Saturday 10th December 2022.                              Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

Walton & Hersham 6    Guernsey 0.

A three goal blast by Swans in the first half hour, followed by a sensational Palace Francis strike before half-time, set them on the way to a convincing win over the struggling Channel Islanders, with six different players registering on the scoresheet. The second-half saw the visitors barely venture out of their own half as Swans played some terrific possession football to lay siege on their goal. Although he gifted Swans their final goal, The Green Lions’ goalkeeper Josh Addison helped keep the final goal count to six with some fine saves and a degree of good fortune.

Jordan Adeyemi was fit to return to the starting line-up, but top scorer Eddie Simon was only named on the bench, having picked up an injury in the previous match. John Gilbert continued his rehabilitation from injury by also being among the substitutes, while Dominic Ogun returned following injury and a one match ban.

On a freezing cold day, and with an early one o’clock kick-off, Swans almost made a quick breakthrough as Joe Hicks got the ball into the box from the right, and Addison just got the ball away before Alex Kelly could pounce. A fine move then led to Ogun putting Taurean Roberts down the left, and when he got in a fine cross Francis glanced a header wide. Swans were almost gifted a goal when Guernsey tried to find Addison from a throw-in on their left, and Adeyemi pressed the keeper into a rushed clearance, the ball bouncing off the striker and going just wide of the near-post.

The opening goal came after twelve minutes when Adeyemi played a fine through ball to get Kelly away on the left. Kelly laid the ball across to Maliq Morris just outside the ‘D’, and he sidestepped Matt Loaring before driving a superb shot low into the left corner.

The visitors had their first opportunity to pose a threat when Morris’s foul deep on the right gave them a free-kick, but Kieran Mahon’s ball into the box was headed clear.

Swans had a chance to extend their lead when Arsen Ujkaj’s fine diagonal ball from deep picked out Roberts on the left. He crossed to the far-post, where Kelly’s header went high and wide. A great move started in his own half by Ujkaj led to Roberts in the right of the box setting up Morris just outside, and he sent a half-volley just wide of the left post.

The lead was doubled after 26 minutes when a fine ball by Hicks found Francis on the left, and he cut inside to sidestep Keanu Marsh and get in a left foot shot that Addison could only parry. Ogun was just outside the 6 yard-box to drive home a left foot shot, and register his first goal for 11 months.

It was almost 3-0 just a minute later when Kelly was fouled out on the right touchline to give Swans a free-kick Harry Mills delivered the kick to the near-post for Mitchal Gough to get his head to the ball and Addison to just get a touch and deflect it wide.

Swans did increase their lead just past the half hour. Hicks was on halfway to play a fine through ball to Ogun on the left edge of the box, and he set up Adeyemi by the penalty-spot to neatly collect and slot home.

Ujkaj played a fine diagonal ball to Roberts on the right, and when he got into the box Addison just got across to clear. With three minutes left of the half Adeyemi made a great run in on the left byline, but couldn’t find anyone in the box.

Swans immediately made it 4-0 however with a stunning goal. Gough played an excellent ball to switch play from the right to Francis 40 yards out on the left, and he got forward a couple of paces before striking a tremendous shot into the top, right corner past a stunned keeper.

Swans made a double change for the second-half, with Jude Molloy and Charlie Nicholas coming on for Ogun and Hicks, and they soon went close to increasing their lead. Adeyemi pounced on a stray back-header on the left edge of the box, before setting up Roberts to his right, and he got in a good shot that Addison did well to tip over. Following the corner on the right taken short by Mills to Roberts, Mills’ cross to the far-post was tipped away by Addison, and Morris was just outside the left edge of the box to strike a great volley that flew just wide of the right post.

With an hour played Swans brought on Brian Garzon for Kelly, and they were soon building up a fine move that got Francis into the right of the box to lay the ball in to Morris, whose shot was just kept out on his line by keeper Addison. Swans continued to be almost exclusively camped out in their opponents’ half, with the visitors getting ten men behind the ball to try to stop them breaking through. Ujkaj got the ball to Francis on the right, and he beat Loaring to drive it to the far-post, where Adeyemi got a touch, and Addison just got down to save on his line.

Guernsey made a rare foray into Swans’ half, and Dan Hale got in a shot from five yards outside the box that home keeper Liam Allen saved comfortably.

Swans quickly made it 5-0 however midway through the second-half. Nicholas played the ball down the left to Adeyemi, and when he laid it in to Garzon on the edge of the 6 yard-box he tucked it into the bottom, right corner.

Garzon almost got a second goal when another fine build-up led to Mills and Francis linking up on the right. Mills cleverly played Francis through to the right corner of the 6 yard-box, where he sidestepped Jamie Dodd to set up Garzon to his left, but Addison made another good save down to his left.

Guernsey had another rare excursion forward to win a free-kick on the right touchline, and when the ball was delivered into the box Allen dropped it and had to recover to prevent it crossing the goal-line.

Swans were soon building up another attack, and Mills played Ujkaj into the right of the box, but he shot wide.

With just over ten minutes remaining Swans got their sixth goal, and it came from a mistake by the otherwise excellent keeper Addison. Another fine move led to clever play by Roberts on the edge of the box, and when he played the ball in to Adeyemi it ran through to the right byline. Addison tried to keep the ball in, but only managed to scoop it back to Roberts, who cut back inside and tucked it inside the right post.

As the match entered the final five minutes Francis and Garzon linked up on the right, and when Garzon laid the ball across to Morris just outside the right edge of the box, he struck a terrific shot against the crossbar. With stoppage-time being played Swans’ players packed into the visitors’ box to build up a terrific move that included an audacious back-heel by Mills and led to Ujkaj neatly chipping the ball to Mills to get him in on the right, but his shot was just deflected into the side-netting by Addison. From Mills’ corner Gough put a far-post header over, followed by the referee’s final whistle.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Harry Mills, Dominic Ogun (Jude Molloy 46’), Arsen Ujkaj, Mitchal Gough, Joe Hicks (Charlie Nicholas 46’), Palace Francis, Maliq Morris, Jordan Adeyemi, Alex Kelly (Brian Garzon 60’), Taurean Roberts. Subs. not used: Eddie Simon, John Gilbert. Scorers: Morris (12’), Ogun (26’), Adeyemi (31’), Francis (42’), Garzon (67’), Roberts (79’).

Guernsey Team: Addison, Marsh (Wallace 54’), Dodd, Dodds, Vaudin, K. Mahon, Morris, L. Mahon, Domaille, Hale, Loaring. Sub. not used: Martin. Cautions: Marsh, K. Mahon.