Monday 29th November 2021. Surrey Senior Cup, 1st Round.
Walton & Hersham 2 Leatherhead 1.
A first win in a Senior Cup tie in five years saw Swans deservedly ease past Step 3 opponents Leatherhead, and secure a place in the next round. A 2-0 lead after a first-half that they dominated as the better side could well have been extended in the second, as they had what seemed a perfectly good goal disallowed and also struck the crossbar. The visitors however came more into the game as the second-half progressed, and a goal scored with fourteen minutes remaining set up a tight finish. Had it gone to a penalty shoot-out however, it would have been an injustice on the overall balance of play.
Eddie Simon was able to make his home debut, while Joe Pratley-Jones returned after a one-match ban to fill a more forward role on the right.
Swans were almost caught out early when a long ball enabled Aderi Athur-Dede to win a challenge with Joe Hicks on the left to get in a shot from 22 yards that Liam Allen beat down. The Leatherhead player was able to follow up with another shot, but the Swans’ goalkeeper made a more comfortable save.
Swans soon had a chance when a clever, quick throw-in on the right by Pratley-Jones sent Simon breaking to the byline to hook the ball across to the left of the box and pick-out Louis Collins in space, but he snatched at his shot and it went wide.
Swans were then guilty of giving the ball away, allowing Erick Kenko-Djoudie to play Matthew Bentley in on the right, but he drove low across goal and wide of the far-post.
Swans again went close to taking the lead after ten minutes. Harry Mills did well on the halfway line before sending Palace Francis away on a good run down the left, to beat Malaki Toussaint and play the ball low across. Pratley-Jones came into the right of the box to drive in a shot that Tanners’ keeper Harry Cawdron saved well down at his near-post. Simon followed in, but was just denied from knocking the ball home. Pratley-Jones was then fouled 30 yards out on the right, for Mills to send a free-kick into the box. Simon, and then Francis, were able to get possession on the left, but the visitors were able to clear. A fine move started in their own half by Swans then got Francis forward to play Simon into the left of the box. The striker was inches away from getting his first home goal as he beat Garret Kelly before sending a shot from a tight angle just wide of the far-post, with Alex Kelly just failing to get a touch.
It had been a lively start by both sides, with Swans looking the more likely to make the initial breakthrough. With just under twenty minutes played The Tanners’ Isaac Ogundere picked up the evening’s first yellow card when he prevented Francis from taking a throw-in, and then went down theatrically clutching his face when the Swans’ player threw the ball at him.
Swans immediately took a deserved lead with a terrific goal. Collins sent in a free-kick from deep on the left for Hicks to get his head to the ball on the right edge of the box and Simon to lay the ball back for Hicks to follow in and have a shot blocked. Mills then laid the ball back to the edge of the box to Kelly, who superbly struck the ball into the top, right corner with the inside of his right foot.
Kelly fouled Mills out by the right corner flag to give Swans a free-kick in a promising position, but when Mills swung the ball in Hicks was harshly judged to have fouled a defender.
A long ball almost got Thomas Cooney in in the left for the visitors, but the Leatherhead skipper’s touch let him down and the ball ran harmlessly through to Allen.
Swans soon doubled their lead with ten minutes remaining of the half when Mills was again fouled 35 yards out on the right. Mills delivered the free-kick to the edge of the 6 yard-box, and the ball was swept in first-time by the inside of Kelly’s right foot.
A fine through ball by Jacob Munting put Collins down the left, and his low ball across just failed to find Simon in the middle and Pratley-Jones coming in at the far-post. Swans continued to seek a third goal before the break, and when Kelly won the ball 22 yards out he struck a low shot that Cawdron just kept out with a good save down to his left post, denying the midfielder a first-half hat-trick. Simon followed up as the ball ran loose to get in a shot, but the Tanners’ keeper made another good block. As the half entered the final five minutes Munting was fouled by Leatherhead’s Kelly five yards outside the box, but Mills’ free-kick dipped just wide of the right post. Some fine play out on the right touchline led to Mills being fouled again, with Kelly again the offender, but Mills’ free-kick into the box was cleared away.
The Tanners had a free-kick of their own out on the right as the half entered stoppage-time, and Kenko-Djoudie, who had been their main playmaker, delivered the ball in. The ball was cleared out to the left, and when it was played back in Bentley looped a header wide at the near-post.
The visitors made a positive start to the second-half, seeing a lot of the ball and pressing Swans in their own half, but they should have been 3-0 down just six minutes in. Collins put Francis away on a break down the left, and his clever pass sent Simon into the box to take the ball wide of the keeper and slip it neatly low into the far corner. Despite clearly being played onside by Leatherhead’s Kelly to his right as the ball was played through, the assistant’s flag went up and the goal was ruled out.
Two more Tanners’ players saw yellow for fouls on Kelly and Francis as Swans continued to look in control of the tie. Collins sent in a free-kick from out on the left touchline, and keeper Cawdron came to the edge of his 6 yard-box to dive and punch the ball away.
Hicks picked up a caution for Swans for a foul, before The Tanners’ Kenko-Djoudie found Oluwatamilore Ogunnowo by the right corner of the box, but he sent a first-time shot into the side-netting.
With twenty minutes remaining Swans went close to sealing the win when Francis forced a corner on the right. From Mills’ kick Hicks rose at the far-post to send a looping header against the crossbar. Max Hustwick followed in, but clipped the ball over the goal.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Leatherhead got themselves back in the game with a chance to take the tie to penalties. They had just gone close when Ogunnowo played Bentley into the right of the box to get in a shot that Allen beat down at his near-post. The Swans’ keeper was beaten however when the ball was headed forward from halfway, and then knocked into the box for Bentley to neatly clip it first-time with his left-foot into the right corner.
This set up a potential nervy finish for Swans and their supporters as Leatherhead continued to see a lot of the ball, and things were not helped by a poor refereeing decision with three minutes of normal-time remaining. Bentley was judged to have been brought down by Hustwick just four yards outside the box, although clearly there had been no contact with The Tanners’ No. 9. Justice was done however when Bentley sent the free-kick high and wide of the left post.
There was just time for a yellow card to be shown to the Leatherhead bench before the final whistle confirmed Swans’ passage to the next round.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Harry Pointing (Alec Fiddes 80’), Louis Collins, Joe Pratley-Jones, Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills (Dominic Ogun 73’), Jacob Munting (Reece Brewster 67’), Eddie Simon, Alex Kelly, Palace Francis. Subs. not used: Darren Simpson, Youcef Azzouz. Scorer: Kelly (20’ & 35’). Caution: Hicks, foul (65’).
Leatherhead Team: Cawdron, Ogundere, Cooney, Kelly, Eminike, Toussaint (Frimpong 42’), Johnson, Hanson, Bentley, Kenko-Djoudie, Athur-Dede (Ogunnowo 61’). Subs. not used: Bridgeman, Djemalli, Agboola. Scorer: Bentley (76’). Cautions: Ogundere, simulation (35’), Hanson, foul (61’), Kelly, foul (63’).