Swans 2 Three Bridges 2

Tuesday 15 October 2013.                                               Ryman League, Division One South.


Walton & Hersham 2    Three Bridges 2.

Having taken the lead with a minute of normal-time remaining Swans were denied all three points by an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage-time. It came as no surprise that there should be a dramatic climax to an excellent game played at a terrific pace throughout. Those who forsook Stompond Lane for the television to watch the England World Cup qualifier missed an end-to-end encounter that was worthy of a far bigger audience.

A Swans’ side showing just one change from the one that had beaten Eastbourne Town at the weekend, with Ishmael Thomas coming in for Ashley Thompson, was caught cold by the pace of the visitors’ opening attacks. After just three minutes the excellent Elliott Romain burst through a square Swans’ back line to drive a low shot past home goalkeeper Milan Stojsavljevic from the edge of the box. It was almost 2-0 straight from the restart as Swans looked rattled by the Three Bridge’s forwards running at them at pace, and another breakthrough led to a shot that fortunately took a deflection to go wide. The visitors continued to dominate possession, pinning Swans back in their own half, and looked like increasing their lead at any time.

But Swans gradually began to get their game together, and after seventeen minutes Julian Owusu’s aerial challenge in the visitors’ box led to the ball coming out to Warren Gladdy, who struck a left-foot volley that dipped just over. Ben Hammond then fired in a low shot from the right that went wide of the far-post.

The pace of Romain continued to cause problems at the other end, and it took a fine tackle from Ben Dyett to stop the striker breaking through again.

Swans immediately got forward and an excellent pass from Gladdy got Samad Kazi into the box, where a crunching tackle from behind took him down, but amazingly the referee waved play-on.

Play continued to flow from one end to the other, and a break from Three Bridges sent Abu Touray into clear space on the right, but his low shot was wide of the far-post.

But Swans equalised after half an hour played with a spectacular goal from Owusu.The ball dropped to him 30 yards out on the left, and he struck a left-foot volley that arced into the net over visiting keeper Martin Grant.

Swans almost gifted Three Bridges the lead back inside two minutes when a slack pass from Hammond allowed Tony Garrod to get in on the left, and with Stojsavljevic beaten the ball was rolling towards goal, but fortunately the pace was taken off it and Steve Betancourt was able to get back to clear.

Kazi was immediately released on a good run down the left that won a corner.

The visitors replied with Romain getting in a low shot from the left that Stojsavljevic saved well at his near-post, and as the ball ran loose a follow-up shot found the side-netting.

With five minutes left to the break Swans went close to taking the lead when Hammond struck a terrific shot from the left-corner of the box that clipped the crossbar and went over.Owusu then made a good run on the right, but his ball inside just failed to pick out Juan Onieva, well-placed in the middle. The whistle blew for half-time with surprisingly only two goals having been scored.

Swans were fortunate not to fall behind again just three minutes after the resumption when Romain and Garrod were faced with just a single home defender as they broke forward, but when Romain’s ball in from the right beat Stojsavljevic, Garrod made the mistake of advancing too soon before tapping the ball over the line at the far-post, and was ruled offside.

At the other end Hammond’s cross from the right picked out Andy Lomas in space on the left, but his attempt to lob Grant went over.

Swans continued to be susceptible to the visitors’ quick breaks, and when William Peauroux sent Romain clear Stojsavljevic dashed out to the edge of his box to make a terrific block.

Swans were playing some fine football going forward however, and when Gladdy found Hammond on the right his lob went just over. Onieva then sent a looping header over when Hammond picked him out with a cross from the right.

Romain continued to be a big threat for Three Bridges, and he again burst forward before side-stepping Betancourt and striking a superb shot just wide of the far-post. Stojsavljevic then came out to make another great block to deny Garrod, who had broken clear.

The match continued to be played at a terrific pace, and when Hammond found space on the left following some fine play by Gladdy he got the ball into the box to Owusu, who was sent tumbling, but again no penalty was forthcoming. Swans had reshuffled their defence and were looking much tighter, and now looked the likelier of the two sides to get a winner. With a quarter of an hour remaining Hammond took a corner from the right, and when the ball came to Dyett beyond the far-post, he struck a tremendous shot that brought a fine tip-over save from keeper Grant. From the resultant corner Dyett was again unlucky as his header was cleared off the line at the far-post. Owusu then crossed from the left for Kazi to volley over from the right of the box.

Then with just a minute of normal-time remaining Swans looked to have won the game when they were awarded a free-kick as Onieva was brought down just outside the left-corner of the box. Hammond stepped up to strike a tremendous shot inside the near-post past a startled Grant.

Swans seemed to have the three points secured as they looked under little threat as the match went into added-on time. But the referee seemed disinclined to blow the final whistle, and as stoppage-time entered its’ fifth minute he awarded the visitors a soft free-kick just outside the left-corner of the box. The ball was driven in to the near-post, and in a scramble Touray poked the ball over the line.

Swans’ Team: Milan Stojsavljevic, Ishmael Thomas, Andy Lomas, Mark McLeod, Ben Dyett, Steve Betancourt, Ben Hammond, Warren Gladdy, Julian Owusu (Will Turl 82’), Juan Onieva, Samad Kazi. Subs. not used: Chris Grayland, John Oyenuga, John Clark, André Scarlett. Scorers: Owusu (30’), Hammond (89’). Cautions: Turl, dissent (90+1’), Kazi, kicked ball away (90+2’).                     

Three Bridges’ Team: Grant, Djimah, Brake, Leach, Maxwell, Touray, Peauroux, Carney, Romain, Garrod, Elliott (Todd 67’). Subs. not used: Murrell, Brown. Scorers: Romain (3’), Touray (90+5’). Cautions: Leach, Peauroux, Elliott.