Swans 2 Hastings United 4

Saturday 13 February 2016.                           Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 2   Hastings United 4.

A spirited fightback by Swans that saw them equalise after being two goals down proved to be of no avail, as in the recent game against Molesey they soon conceded again. They still battled on in search of at least a point, but a fourth Hastings’ goal killed off their challenge.

With Stevie Panayi injured Lea Van Sullivan moved to right-back, while new signing Tomasz Caracciolo came in, the Italian player having played for Billericay Town and Merstham this season. Cristiano Goncalves-Neto also returned, and Kambo Smith came in for Brendan Murphy-McVey, who has returned to his first club, Carshalton Athletic. Gareth Chendlik resumed up front, with Michael Salako dropping to the bench.

Swans got off to what looked a promising start, with Orlando Smith forcing a corner on the left with just over a minute played. Visiting goalkeeper Harry Girling Smith then fumbled the ball at the far-post when Smith got in a high cross from the left, and it went behind for another corner-kick.

But Hastings were gifted a goal after just three minutes to leave Swans having to come from behind yet again. Sullivan misjudged a high ball down the middle and it bounced over his head, leaving Tyrell Richardson-Brown a free run in on goal to beat keeper Liam Beach.

Swans won a free-kick out by the right touchline, and Gianfranco Mici’s kick into the box caused problems for the visitors’ defence before the ball was cleared.

With ten minutes played Richardson-Brown got to the byline on the right before driving the ball across, and Dylan Casey had to clear behind at the near-post. Hastings went close again when Sam Adams took a corner from the right, and when Sam Cole nodded back at the far-post the ball was headed over from close-in.

Kambo Smith got in a cross from the right for Swans, and when the ball took a big deflection Girling just got to it before Richard Pacquette.

Swans were almost caught on the break when a long ball put Richardson-Brown clear on the left, but Beach spotted the danger and was out to deny him.

With just over twenty minutes played Hastings’ Sam Cruttwell drove in a free-kick from the right touchline and Beach did well to turn the ball round his near-post. But the ball was soon being crossed from the left for Ollie Lowe to nod in at the far-post and make it 2-0.

The visitors had looked comfortable, but Swans got themselves back into the game after half an hour. Chendlik was played into the left of the box, and when he crossed to the far-post Pacquette was there to run the ball in.

This gave Swans impetus, and Goncalves-Neto got in a volley from 30 yards out that dipped just wide of the left-post. With just over ten minutes left to the break Orlando Smith played Chendlik in on the right, and he turned to drive a low shot just wide of the far-post.

Swans’ challenge could have been effectively ended four minutes after the resumption when Chris Cumming-Bart was allowed to get into the box and Goncalves-Neto was judged to have pulled him back and a penalty was awarded. Cole drove the kick down the middle, and fortunately Beach did not commit himself and was able to save.

Kambo Smith got in a cross from the right for Swans, but Chendlik put the ball wide at the far-post.

Hastings responded with Lowe driving a shot wide from the right of the box.

With just under twenty minutes of the second-half played Swans were back in the game at 2-2 when Pacquette drove a low shot inside the left-post from outside the left corner of the box.

Hastings quickly responded with an attack on the right and several shots had to be blocked. But just two minutes after Swans had equalised Zac Attwood was played into the right of the box, and although his first effort was blocked he was able to take the ball wide of Beach before slotting in from a tight angle.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining Swans won a free-kick outside the right corner of the box, and Casey was unfortunate to see his driven kick pass just wide of the near-post. There were then concerted appeals for handball inside the left of the box when Pacquette sent the ball in, but the referee waved play-on. Pacquette’s reverse pass then got Orlando Smith in on the right, and his low cross was cleared for a corner. From the kick on the right substitute Joe Wallbanks got in a volley, and keeper Girling had to make a good save. Swans were still in with a chance, and Mici’s driven cross from the left was taken high up at his near-post by Girling.

But with eight minutes remaining the visitors made the game safe with a fourth goal. Crutwell found space 25 yards out, and he got in a dipping shot that caught Beach just off his line, and although the young keeper got a hand to the ball he could not deflect it over and it dropped just under the bar.

Swans’ Team: Liam Beach, Lea Van Sullivan, Mekhail McLaughlin, Tomasz Caracciolo, Dylan Casey, Cristiano Goncalves-Neto (Joe Wallbanks 72’), Kambo Smith, Gianfranco Mici, Gareth Chendlik, Richard Pacquette, Orlando Smith (Michael Salako 85’). Subs. not used: Eden Dewar-Douglas, Adam Pittwood. Scorer: Pacquette (30’ & 64’). Caution: Casey, foul (58’).    

Hastings Team: Girling, Lowe, Wilson, Johnson, Cruttwell, Walder, Richardson-Brown (Temba 84’), Cumming-Bart, Attwood (Foster 89’), Adams, Cole (Ray 61’). Sub. not used: Smith. Scorers: Richardson-Brown (3’), Lowe (22’), Attwood (66’), Cruttwell (82’).