Saturday 5th November 2022.                                Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

Walton & Hersham 2   Tooting & Mitcham United 1.

Swans looked like going two successive home matches without a win until new signing Mitchal Gough scored a sensational stoppage-time winner on his debut. It had looked like visiting goalkeeper James Shaw would earn his side a point, as he brought off a series of fine saves as Swans hit a good late spell, but he had no chance with Gough’s superb lob. The Terrors had put on a performance that belied their low position in the table, and they had chances of their own to go on and win the game. With the wind increasing during the second-half Swans had it potentially in their favour, but for some time they struggled to come to terms with it, with passes over-hit, but they settled in the latter stages to go on and secure the win.

They were pleased to welcome Liam Allen, Dominic Ogun and Jordan Adeyemi back into the starting line-up, while along with Gough, Bromley loanee Finlay Lovatt also made his first start.

The visitors soon pressed, and former Swan Nathan Daly sent in a long throw from the left, but the ball ran through to home goalkeeper Allen. A free-kick was then conceded by the left corner-flag by Joe Hicks, but the ball was cleared after it was taken short. It was still inside the first five minutes when Daly launched another long throw from the left, but again Allen was able to gather. Slack play then allowed Jordan Clarke to get in on the left past Gough, but his shot to the near-post took a deflection and the ball went just wide of the far-post and behind for a corner.

Swans continued to make errors at the back, and when they tried to work the ball out of defence it led to Tooting taking the lead after just seven minutes. Clarke stole the ball off Maliq Morris, and got into the left of the box before finding Raees Bangura-Williams unmarked to his right, and he calmly placed his shot inside the left-post.

Swans began to settle, and their first good spell of possession almost led to an equaliser. A neat build-up led to Gough playing the ball down the right to get Eddie Simon clear into the right of the box. Simon tried to clip the ball into the far-corner, but Shaw just managed to stick out a right-hand and deflect it away.

The visitors should have made it 2-0 however when they played a long ball down the left that Gough failed to cut out. Bangura-Williams got through into the box before setting-up Tayo Oyebola to his right, but from in front of goal he put the ball inches wide of the left-post.

Simon played John Gilbert through into the right of the box for Swans, but a nudge in the back by Nikolai Krokhin went unspotted by the referee. Swans soon equalised however with a quarter of an hour played. Lovatt was in the centre-circle to play a clever through ball that put Gilbert clear into the box. Shaw came out to close him down, but the ball broke to Simon on the left corner of the 6 yard-box, and he rolled it into an open goal.

Clarke was tripped by Alex Kelly giving Tooting a free-kick 25 yards out, but Daly’s shot was blocked. The visitors went close to regaining the lead when they had another free-kick wide on the left. The ball was delivered to the far-post, but Cory Walters-Wright put a good chance wide.

With half an hour played Swans had a chance to go ahead for the first time when Gough played a good ball down the right to send Ogun clear and into the box, but as he tried to find the far corner Shaw made a fine block. Swans went even closer just a minute later when Gilbert forced a corner on the right. From Morris’s kick Charlie Nicholas was on the edge of the 6 yard-box to power in a downward header that Harvey Browne just deflected off the line and behind at the right-post. Morris took the second right-side corner, and this time Gough got his head to the ball, and it bounced into the gloves of Shaw at the far-post.

With three minutes of normal-time left of the half the visitors had another chance. Allen’s kick out was met with Tooting making a speculative hooked clearance back down the pitch, and the ball bounced through to Oyebola, but after getting clear to the edge of the box, he lobbed both high and wide.

Swans ended the half strongly. Adeyemi knocked the ball forward for Gilbert to play it through to Simon, but he was just denied in the box by Browne. Ogun then put Gilbert down the right, but he drove the ball across goal.

The visitors were soon trying another long throw from the right by Daly in the second-half, but Allen was able to fall on the ball. They created another chance following a clever move around the edge of the box, but after being played in on the right, Browne put a weak effort wide of the near-post.

Swans began to put together some attacks, Gilbert making a good run into the box from the right before being closed out. A fine move then led to Gilbert getting Ogun free on the right, and his ball inside set up Lovatt, but his shot was blocked. Kelly and Gilbert then played a neat one-two, and Gilbert’s knock through picked out Kelly’s run into the right of the box, but he lobbed just over the goal.

The visitors responded with Clarke playing Browne through on the left, but he shot into the side-netting.

Lovatt had an opening for Swans on the right edge of the box, but his shot took a deflection to go behind. Morris’s corner from the right picked out Gough on the edge of the 6 yard-box, but he glanced a header wide of the far-post. With a quarter of an hour remaining Nicholas’s fine ball from the hallway line on the left picked out the run of Adeyemi, but after making room on the edge of the box, sidestepping Daly and Alex Filipe, he put the chance both high and wide. Nicholas then got forward to play a one-two with Simon that got him clear into the left of the box, but his low shot passed inches wide of the far-post. Swans continued to look for a winner, and with three minutes of normal-time remaining they went close to getting it. Nicholas played another great diagonal ball from deep on the left to find Gilbert on the right, and he drove into the box to strike a low shot that deflected just wide of the far-post off the outstretched right leg of keeper Shaw.

Tooting then had an opportunity of their own to win it after they broke after winning the ball in the middle of the pitch. Shamal Edwards was played clear on the right, but his shot to the near-post brought a fine save from Allen.

With the match into stoppage-time, and just as it looked as if the points would be shared, Tooting keeper Shaw sent a goal-kick out to his side’s left, where Gough was judged to have been fouled in the air when jumping for a header, with the visitors contesting the award of a free-kick just inside Swans’ half. Allen took the kick, sending the ball over to the left, where Hicks was on the corner of the Tooting box to head it back across. Gough was by the corner of the 6 yard-box to superbly guide the ball with the outside of his right foot over Shaw and into the far, top corner.

Having almost certainly won the points on his debut for his new club, Gough immediately went close to scoring another audacious goal From the hallway line on the right Gough saw Shaw off his line and lobbed the ball towards goal, and it bounced on the edge of the box and over the Tooting keeper, but just cleared the crossbar. There was still time for Swans to go close again, as Shaw kicked clear and Kelly was on the halfway line to nod the ball back and through to Adeyemi, but after getting to the edge of the box his shot brought another fine block from the Tooting keeper.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Mitchal Gough, Dominic Ogun, Alex Kelly, Charlie Nicholas, Joe Hicks, Finlay Lovatt (Josh Millo 69’), Maliq Morris (Taurean Roberts 65’), Eddie Simon, John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Jude Molloy, Flynn Bolton, Arsen Ujkaj. Scorers: Simon (15’), Gough (90+2’). Cautions: Kelly, Ogun, Gough.

Tooting & Mitcham Team: Shaw, Edwards, Browne, Krokhin, Filipe, Daly, Chang, Walters-Wright, Oyebola (Ceesay 69’), Bangura-Williams (Mbango 57’), Clarke. Subs. not used: Jallow, Kirlew-Wright, Akinnibi. Scorer: Bangura-Williams (7’). Cautions: Chang, Walters-Wright.