Swans 5 Horley Town 0

Saturday 9th October 2021.   Cherry Red Combined Counties League Premier Division South.

Walton & Hersham 5    Horley Town 0.

Swans went to the top of the table with another scintillating performance, making it six league wins in a row, with clean sheets being kept in all those matches. Facing a side two places behind them in fourth spot they needed to get off to a good start, and they did so, taking the lead after just three minutes. From then on the visitors seldom looked like getting anything from the match, and their cause was not helped when they were reduced to ten men before half-time. For large parts of the match they had to sit deep and watch Swans keeping possession and passing the ball around, with players constantly switching positions, before having to withstand rapid thrusts at their defence. Those attacks invariably involved Harry Mills, who scored two terrific goals himself and set up another two with a man of the match performance.

On an unseasonably warm, sunny October afternoon another bumper home crowd watched Swans settle early and take the lead after three minutes. Joe Pratley-Jones knocked a clever pass down the right to set Alex Kelly clear into space for a run into the corner of the box to drive in a low shot that forced Horley goalkeeper George Hyde into a good save diving to his right, the ball being judged to have just gone behind for a corner on the left. Mills swung the kick in, and two Horley players, James McElligott and Ethan Ford, both tried to clear at the near-post, but the ball seemed to glance off both their heads in turn before finding the net for an own goal.

A fine build-up, started by Kelly on the right, resulted in Jacob Munting’s cross almost finding Palace Francis in the box, before Darryl Siaw laid the ball to Louis Collins, who drove well over from 25 yards out. Swans continued to control the opening quarter of an hour, with the visitors barely getting any possession, and some superb play by Mills on the right, as he audaciously flicked the ball over Sam Secker, led to him almost finding Kelly in the middle.

Horley had a couple of opportunities to threaten the home goal from free-kicks. McElligott’s kick into the box from the left just failed to find the head of Andy Hall, and the ball ran through to Swans’ keeper Liam Allen. Allen was then well-placed on his line to make a comfortable save as Chad Goulter drove the ball through when Joe Hicks was harshly penalised for handball 35 yards out.

Another fine build-up by Swans resulted in Francis cleverly getting past Goulter and into the box, forcing Lewis Pearch to clear behind for a corner.

Swans were guilty of giving the ball away 25 yards out to give Mario Quiassaca an opportunity, but he drove his shot low past the left post.

Swans doubled their lead after half an hour with a superb individual goal from Mills. Hyde’s kick-out could only find Mills close to halfway, and he burst forward to leave Secker trailing on the right to get into the box. He then cut back onto his left foot to beat Secker again before driving the ball inside the near-post from the corner of the 6 yard-box.

The visitors went close to reducing the deficit with a rare opportunity. Josh Rapson tried a clever chip from the right corner of the box, but the ball dipped just over. Their hopes of mounting a challenge were hit after 37 minutes however when they were reduced to ten men. Quiassaca was guilty of a late challenge on Collins close to hallway on Swans’ left, and the card the referee was producing quickly changed from yellow to red when the Horley striker pushed the home left-back in the face. After showing some reluctance Quiassaca was finally persuaded to leave the pitch.

Swans wasted little time in taking advantage, making it 3-0 with five minutes of normal-time remaining of the half with another fine goal. Hicks’ pass down the left got Collins away, and he struck a terrific cross to the far-post. Siaw was there to volley the ball back across the edge of the 6 yard-box to Kelly, who tucked the ball home with a composed finish.

It could have been 4-0 just a minute into the second-half when Hicks played the ball forward on the left to Mills, who sent Siaw clear to the corner of the 6 yard-box, but Hyde came out to  block his shot behind for a corner. Swans played the kick short to build up play around the edge of the box and Francis to set up Munting, whose attempt to find the right corner dipped into the hands of Hyde on his line.

But Swans fourth goal was not long in coming, and it was another special effort from Mills, with just four minutes of the second forty five played. Hyde’s goal-kick was knocked down by Max Hustwick close to hallway on the right, and seeing Mills’ run he sent a clever lobbed pass forward. Mills pulled the ball down superbly with his right foot, before side-stepping a defender and lashing the ball past Hyde from the right edge of the box.

Three minutes later it was 5-0 with Francis getting his customary goal, but again the accolades go to Mills. Again a kick-out by keeper Hyde reached Hustwick on halfway, and he headed the ball down for Munting to clip it forward and send Mills bursting down the right. Mills drove the ball low across for Francis to sweep it in from the edge of the 6 yard-box.

With an hour played Hicks’ through ball got Kelly clear into the left of the box, but his attempt to slip the ball low into the far corner was denied by Hyde sticking out a leg and deflecting it away. Swans immediately made a double substitution, with Zach Dainkeh and Jordayne Henry coming on for Kelly and Collins, Onur Bakici already having replaced Siaw, while at the same time Horley changed out three players. Dainkeh was soon setting up Francis 25 yards out for a shot that Hyde got well behind. Hicks’ long ball then sent Mills through into the left of the box, but good covering by Horley’s Ford conceded a corner. Harry Pointing came on for Hicks, and he was at the far-post to clip the ball just wide when Reece Brewster delivered a free-kick from close to the left corner flag and Pratley-Jones flicked on. With Darren Simpson then coming on for Brewster Swans had changed half of their outfield players with still more than a quarter of the game to be played, but it did little to change their domination of the play.

Horley substitute Ryan Smith tried to catch Allen out with a lob from just inside his own half, but the ball fell wide of the goal.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining a poor clearance by Ford went straight to Dainkeh just outside the box on the right, and he drove in a first-time, low shot that Hyde did well to deflect round his far-post. Bakici went down under a challenge from Jack Poplett after Pratley-Jones got him through into the right of the box, but the referee judged the tackle to be fair. Francis then went on a typical run that took him in to the left corner of the 6 yard-box, but he dragged his shot into the side-netting. Munting got forward for a good low strike from 35 yards that went wide of the left post.

The visitors had their best opportunity to put a dent in Swans’ clean-sheet record with just five minutes of normal-time remaining when Pointing was harshly judged to have fouled Ford just outside the box, but Smith drove the free-kick straight through to Allen, who made his first serious save of the match.

It was Swans however who had the best chance to add to the scoring when they were awarded a penalty in the final minute. Dainkeh set up Francis for a run that that took him from his own half and into the left of the box. After getting to the corner of the 6 yard-box he was tripped by Poplett. Mills had the opportunity to cap his terrific performance by completing what would have been a thoroughly deserved hat-trick, but he drove the spot-kick against the right post, the final whistle being immediately blown.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Louis Collins (Jordayne Henry 61’), Reece Brewster (Darren Simpson 66’), Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks (Harry Pointing 63’), Harry Mills, Darryl Siaw (Onur Bakici 56’), Alex Kelly (Zach Dainkeh 61’), Jacob Munting, Palace Francis. Scorers: Own goal (3’), Mills (30’ & 49’), Kelly (40’), Francis (52’).

Horley Team: Hyde, M. Rapson, Ford, Secker (Poplett 70’), Hall, Goulter, Pearch, Branton (Smith 61’), J. Rapson (Membrillera 61’), McElligott (Greenaway 61’), Quiassaca. Sub. not used: Moreno-Gomez. Caution: Membrillera, foul (80’). Dismissal: Quiassaca, violent conduct (37’).

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