Saturday 18th February 2023.                               Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

Walton & Hersham 4    Bedfont Sports 1.

For the second home game running Swans had to come back from conceding an early goal before going on for a convincing win. A sluggish start resulted in them being second best to the visitors for the first quarter of an hour, but they gradually settled into their game, and went on to avenge the earlier defeat suffered at Bedfont. Their opponents were certainly not helped by having a player sent off with just over ten minutes remaining of the first-half. Swans equalised in first-half stoppage-time, and went ahead straight after the resumption for the second-half, before soon making it 3-1 and effectively sealing the win that consolidated their second spot in the table.

The visitors soon won a free-kick out by the left corner flag, and when Seanan McKillop delivered the ball to the near-post it was put behind with both Sam Evans and Steve Ngunga there, but the flag went up for offside. Bedfont continued to press, and Charlie Wickham had three opportunities to use his long throw from the right.

The pressure led to Swans going behind after eight minutes. Bedfont won the ball in midfield and Marco Firgueiredo was found free on the left. When Aidan Brown was found in the box he did well to shrug off several challenges, before moving to the left and driving the ball low into the far corner. Wickham sent in another long throw from the right and the ball came off a Swans’ head, but went safely into the gloves of goalkeeper Liam Allen.

Swans began to come more into the game and Harry Mills forced a corner on the right, but Dominic Ogun was denied at the far-post when John Gilbert sent the ball over.

The visitors still looked a threat however, and they won a corner on the right, but Brown sent the ball harmlessly behind. Brown then got in on the right to strike the ball towards goal, but Mitchal Gough got back to clear.

Midway through the half Swans went close to equalising. Teo Kurtaran found Gilbert in the centre-circle, and he played a fine ball to Jordan Adeyemi on the right. Adeyemi played the ball in low to find Eddie Simon by the penalty-spot, and he got in front of Cerny Ando to get in a shot that brought a fine save from keeper Joe Ringer down to his right. Kevat Serbonij then fouled Mills on the right, but his free-kick was blocked by Firgueiredo. Joe Hicks was at the far-post when Taurean Roberts got the ball over from the left, but he was stretching and could only head high and wide.

The incident then came that led to the visitors going down to ten men. Adeyemi cut across the pitch from the right, and when he got alongside McKillop the Bedfont player inexplicably kicked him in the leg. McKillop himself went down and received treatment, but the referee had already consulted with his assistant and finally sent him off. Although McKillop had already been booked for an earlier offence, the card shown appeared to be a straight red. The resultant free-kick from 35 yards out was driven over the goal by Mills.

A fine move led to Adeyemi being found on the right, and he laid the ball back inside to Mills, but  after cutting past Ngunga his left foot strike was straight at Ringer on his line. In the final minute of normal-time Alex Kelly played an excellent pass from the centre-circle to Adeyemi on the right, and he whipped the ball in to find Simon on the edge of the 6 yard-box, but his first-time shot went over.

There was little time to rue the missed chance however, as two minutes into added-time a fine build-up led to Mills playing a terrific through ball to Adeyemi on the right. Adeyemi just kept the ball from going over the byline and laid it low across the box. Both Simon and Ogun failed to get a touch, but Gilbert was there to stroke the ball low into the bottom, right corner to put Swans level.

It only took two minutes of the second-half for Swans to take the lead. Hicks found Roberts on the left, and he neatly slipped Gilbert through to the byline to play the ball low across. Both Simon and Adeyemi were there to get on the end of the cross, but it was Simon who struck the ball home from close range.

Bedfont soon went close to getting an equaliser when they had a free-kick on the right following a foul by Hicks. Ngunga swung the ball in, and when it was nodded back across Kurtaran just denied Brown a far-post header and put behind for a corner.

Swans responded with Gough playing a fine through ball to get Adeyemi down the right, but there was no-one in the middle to capitalise on his low cross.

It was soon 3-1 however with 54 minutes on the watch when Adeyemi was again found on the right by Kurtaran’s excellent ball from the middle of the pitch. This time Simon was on the edge of the 6 yard-box to get on the end of Adeyemi’s driven cross and fire home a first-time, left foot half-volley.

The visitors forced a corner on the right, but a far-post header was wide from Brown’s kick.

It was almost 4-1 with an hour played when Mills played a short corner with Gilbert on the right and drove in on the byline, but Simon fired the ball over from his low cross.

Bedfont had the opportunity to create something from a free-kick deep on the right following a foul by Hicks, but Brown delivered the ball straight into the gloves of Allen.

Swans almost made it 4-1 with a freak goal. An attempted clearance struck Adeyemi outside the box on Swans’ right, and the ball rebounded towards goal, but went just wide of the left post with keeper Ringer beaten.

Palace Francis had replaced Simon, and he was to make it 4-1 with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. Ogun cleared to him down the left, and he drove forward before playing a neat one–two with Kurtaran to get into the box and drive a left foot shot into the far corner off the gloves of the keeper.

Francis had the chance to get a second when he was picked out on the left by a Gough’s terrific ball from deep on the right. Francis controlled the ball superbly, before playing a one-two with Kurtaran and getting in a shot that Ringer did well to save at the near-post, but the flag went up for offside.

The visitors found it difficult to get possession as Swans passed the ball around, but they did have an opportunity in stoppage-time with a free-kick on the left. Brown delivered the ball to the far-post for Ethan Kaiser to head home, but he was flagged offside.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Harry Mills (Jonathan Gjoshe 71’), Dominic Ogun, Alex Kelly, Mitchal Gough, Joe Hicks, Jordan Adeyemi, Teo Kurtaran, Eddie Simon (Palace Francis 66’), John Gilbert (Arsen Ujkaj 63’), Taurean Roberts. Subs. not used: Darryl Siaw, Joe Pratley-Jones. Scorers: Gilbert (45+2’), Simon (47’ & 54’), Francis (74’).

Bedfont Team: Ringer, Wickham, Firgueiredo, McKillop, Kaiser, Ando, Ngunga, Serbonij, Evans, Brown, Dillon. Subs. used: Silvera (69’), Eakin (74’), Holt (80’). Subs. not used: Anoyke-Boadi, Stoop. Scorer: Brown (8’). Cautions: McKillop (11’), Evans (37’). Dismissal: McKillop (34’).