Swans 2 Tooting & Mitcham United 1 – Report

Tuesday 12 August 2014.                                   Ryman League, Division One South.

Walton & Hersham 2   Tooting & Mitcham United 1.

Swans picked up their first points of the new season with a hard-fought win over a Tooting & Mitcham United side that had won 1-0 on their last three visits to Stompond Lane. The team was strengthened by the return of Andrew Mensah and Vernon Francis, who both missed the opening day defeat at Whitstable, while Marvin Farrell was able to make his debut at left-back. Sacha Mbaye was also fortunately able to take his place in defence following stitches in a cut eyebrow sustained at Whitstable.

The game got underway following a couple of heavy rain showers, and it was the visitors who had the first attempt on goal after eight minutes. Nathan Daly’s clearing header fell to Dan Summers 22 yards out, and Swans’ goalkeeper Gary Ross was grateful to see his first-time half-volley fly wide of the right-post.

Swans’ best attack came after 20 minutes and involved several players contributing to a good build-up that won them a corner on the right, but Dominic Ogun’s kick went behind. A poor clearance by the visitors allowed Mensah to get into the box on the left, but he could not get the ball under control and was closed out. A similar opportunity soon fell to André Scarlett when he charged down a clearance, but he too failed to capitalise. But the nearest Swans came to taking the lead was after 27 minutes when Louis Clark sent a free-kick into the box from deep on the left. Mbaye nodded the ball across from the right and Francis got in a terrific overhead kick, only for the ball to strike Tooting goalkeeper Paul Smith and bounce clear.

The visitors had a ‘goal’ chalked off for offside when former Swan Jordan Cheadle drove in a free-kick from the right and Craig Watkins put the ball in off the bar at the far-post.

Swans went ahead five minutes before the break with a tremendous goal, Daly striking a superb shot from 25 yards that simply flew past keeper Smith into the left-corner.

Swans had been good value for their half-time lead and they would be disappointed with the visitors’ equaliser six minutes after the resumption. A short corner was played on the right, and when the ball was driven low across it was allowed to reach Watkins beyond the far-post, and he had both time and space to score. Ross then had to go down by his right-post to save a well-struck free-kick from 30 yards by Cheadle.

Swans broke immediately and Mensah got in on the left to force Smith to push a shot round his near-post. Jack Battie then had shot from the edge of the box deflected over, followed by Scarlett’s effort going wide, again off a Tooting defender. Swans immediately lost Farrell to injury with Josh Bonnett coming on, and he was soon taking a corner from the left that led to Andrew Dalhouse having a header blocked on the line.

Swans regained their lead with just under twenty minutes left, the chance coming after a clever run into the box on the right by Jack Battie that left his marker trailing. Dalhouse slipped in his attempt, but Battie regained possession to get in a shot that keeper Smith could only push away. Mensah followed up on the left before setting himself and driving the ball past Smith and just inside the far-post.

Swans had a chance to make the points safe when they won a free-kick 30 yards out, but Mensah sent the ball dipping into the gloves of Smith.

Tooting then had a free-kick on the right, and when Cheadle whipped the ball in Mbaye had to dive to head the ball behind.

Swans had to again suffer a lengthy period of stoppage-time with their opponents attacking them. Confusion in their box led to a header looping over, and Cheadle again hammered in a free-kick from 35 yards, that fortunately flew wide.

Swans’ Team: Gary Ross, Nathan Daly, Marvin Farrell (Josh Bonnett 64’), André Scarlett, Louis Clark, Sacha Mbaye, Jack Battie (Tarome Hemmings 74’), Vernon Francis, Andrew Mensah, Andrew Dalhouse, Dominic Ogun. Subs. not used: Ashley Thompson, Kadeem Ajeon, Louis Glace-Palmer. Scorers: Daly (4’), Mensah (71’). Cautions: Scarlett, Mbaye, Dalhouse, Ogun.

Tooting & Mitcham Team: Smith, Jelley, Aladetouw, Knock (Tinashe 76’), J. Cheadle, Hartburn, Clarke, Quarm, Watkins, Newton, Summers (Pinnock 66’). Subs. not used: Simpson, Murphy, H. Cheadle. Scorer: Watkins (51’). Caution: Hartburn.