Tuesday 21st February 2023.                                 Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

Chipstead 0    Walton & Hersham 2.

Swans used their game in hand on the other leading clubs to record a seventh successive win and cut the lead of pacesetters Basingstoke Town at the top of the table to four points. It took a battling performance to see off the challenge of a home side that looked determined to avenge their 3-1 defeat at Walton early in the season. Swans took a 1-0 lead into the break, but Chipstead can consider themselves unfortunate not to have capitalised on several defensive lapses. The second-half was a different matter however as Swans dominated from the restart and tightened up considerably defensively, barely offering their opponents a chance, and effectively sealing the win with a second goal.

Both Joe Pratley-Jones and Arsen Ujkaj returned to the starting line-up, with Dominic Ogun and Taurean Roberts dropping to the bench.

Swans were fortunate not to go behind early when they failed to clear a high ball down the right and Andy Kabuikusomo got into the box to set up Jonathan Hood, but Mitchal Gough was on the goal-line to block his shot.

Pratley-Jones had an early chance to use his long throw from the right, and following this he crossed the ball back in high to the left of the box, where Eddie Simon appeared to be held by a defender. Swans then had a great chance to take the lead when Harry Mills fed Simon, who played a great first-time ball to put Jordan Adeyemi clear into the left of the box, but his low shot was inches wide of the far-post. John Gilbert then got Adeyemi into the right of the box, but his low ball in couldn’t pick out Simon in the middle.

Chipstead again went close to going ahead when slack defending allowed Bradley Wilson and Kabuikusomo to combine and set up Daniel Pappoe in the right of the box, and he drove a shot against the far-post, the ball rebounding into the gloves of Swans’ goalkeeper Liam Allen on his line. Pratley-Jones was then shown a yellow card for a foul on the left to give the home side a free-kick, and Gough had to head behind when Peter Wedgeworth delivered the ball to the far-post. Wedgeworth’s corner-kick was well cut out by Allen.

It was Swans however who took the lead after 23 minutes, with Alex Kelly scoring his first goal of the season. Mills was fed inside his own half on the left, and he sent a great ball over the top that Teddy Perkins couldn’t cut out, and Kelly picked up on the edge of the box before taking the ball to the right of keeper Matt Kerbey and slotting home.

The home side continued to threaten, and Allen had to block at his near-post when Kabuikusomo got in on the left. Wilson then got in a shot from 30 yards that the Swans’ keeper kept out of his left, top corner.

Swans forced a couple of corners in succession, and Kelly almost got Gilbert in on the right, but Kerbey was quickly out to make a good take at his feet. Kelly played an excellent through ball from the centre-circle to Gilbert on the edge of the box, and he got past Perkins and Michak Stanic-Stewart to drive in a low shot that Kerbey went down to save on his line.

Chipstead had another chance when the ball was headed down the left to Kabuikusomo, and when Hood took over in the box he shot into the side-netting.

Swans built up an excellent move, but when the ball came to Mills 30 yards out he drove over. As the half entered the final five minutes Teo Kurtaran won the ball in the middle of the pitch and played it through to Simon in the right of the box, and he got in a good strike that brought a save from Kerbey down to his right.

Kurtaran was penalised for a foul near the centre-circle giving Chipstead a free-kick, and Wedgeworth picked out Kabuikusomo in at the left post, but his header was straight into the well-placed Allen’s gloves.

Swans responded with another fine build-up that led to Gough knocking the ball forward to almost get Kelly in for a second goal.

Soon after the resumption for the second-half Pratley-Jones took a long throw from the right and when the ball came to Kelly he appeared to be held. Mills was immediately playing a fine ball down the left to get Kelly into the box and to the byline. Kelly did well before laying the ball back to Simon, but he miskicked his shot, with Gilbert probably better placed. Adeyemi was then found on the edge of the box by Kurtaran’s long ball, but after making room his shot was blocked. Mills was fouled by Chipstead’s O’Sullivan 40 yards out to give Swans a free-kick, but Kurtaran drove the ball into the wall. The ball came out to Ujkaj on the left, and he played a great pass to Kelly in at the near-post, but his shot was well blocked and the ball claimed by keeper Kerbey. Swans had started the second-half really well, and with an hour played another fine ball by Ujkaj from the centre-circle picked out Simon on the left, but after cutting inside a couple of defenders he drove his shot over. Mills then got both Adeyemi and Simon clear into the box, but Kerbey was quickly out to make a good save at their feet.

The ball had to be cleared at the near-post when Chipstead threatened on the right, but Swans continued to dominate, and another excellent ball from Ujkaj found Gilbert on the right, but his low cross was well cut out by Kerbey. Pratley-Jones took another long throw from the right, and when Kurtaran and Kelly worked the ball back out to him he drove it low into the 6 yard-box, but it was again well taken by Kerbey.

The home keeper had done well to restrict Swans’ lead, but he was instrumental in them going 2-0 up after 78 minutes. Gilbert chased the ball down the left, and Kerbey came well out of his area to try to clear, but his attempt to kick clear was blocked by the Swans’ midfielder. Gilbert got clear into the left of the box before rolling the ball low into the far corner.

Allen had to make a good take at his near-post when Chipstead drove the ball in low from the right, but Swans always looked capable of stretching their lead. Palace Francis had replaced the tireless Gilbert, and with the match entering stoppage-time he was set on a run down the left, but after cutting inside past a couple of defenders his shot was deflected over.

The home side had one last opportunity to get on the scoresheet as they got down the left, but Allen did well to push the ball away when it was driven in.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Harry Mills, Arsen Ujkaj, Mitchal Gough, Joe Hicks, Teo Kurtaran, Alex Kelly (Taurean Roberts 84’), Eddie Simon (Dominic Ogun 87’),  John Gilbert (Palace Francis 81’), Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Darryl Siaw, Jonathan Gjoshe. Scorers: Kelly (23’), Gilbert (78’). Cautions: Pratley-Jones, foul (19’), Gough, foul (31’), Kurtaran, simulation (58’), Gilbert, foul (66’), Kelly, foul (67’). 

Chipstead Team: Kerbey, O’Sullivan, Kennet, Perkins, Stanic-Stewart, Pappoe (Lavery 59’), Wedgeworth (Adeyemi 69’), Wilson, Kabuikusomo, Hood (Dixon 88’), Grant. Sub. not used: Wilkinson. Cautions: Kennet (31’), Stanic-Stewart (57’), Kabuikusomo.