-pass build-up ended with Francis getting into the box and forcing a corner on the left, and this led to Swans taking the lead after 21 minutes. Mills played the kick short to Francis, and this led to Kelly going down for what looked another penalty. Play continued however, and Francis was able to drive the ball across from a tight angle close to the left byline and it took a deflection off a defender before going inside the far-post for an own goal.
The lead was short-lived however, as just three minutes later Camberley put an end to Swans’ run of seven consecutive clean sheets in the league by equalising. The ball was knocked forward, and it took a big deflection to loop kindly to Jack Cleevely inside the left of the box, and he struck a first-time, left-foot shot that beat home keeper Liam Allen inside his right post.
Swans went close to regaining the lead when Pointing’s fine ball found Francis on the left and he played Bakici into the box, but his shot was well blocked at the near-post by Paulat-Brigg. The Camberley keeper was soon saving again at his near-post when Francis beat Alfie Gibbons on the right before driving in a low, left-foot shot.
Joe Pratley-Jones was shown a yellow card after half an hour, the Swans’ right-back having fouled Ernest Murmylo, but the free-kick was delayed as Kelly was treated for an injury. The Swans’ midfielder played on for a couple of minutes, but was then replaced by Zach Dainkeh.
The visitors had an opportunity with a free-kick outside the box on the left, but Gibbons drove the ball over the goal.
With five minutes left to the break Francis made a run into the box before finding Bakici to his right, but he was closed out and had to settle for a corner. A move on the left led to Pointing getting in a shot from 35 yards, but it was straight at the keeper. In first-half stoppage-time Paulat-Brigg dived to his left to save when Jacob Munting got in a shot, but it was Camberley who had the last chance before the break. Murmylo made a good run into the left of the box before driving in low shot that Allen did well to keep out, diving to his left.
Swans almost regained the lead in spectacular fashion just two minutes after the resumption. Bakici was just inside the Camberley half out by the right touchline when he spotted Paulat-Brigg off his line. He sent the ball high towards goal, and the keeper just got back to clutch it above his head.
Swans did make it 2-1 however eight minutes into the half. Simpson’s fine long ball sent Francis on a run down the left to force a corner. The kick was taken short and the ball played back to Mills just outside the left corner of the box, and he drove it low across the keeper and just inside the far-post. Mills was soon taking a free-kick from out on the right touchline, but his delivery went across goal and wide of the far-post.
With an hour played the visitors had an opportunity with a free-kick of their own deep on the right, but Mills was back in his own box to head away from Gibbons’ kick, and Francis was able to bring the ball away.
Francis was soon beating Luke Benton on the left to drive in a terrific, left-foot shot that Paulat-Brigg just managed to deflect over his crossbar with a fine save. Swans had settled in the second-half to look their more dominant selves, and a fine pass from Henry got Simpson on a run in on the left byline to hook the ball over to the 6 yard-box, but no-one was there to capitalise.
The visitors’ main threat continued to be from free-kicks, and another awarded deep on the left was delivered into the box by Gibbons, but a foul on Allen at the far-post ended the danger.
Francis again left Benton trailing on the left to drive the ball low into the 6 yard-box, and Paulat-Brigg did well to go down and push it away.
Swans’ lead was still a narrow one, and straight after coming on Camberley substitute Stanley Jones got in a shot from the edge of the box that took a big deflection and the ball looped over the bar. From Cleevely’s resultant corner on the right Simpson headed away at the near-post, but Cleevely was able to cross back in from the right, and the ball was put wide at the far-post.
Swans almost got the buffer they needed with just under a quarter of an hour remaining when a fine through ball sent Mills away into the box, but he just failed to take the ball round the advancing keeper.
Some slack play threatened to give the visitors an equaliser when they were allowed to get through on the left, but although Allen made the save the flag went up for offside anyway.
With the match entering the final five minutes terrific play by Henry on the left took him past two defenders and into the box to lay the ball inside, leading to Francis being brought down right on the edge. Francis took the free-kick himself, but the ball was driven through to Paulat-Brigg on his line. In the final minute of normal-time a corner on the right was laid back to Dainkeh by Mills, leading to Pratley-Jones being fouled 40 yards out. Joe Hicks’ free-kick to the right post was just inches too high to find the head of the waiting Mills. With two minutes of stoppage-time played some terrific play by Mills got him in on the left byline to lay the ball across, and substitute Alec Fiddes to turn ten yards out and get in a shot that was blocked.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Jordayne Henry, Jacob Munting, Harry Pointing, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills, Darren Simpson, Onur Bakici (Alec Fiddes 73’), Alex Kelly (Zach Dainkeh 34’), Palace Francis. Subs. not used: Louis Collins, Dan Taylor, Max Hustwick. Scorers: Own goal (21’), Mills (53’). Cautions: Pratley-Jones, foul (30’), Hicks, foul (51’), Francis, foul (71’).
Camberley Team: Paulat-Brigg, Benton, Gibbons (Callum Wiltshere 87’), Kodjo, McGugan, Boye, Frise, Cleevely (Farmiloe 76’), Osunkoya, Dugsin (Martin 62’), Murmylo (Jones 68’). Sub. not used: Sowden. Scorer: Cleevely (24’). Cautions: McGugan, foul (8’), Frise, foul (90+2’).