Walton & Hersham 3 Ramsgate 0

Saturday 21 August 2010.
Ryman League, Division One South.

A rebuilt Swans’ side, fielding just two of last season’s squad, got the new campaign off to a terrific start with an excellent performance at Stompond Lane. The 3-0 score-line did not flatter them as they dominated throughout the 90 minutes.

With new goalkeeper Dean Ruddy best man at a wedding and his potential replacement, youth team keeper Harry Church, going down with mumps, late signing David Wilkinson took the place between the sticks. The former Forest Green Rovers’ custodian could not have had an easier debut however, as he was well protected throughout by a fine Swans’ defence, and the visitors did not muster a serious shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.

Opening day results can be misleading and the Kent side had also undergone a degree of rebuilding, with a reasonably young squad, but John Crumplin’s side did everything required of them on the day. Ryan Lake’s free-kick from 30 yards out after ten minutes that was straight at visiting keeper Conor Quinn was quickly followed by Ramsgate’s Gary Lockyer failing to direct his header by the left-post as a ball was played into Swan’s box.

Scott Todd was unceremoniously brought down by the visitors’ James Gregory after a good run forward got him to the edge of the box, but although Lake’s free-kick cleared the wall, Quinn was again well placed behind the ball. Swans took the lead after 20 minutes when Lake crossed a high ball from the left and Bernard Asante did well to head back across goal from close to the byline at the far-post.

Ray Powell appeared to be brought down as he went for the ball, but it still ran loose for Adrian Butler to force home from close-in. After half an hour Ramsgate’s Gregory tried the referee’s tolerance again with another shocking tackle on Todd that seemed more worthy of a red card rather than the yellow one brandished by the official.

Powell got in a flicked header when Asante sent in a long throw from the right, but the ball was gratefully pouched by keeper Quinn. Todd got into the right of the box to send over a fine cross that was just too high for Butler and Ramsgate broke forward, but a terrific interception by Louis Clark snuffed out the danger. Swans went close to doubling their lead when Asante got down the right before finding Powell at the far-post, who laid the ball back to Butler.

Butler was just denied at the expense of a corner, and from Lake’s right-side kick Matt York headed back at the far-post for Powell to have a header cleared off the line. With the break approaching Wilkinson in the home goal had his first serious piece of work, but he collected easily at his near-post when Gregory drove in a free-kick from close to the right-corner of the box.

Soon after the resumption a fine ball played Butler in on the left, and he was just too high with a powerful, angled shot.
Ramsgate keeper Quinn kept his side in it with a terrific block from a close-in shot from Powell, but he had no chance close to the hour when Lake played a fine ball through to put Powell clear to slot home. The visitors had a half-chance, but a far-post header went well wide from a left-side cross, and after 77 minutes they went 3-0 down to a terrific Swans’ goal.

Another late signing, Nick Barnes, had replaced Butler, and he started the move from deep that allowed Todd on the right to lay the ball off to Powell. Powell had spotted Barnes’s run forward into the box and he picked him out with a pin-point cross, and Barnes directed a fine header over the despairing Quinn.

Swans’ Team: David Wilkinson, Bernard Asante, Ryan Lake, Troy Oham-Strachan, Matt York, Antonio Simeone, Scott Todd, Louis Clark, Ray Powell, Adrian Butler (Nick Barnes 68’), Avun Jephcott (Felipe Marques De Lima 88’).

Subs. not used: David Baker, Will Jenkins, Frank Wilson.
Scorers: Butler (20’), Powell (59’), Barnes (77’).
Cautions: Asante, kicked ball away (55’), Powell, dissent (56’), Lake, foul (71’).

Ramsgate Team: C. Quinn, Gray, Wheatley (Groombridge 68’), Beech, L. Quinn, Laslett, Sherwood, Schulz, Lovell (Winnett 79’), Lockyer (Tsangarides 62’), Gregory.

Subs. not used: Harker, Axon. Cautions: Gregory, foul (32’), Gray, foul (80’).