Whitehawk Match Report

Saturday 19 March 2011. Ryman League, Division One South.

Whitehawk 0 Walton & Hersham 1.

Swans underlined their play-off credentials with a splendid win on the south coast that also put a dent in the Brighton club’s automatic promotion ambitions. Ashley Quashie’s 52nd minute goal moved them into a position where they are only kept out of the coveted fifth spot in the table by virtue of two more goals having been scored by Burgess Hill Town. They had to withstand determined attempts to rescue something from the match by a Whitehawk side that has scored twelve goals in winning their previous three home matches, but they coped superbly, and deservedly came away with full points. James Nicholls came back into the side, replacing pulled hamstring victim Jon Munday, but otherwise Swans were again unchanged. Whitehawk were quicker out of the blocks, pinning Swans into their own half, and after just two minutes Karl Akehurst had a chance just outside the edge of the box on the right, but he drove a low shot wide of the far-post.

Swans’ first chance came five minutes later when they won a corner on the left, and from Liam Collins’s kick Graeme Purdy got his head to the ball, and it was just scrambled away at the far-post. Purdy then neatly played Chris Wales into the right of the box to force another corner-kick. With a quarter of an hour played Nicholls was unfortunate to slip over and lose the ball, allowing Whitehawk’s Josh Jones to get through to the edge of the box and strike a good shot that Swans’ goalkeeper Gareth Williams did well to tip over. A run into the left of the box by Bakary Bojang won the visitors another corner, and from Collins’s kick Nicholls got in a header and the ball ended up in the net, but the goal was disallowed, seemingly for pushing by the Swans’ central defender. Collins then sent in a free-kick from deep on the left for Purdy to get in a downward header that was almost pounced on by Quashie, but home keeper Lloyd Anderson just got to the ball first. At the other end Jones played Sam Gargan in, but Williams was quick to see the danger and came out to take the ball at the Whitehawk striker’s feet.

But Swans continued to hold the edge, and when Shaun Elliott sent in a terrific cross from the left, keeper Anderson just managed to pluck the ball off Bojang’s head. With just over half an hour played Collins pumped a free-kick forward into the home box, and when Wales got to the ball it was clearly handled away by a Whitehawk player, but despite concerted appeals from both the Swans’ players and their supporters behind the goal, play was waved on. With ten minutes left to the break Whitehawk created an opening and Gargan struck a fine shot from 25 yards, but Williams got well behind the ball and beat it away. The home side finished the half well, and when Ben Godfrey got inside the left of the box, he cut back inside before getting in a shot that Williams took down by his near-post. Close to the break Wales was withdrawn and replaced by Bernard Asante, who was making his first appearance in a Swans’ shirt since November.

Bojang soon created a chance for himself after the resumption, making space outside the left corner of the box before driving in a low shot that home keeper Anderson saved on his line as the ball came through a crowd of players. Swans had started the second-half well and they took the lead seven minutes in. Ryan Adams made a fine, surging run forward on the right before hitting a shot from distance that took a big deflection off a Whitehawk defender, and the ball looped just out of the reach of both Bojang and Purdy at the far-post as it passed wide. Collins took the corner-kick from the left and Quashie found space at the near-post to send a glancing header past Anderson. Swans replaced Gary Frewen with Victor Kiri after an hour and Whitehawk soon made a double substitution as they tried to get back into the match. But as well as continuing to cope superbly with the home attacks, Swans were still causing problems for the Whitehawk defence. Midway through the second-half Collins sent in a high, hanging ball from the right and Bojang just failed to get in a close-range header when Anderson failed to cut the cross out.
Bojang then got in front of Anderson when Elliott crossed high from the left and got his head to the ball, but just failed to find the target.

Swans were going to be tested for the final quarter of an hour and a good ball by Whitehawk’s Stuart Tuck got Jeral Hughes into space down the right, and when the ball was driven low into the six-yard box Wes Tate got a touch, but Williams saved on his line. Sam Fisk then got his head to a cross from the left, but Williams made a terrific save, diving to his right to keep the ball out as it looked like finding the left corner of the net. Swans brought on Jean-Michel Sigere for Purdy, and he was soon found inside the left of the box by a fine pass from Adams, who had made a terrific run on the right. Sigere cut inside before sending in a low shot that went just wide of the near-post. With just over five minutes of normal time remaining Swans had the chance to gain some breathing space when Asante sent Bojang racing clear, but he took the ball too close to onrushing keeper Anderson, who was able to block it away. Whitehawk soon almost capitalised on the escape when Fisk made a terrific, surging run forward that took him into Swans’ box, but he ended up by poking his shot just wide of the right-post. Asante had another chance to make the points safe when he made a good run across the home box from the right, but after creating the opening he put his shot just wide of the left-post. Whitehawk’s final chance of salvaging a point came two minutes into stoppage-time when they won a corner on the right. From Paul Armstrong’s kick a strong header came in, but Adams was fortunately stationed at the near-post to head the ball off the goal-line. That proved to be the final scare for a Swans’ side that finished the match on the attack.

Swans’ Team: Gareth Williams, Ryan Adams, Shaun Elliott, Chris Wales (Bernard Asante 43’), James Nicholls, Richard Taylor, Liam Collins, Ashley Quashie, Graeme Purdy (Jean-Michel Sigere 82’), Bakary Bojang, Gary Frewen (Victor Kiri 60’). Subs. not used: Damian Matthews, Sheikh Ceesay. Scorer: Quashie (52’).

Whitehawk Team: Anderson, Richards (Tate 63’), Fisk, Armstrong, Pullen (Hurley 63’), Tuck, Akehurst, Carpenter, Gargan, Godfrey, Jones (Hughes 45’). Subs. not used: Kirkwood, Budd.