Swans 8 Holyport 0

Tuesday 26th October 2021.    Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, 1st Round.

Walton & Hersham 8    Holyport 0.

Two stunning strikes by Swans inside the first ten minutes dispelled any thoughts of a potential banana skin moment, as top of Premier Division South met bottom of Premier Division North. Going 2-0 down early, the league newcomers then felt the full attacking brunt of a Swans’ side that proceeded to put them to the sword. The visitors will probably be relieved that with still twenty minutes to be played and being already 8-0 down, Swans took their foot off the gas to some extent, content to play out the remaining time available.

With Joe Hicks rested, Harry Mills took over the captain’s armband and weighed in with four goals, which could well have been more as he also hit a post and was withdrawn with still 18 minutes remaining. Along with Hicks, Joe Pratley-Jones was also rested, while Alex Kelly joined Reece Brewster on the injured list, having come off early in the previous game against Camberley. Dan Taylor made his first start of the season, with Alec Fiddes also coming into a side that showed a change in set-up.

The visitors started with a couple of attacks that almost caught Swans cold, the second of which saw George Lock drive a half-chance well over the goal from outside the box. But Swans wasted no time in taking the lead, doing so after just four minutes with another terrific goal from Palace Francis, their top scorer finding the far, top corner with a superb, right-foot shot from the left edge of the box.

What looked a good shout for handball in the box went unheeded, before Swans seemed to have another justifiable claim for a penalty denied when goalkeeper Kyle Bradley and defender Steve Deverall combined to bundle Fiddes over in the right of the box. Swans however soon doubled their lead when Jacob Munting opened his goal account for the club, and it is debateable whether he will go on to score a better one. The midfielder won the ball close to the centre-circle, before bringing it forward to 35 yards from goal and striking a tremendous shot that Bradley could only watch flash inside his right post.

Swans continued to dominate possession, probing for openings, but it was 25 minutes played before they went close to making it 3-0. Munting played Mills down the right, and he drove a terrific, low shot from a tight angle on the edge of the box that rattled the far-post.

But Mills was not to be denied just before the half hour. A clever clip over the defence by Fiddes sent Mills clear, and he drew keeper Bradley before coolly finishing into the bottom, right corner, with the visitors’ claims for offside going unheeded.

Mills was soon getting the ball to Taylor on the right, and he sent a superb cross low into the 6 yard-box that was just cleared away. Some fine play by Fiddes led to Francis clipping the ball over the defence to Mills, but his attempt to lob the keeper dropped just wide of the right post.

Swans made it 4-0 with ten minutes left of the half with a superb team goal. The Holyport defence could only watch as Swans moved the ball around looking for the final killer pass, and it came with Taylor being played down the right to again drive the ball low into the 6 yard-box, and this time Francis was there for a simple tap-in.

With the tie effectively won, Swans took the opportunity to rest Francis and Munting for the second-half, with Will Kouadio and Zach Dainkeh coming on, and Kouadio marked his entry by scoring the fifth goal after just two minutes. A superb, raking pass out of defence by Max Hustwick picked out Louis Collins on the left, and his cross into the box forced Holyport to clear behind for a corner on the right. The kick was played short by Mills, who then drove a strong, low shot to the near-post, and Bradley just managed to force the ball behind for another corner.The second kick resulted in Kouadio getting in a shot that Bradley half-stopped, but the keeper could then only watch the ball bounce slowly over his goal-line.

Kouadio was fouled just outside the ‘D’ on the edge of the box, and Darren Simpson sent the free-kick dipping just over the goal. With almost an hour played Holyport made a triple substitution, but it failed to alleviate the pressure on their goal. Fiddes played a superb ball to Mills on the right, and he picked out Kouadio in front of goal, but he just failed to force the ball over the line.

Just past the hour Swans made it 6-0, with Mills getting his second goal of the evening. A free-kick was awarded 35 yards out, and although Mills got plenty of power behind his shot, keeper Bradley did not cover himself with glory as he let the ball slip through his hands and into the net.

A great long pass by Harry Pointing resulted in the ball coming to Mills 30 yards out, and his shot took a deflection to win a corner on the left. Swans continued to totally dominate possession, putting the visitors’ goal under incessant pressure, and Dainkeh got in a great shot from the edge of the box that just cleared the bar.

Midway through the half it was 7-0 to Swans, with Mills completing his hat-trick. Mills played a short corner with Fiddes on the right, and after getting into the corner of the box he drilled a terrific left-foot shot into the far corner.

Two minutes later Mills scored his fourth goal, and his third in the space of nine minutes. Kouadio set him up on the edge of the box to drill a shot low into the left corner.

Holyport immediately had a rare foray into Swans’ half, and a header was glanced wide when Dan Rapley crossed from the right.

Mills’ job was done, and he came off, with Hicks replacing him in an unaccustomed position up-front.

The visitors had a free-kick awarded on the left edge of the box, giving them a rare opportunity, but Fabien Etienne’s shot took a deflection to go behind and win them their first corner of the match. But Swans continued to be in total control, playing out the rest of the game with the job already completed.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Dan Taylor, Louis Collins, Harry Pointing, Max Hustwick, Jordayne Henry, Alec Fiddes, Jacob Munting (Zach Dainkeh 45’), Harry Mills (Joe Hicks 72’), Darren Simpson, Palace Francis (Will Kouadio 45’). Sub. not used: Darryl Siaw. Scorers: Francis (4’ & 35’), Munting (10’), Mills (29’, 61’, 68’ & 70’), Kouadio (47’).

Holyport Team: K. Bradley, Gough (Sharp 58’), Deverall (Whitfield 58’), Ensby, Wilson, Jeffery, F. Etienne, Burnett (Evans 58’), Lock, Lowther, Rapley (Rose 76’). Sub. not used: Araguez.   

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