Tuesday 13th September 2022. FA Trophy, 1st Qualifying Round.
Walton & Hersham 3 Leatherhead 1.
Swans put on a scintillating first-half performance in the delayed Isuzu FA Trophy tie, as they played in the competition for the first time since the 2015-16 season. The Tanners had no answer to the home side’s attacking play in that opening 45 minutes, and found themselves 3-0 behind after just half an hour. Swans started the second-half in the same vein, but then rather took their foot off the gas. John Gilbert came close to making it 4-0, but his shot rattled the crossbar, before sloppy defending gifted the visitors a goal with 20 minutes left. That lifted their confidence that they might mount a comeback and they created further chances, but Swans deservedly went through to the next round.
Alex Kelly was beginning his suspension after being red-carded against Beaconsfield, while Charlie Nicholas was ineligible to play and Devan Tanton was unavailable, so changes were made to the home starting line-up.
On a rainy evening Swans made a fine start, and took an early lead after just 8 minutes. Harry Mills won a corner on the right, and played the kick short to Taurean Roberts. Roberts cut inside from the byline, and then switched back onto his right foot to dummy Tanners’ left-back Briggs Ojemen before driving in a shot that went in off the gloves of goalkeeper Luke Williams.
Swans continued to dominate play, and doubled their lead with a fine goal after 19 minutes. Max Blackmore won the ball off Edward Komey-Guadelope just inside Swans’ half, and left Jordan Adeyemi to set off on a fine run that took him past a defender and to the edge of the box. Tanners’ skipper Danny Dudley was left facing both Adeyemi, and Blackmore to his right, but it was Adeyemi who finished the move, driving the ball low into the bottom, right corner.
Swans soon went close to making it 3-0 to finish a piece of superb build-up play. Arsen Ujkaj fed Mills on the right byline, and he drove the ball low across the 6 yard-box, with Blackmore at the back-post just failing to get a touch. Adeyemi then got in on the left byline, but couldn’t find Blackmore in the middle.
Some slack play at the back by Swans gave the visitors a chance as Jermaine McGlashan was played in on the right, but his shot took a deflection off Dominic Ogun to go behind for a corner.
Swans made it 3-0 on the half hour with another exceptional goal. A superb ball flicked down the line on the right by Mills found Blackmore, who powered to the corner of the box. An attempt to bring Blackmore down failed, and he got into the box, cut outside Benedict Frempah, and struck a left-foot shot into the far corner.
It was soon close to being 4-0, as a fine ball from Roberts found Jude Molloy on the left. Molloy played Adeyemi through to the byline, and he laid the ball inside to Ujkaj, whose shot was blocked by Dudley. The ball fell to Molloy, whose shot just deflected off Frempah to go over, with the referee surprisingly awarding a goal-kick.
Leatherhead had a rare opportunity with a free-kick out on the left touchline, but Joshua Webb’s ball into the box was well caught by Swans’ keeper Liam Allen.
As the half entered the final five minutes, a terrific multi-pass move by Swans culminated in Roberts feeding Molloy on the left, and he laid the ball off to Gilbert, who cut inside, but shot over.
Ten minutes into the second-half the Tanners had two free-kick opportunities in promising positions in quick succession. A foul by Mills led to the first, just outside the left corner of the box, but the ball was cleared when Keane Anderson drove it in. The second, awarded five yards outside the box, saw the wall do its job as the kick was blocked. The visitors soon had their best chance of the match as McGlashan was played clear on the right, and he drove the ball low across the 6 yard-box to Archie Burnett unmarked at the far-post, but his shot brought a superb block from Allen. Webb then sent a free-kick into the box from out on the right touchline, and after several attempts to clear by Swans, McGlashan struck a first-time from just outside the box that Allen was well placed on his line to get behind.
18 minutes into the second-half Swans went close to making it 4-0. A move started by Joe Pratley-Jones on the right led to Gilbert playing Blackmore clear into the right of the box. Blackmore squared the ball across to Gilbert just inside the box, and he drove a shot against the bar.
Leatherhead however had a chance to reduce the deficit as Swans failed to get the ball clear. Burnett played Anderson clear into the right of the box, but he was forced wide by Allen, and under pressure from Joe Hicks could only shoot wide of the near-post.
Mills and Gilbert combined well on the right for Swans to play Blackmore in, but he couldn’t find anyone in the middle.
With just over twenty minutes remaining, more slack defending by Swans led to the Tanners pulling a goal back. Ujkaj allowed Anderson to nick the ball off him on the edge of the box, and he found McGlashan on his right, who placed a left foot shot into the top, left corner. The Tanners soon had another chance when McGlashan played the ball in from the right, and it was allowed to run to Burnett by the penalty-spot, but he shot over.
Swans made a double substitution, with Eddie Simon and Ollie Twum coming on for Mills and Adeyemi. Simon was soon playing the ball to Gilbert on the right, and he cut inside to strike a low, let foot shot that Williams went down to save on his line. Simon again combined with Gilbert, who then played a clever through ball that got Simon into the box and past Webb, but he shot wide of the near-post.
The visitors continued to press Swans however, and in the final minute of normal-time it took a fine tackle by Hicks to prevent them getting through on goal. As the tie entered stoppage-time Webb crossed a fine ball from the left to find McGlashen on the right, and he sidestepped Molloy, but shot into the side-netting. There was still time for one last opportunity for the visitors when Mitchell Parker was allowed to get in on the left, but his shot deflected off Ogun to strike the outside of the near-post and go behind.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Jude Molloy, Taurean Robert, Dominic Ogun, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills (Eddie Simon 71’), Arsen Ujkaj (Flynn Bolton 81’), Max Blackmore, John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi (Ollie Twum 71’). Subs. not used: Nick Burgess, Will Kouadio, Harvey Sellers. Scorers: Roberts (8’), Adeyemi (19’), Blackmore (30’).
Leatherhead Team: Williams, Komey-Guadelope (O’Sullivan 29’), Ojemen (Anderson 46’), Bajja, Dudley, Frempah, Burnett, Allen (Hellestoe 83’), McGlashen, Parker, Webb. Subs. not used: Tarpey, Duff. Scorer: McGlashen (69’). Cautions: Komey-Guadelope (28’), Burnett (39’), Frempah (73’).