Tuesday 25th October 2022.                                   Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

South Park Reigate 2    Walton & Hersham 0.

Swans were left still looking for their first win over the Reigate based club in seven attempts.

They would arguably never have had a better opportunity to end that lack of success, as they met their opponents on their newly established 3G pitch, a situation ideally suited to their game. But, despite dominating the play for long periods, they could not find their way through a well-organised home defence after going behind in the first-half. When they did create openings they found their former U18’s goalkeeper Zack Basey in fine form, as he brought off a series of fine saves.

Joe Pratley-Jones was not risked following his head knock the previous Saturday, and with his absence making it three right-backs unavailable, Dominic Ogun switched flanks. Jude Molloy, who had such a fine game after coming on at Binfield, retained the left-side spot.

Swans were soon guilty of giving the ball away, allowing Aidan Brown to be played clear into the left of the box, but keeper Liam Allen made a fine save from his shot. The home side then won a free-kick on the left when Ogun fouled Brown, but the delivery into the box was headed clear.

Swans dominated possession, with South Park sitting back, but it was a quarter of an hour before they threatened, Max Blackmore winning a corner on the left after being found on the byline. John Gilbert’s kick was met by Joe Hicks at the far-post, and his header deflected behind for another corner.

Brown continued to be the outlet for the home side, and only a fine tackle by Ogun in the left of the box prevented him getting in again.

Swans’ best play so far came when Charlie Nicholas found Molloy on the left and he played the ball inside to Alex Kelly, who got forward to the edge of the box, but his shot was just blocked by Sam Tutt and the ball looped into the gloves of Basey.

Nicholas was yellow carded for a foul outside the left corner of the box, giving the home side a free-kick in a promising position, but Ben Jordan drove the ball over.

Another good build-up by Swans led to Gilbert winning a corner on the left, and from his kick Nicholas, Kelly and Hicks combined to get Arsen Ujkaj in on the right byline. When Ujkaj drove the ball in Ogun got a touch at the near-post, but Basey managed to deflect it wide.

It was South Park however who took the lead after 34 minutes. The ball was won in the centre-circle, and when Brown was played into the right of the box he found the bottom left corner.

Swans had a free-kick on the left, and when Nicholas sent the ball in, it was knocked back at the far-post, and Flynn Bolton was just denied in the box.

The home side soon won a corner on the right, and from Jordan’s kick Tom Drinkwater put wide at the near-post.

Molloy then got down the left to win a corner for Swans, but Gilbert’s kick was hit too long.

With two minutes of normal-time remaining of the half Swans went their closest to scoring. Molloy found Gilbert on the left, and he cut inside across the edge of the box, before driving in a low shot that keeper Basey kept out of the bottom right corner with a fine save down to his left. Gilbert was then fouled on the right, and Kelly’s free-kick into the box was scrambled clear.

South Park went close to doubling their lead five minutes after the resumption. Brown was played clear into the right of the box, and he laid the ball across to Jaden Edwards, unmarked at the far-post, but Allen made a great block.

Persistent play by Max Blackmore on the right for Swans enabled Ogun to cross into the box, but Jordan Adeyemi glanced a header wide. With an hour played Bolton laid the ball back from the edge of the box to Ogun, and he made room before driving in a left foot shot that Basey tipped round his right post with a terrific save.

At the other end Allen twice had to deny the home side, getting behind a shot on his line, and then saving a shot to his near-post from Aiden Vendrells on the right after Swans had lost the ball in midfield.

Swans were again denied by Basey when Adeyemi drove in a low shot from wide on the left, the home keeper diving to his left to push the ball away, with Eddie Simon just failing to get to the loose ball at the far-post. Simon then put Gilbert down the right to drive the ball low across, and Basey pushed the ball away from his line. Ujkaj followed up to get in a shot from the left of the box, and Adeyemi tried to deflect the ball in at the left-post, but put it wide.

It was the home side who scored however, doubling their lead and effectively sealing the win with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. Vendrells was played through into the box, and was brought down by Allen as he tried to go round him. The Swans’ keeper was booked, before failing to keep Ryan Healy’s spot-kick out of the bottom, left corner.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Dominic Ogun, Jude Molloy, Alex Kelly, Charlie Nicholas, Joe Hicks, John Gilbert, Arsen Ujkaj, Max Blackmore (Josh Millo 75’), Flynn Bolton (Eddie Simon 61’), Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Taurean Roberts, Harry Mills, Maliq Morris. Cautions: Nicholas, foul (29’), Allen, foul (84’).

South Park Team: Basey, Drinkwater, Tutt, McKillop, Faithorn, Bell, McGee, Healy, Brown (Vendrells 62’), Jordan (McElligott 75’), Edwards (Murphy-McVey 85’). Subs. not used: Dobbs, Hellestoe. Scorers: Brown (34’), Healy, penalty (74’). Cautions: Brown, Bell, Jordan.