Swans through in League Cup

Tuesday 11 November 2014.                            Robert Dyas League Cup, 2nd Round.

Walton & Hersham 2   Merstham 1.

In the last round at Dulwich Hamlet Swans scored in the last minute to set up a penalty shoot-out that they won. The drama of spot-kicks again looked to be on the menu until substitute Josh Bonnett was fouled in the box in the final minute, and Tarome Hemmings scored the penalty to put Swans through.

With Gareth Chendlik and Harry Mills both cup-tied with previous club Hampton & Richmond Borough, Matt Reece returned up front and assistant manager Martin Beard replaced Mills alongside Jahmahl King in central defence.

In drizzly rain, that was persistent throughout the 90 minutes, Merstham won two early corners, and from a left-side cross Dean Gunner got in a far-post header that Swans’ goalkeeper Gary Ross took on his line. Fabio Saraiva then drove in a free-kick from 30 yards that was both high and wide.

Swans were then awarded a free-kick on the left, from which they took the lead after 13 minutes. Hemmings sent the ball to the far-post for King to score with a firm header.

With half an hour played Andrew Mensah made a good run down the left before being fouled, one of several strong tackles from the visitors, but Hemmings failed to clear the defenders with the free-kick. But minutes later Merstham’s Stefan Cox fouled Anthony Oaks off the ball and was shown a straight red card by referee Webb.

Swans finished the first-half strongly, and after Hemmings almost got André Scarlett through, there were appeals turned down for handball when a shot was blocked.

Straight after the resumption Scarlett was played in on the right, but shot low wide of the far-post, and Swans were immediately hit by Merstham equalising. Visiting keeper Brannon Daly kicked downfield, and Aaron Rhule turned King and set up Omar Folkes for an easy finish.

With an hour played Vernon Francis was booked for a foul on the left, and from Taurean Roberts’ free-kick Ross made a good punch clear, but was then clattered by a Merstham player, who was fortunate not to join the Swans’ midfielder in the referee’s notebook.

Although down to ten men the visitors were having a good share of the play, and Roberts got in on the right to strike a strong shot wide of the far-post.

Nathan Daly put a good strike from fully 40 yards just over for Swans, who went close to regaining their lead when the ball was nodded back from the left and Mensah put a near-post header just wide.

Swans gradually introduced their three substitutes, and this was to finally pay off. In the final minute of normal-time Mensah had a close-in shot blocked, and in the ensuing scramble Bonnett was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot. Hemmings took on the responsibility and drove the spot-kick past Daly.

In stoppage-time Daly came up as Merstham won two corners, but this almost led to Swans increasing their lead as substitute Kadeem Ajeon broke clear on the right with the keeper still up-field, but the referee blew the final whistle to deny him.

Swans’ Team: Gary Ross, Nathan Daly, Dominic Ogun, André Scarlett (Josh Bonnett 76’), Jahmahl King, Martin Beard, Tarome Hemmings Vernon Francis, Matt Reece (Dylan Cascoe 73’), Andrew Mensah, Anthony Oaks (Kadeem Ajeon 88’). Subs. not used: Kwabena Osei, Ashley Thompson. Scorers: King (13’), Hemmings, penalty (90+1’). Cautions: Reece, kicked ball away (34’), Francis, foul (60’).

Merstham Team: Daly, Gunner, Douglas, Morath-Gibbs, Obamwomi, Henriques, Roberts, Rhule, Folkes, Saraiva, Cox. Subs. not used: Steven, Bradley, Aitwod, Hutchings, Chatfield. Scorer: Folkes (46’). Cautions: Douglas (41’), Obamwomi (45+1’). Dismissal: Cox (32’).