Monday 19th December 2022.                                                  Velocity Cup, 4th Round.

Carshalton Athletic 4    Walton & Hersham 1.

Swans exited the Velocity Cup in disappointing fashion at a wet and windy Colston Avenue. An awful start led to them going 3-0 down inside the first half-hour, but a quick reply from Maliq Morris gave them some hope. A promising start to the second-half then raised their hopes still further that they could get back into the tie, but any thoughts of a comeback were removed when two red cards saw them reduced to nine men just past the hour. The Robins also had a player sent off following a mass altercation triggered by a Palace Francis challenge. Francis and Taurean Roberts were both dismissed, along with the home side’s Tom Beere. Carshalton soon restored their three goal advantage with a goal that looked suspiciously offside.

Premier Division Robins, who had suffered just one defeat in nine, took the lead with just seconds on the watch, Femi Akinwande being the first home player to touch the ball as he scored with a shot from outside the box on the left following slack Swans’ defending.

A good move led to Eddie Simon driving the ball low across the 6 yard-box from the right as Swans posed their first threat, but Carshalton doubled their lead after twelve minutes. The ball was lost in midfield, and when goalkeeper Liam Allen failed to deal with Calvin Ekpiteta’s low cross from the right, Akinwande was left with a simple tap-in for his second goal.

With a quarter of an hour played the ball was again given away, and Allen made a superb double save from shots from Akinwande and Tommy Bradford as the home side got in on the right.

The Robins’ Ekpiteta was shown the first yellow card of the evening for a foul, giving Swans a free-kick on the left, but keeper Danny Bracken was able to cut out Harry Mills’ ball into the box. Swans continued to look vulnerable in the tricky conditions however, and when Carshalton got in on the right Bradford’s shot hit Mitchal Gough on the line and the ball went behind. Following the corner from the right the ball was put wide of the near-post.

Midway through the half Swans had another free-kick deep on the right, but Mills sent the ball wide of the far-post.

The home side made it 3-0 after 26 minutes following a free-kick on the right edge of the box. Leo Hamblin played the kick short to Crossley Lema, and his cross to the far-post was headed in by Ollie Cook.

Swans reduced the deficit after 31 minutes, with Morris keeping up his fine recent record of shots on goal. Simon was sent on a run down the right, and when he played the ball low across, Morris was just inside the box to neatly drive a left-foot shot low inside the left-post.

The Robins continued to pressurise Swans’ defence for the remainder of the half however.

Both sides made a double substitution for the second-half, with Swans bringing on Dominic Ogun and Jordan Adeyemi for Charlie Nicholas and Morris to try to change their fortunes.

Swans soon went close when Francis did well on the right before driving a right-foot shot over from the corner of the box. Simon was then fouled on the right touchline, but Mills’ free-kick was cleared. Carshalton’s Lema shot over after being played in on the right, but Swans continued with a good start to the second-half, and when Ogun sent Simon clear on the left, he put a low shot wide of the near-post.

Swans’ hopes of a comeback were dashed however with an hour played when Francis challenged Hamblin on the right, and the Robins’ defender ended up colliding with the pitch-side advertising boards. With the home dugout close-by, a mass brawl resulted, with both sets of players and technical area staff involved. Quite how the match officials selected those worthy of sanction is debateable, but it was Francis and Roberts for Swans, and Beere for the Robins who were red-carded, the match restarting after a five-minute holdup.

Swans soon conceded again as Lema was played down the right to set up Alex Akrofi in the 6 yard-box, with more than a suspicion of offside.

Both Ekpiteta and Akrofi spurned further acceptable chances for Carshalton, and Allen made another fine near-post save, before Swans went close to getting a further consolation in the dying minutes. Joseph Parker had just replaced Bracken in the Robins’ goal, when he was caught well out of his area as Allen’s clearance found Adeyemi on the right. The Swans’ striker lobbed the ball over the substitute keeper from 40 yards out, and it looked goal-bound until the wind took it against the left-post.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Harry Mills, Charlie Nicholas (Dominic Ogun 46’), Arsen Ujkaj, Mitchal Gough, Joe Hicks, Palace Francis, Maliq Morris (Jordan Adeyemi 46’), Eddie Simon (Brian Garzon 77’), Alex Kelly, Taurean Roberts. Subs. not used: John Gilbert, Joe Pratley-Jones. Scorer: Morris (31’). Caution: Ujkaj, foul (39’). Dismissals: Roberts, violent conduct (62’), Francis, serious foul play (62’).  

Carshalton Team: Bracken (Parker 85’), Lema, Hamblin, Cook, Williams, Sow (Beere 46’), Cumberbatch, Bradford (Vigor 46’), Ekpiteta, Akinwande, Akrofi (Smith-Joseph 77’). Scorers: Akinwande (1’ & 12’), Cook (26’), Akrofi (68’). Caution: Ekpiteta, foul (16’). Dismissal: Beere, violent conduct (62’).