Saturday 11th March 2023.                        Isthmian League, South-Central Division.

Chertsey Town 2    Walton & Hersham 5.

Swans recorded their eleventh consecutive win with a stunning performance in the local derby to keep up their challenge for top spot. The home side had little answer to Swans’ attacking play, with players making swift runs from midfield, and found themselves 5-0 down with less than an hour played, only two late goals giving some respectability to the score-line. Eddie Simon continued his rich vein of scoring form, notching his second hat-trick in successive matches, and his third of the season, making it fifteen goals in nine matches for the striker. He now has 27 goals in the League for the season and 30 in all competitions.

Swans fielded an unchanged starting line-up from that which had beaten South Park (Reigate) 4-0 a week earlier.

Chertsey had an opportunity to take an early lead after just two minutes when Ronny Mfinda blocked a clearance on the left and sent a ball over the top to get Trevan Robinson clear into the left of the box. Robinson got the ball past Swans’ goalkeeper Liam Allen, but Joe Hicks was behind him on the edge of the 6 yard-box to clear behind for a corner, although the ball looked to be going wide of the far-post. Sam Murphy’s kick from the left was well cut out by Allen

The home side had applied early pressure, but Swans went close to going ahead with just four minutes played. Joe Pratley-Jones and Teo Kurtaran combined on the right, and Kurtaran’s fine through ball got Jordan Adeyemi to the byline. Adeyemi cut back inside past Alex Paine and crossed to the far-post, where Simon struck a terrific volley that home keeper Nick Jupp kept out with a good save down at his near-post. Another great chance came just two minutes later following clever play by Kurtaran deep on Swans’ left. This led to him threading the ball down the line to Alex Kelly and Simon finding John Gilbert just inside his own half. Gilbert picked out Adeyemi’s run on the right, and with Mason Welch-Turner slipping over he had a free run into the box, but Jupp came out to make a great block. Kelly was able to recycle in the left of the box, but he was closed out. Simon then got Adeyemi clear on the left, but he couldn’t pick out Gilbert in the middle.

Swans constant pressure paid off after ten minutes with a superbly worked goal, after Simon forced a corner on the right. From Kurtaran’s kick the ball came to Hicks on the left. He played the ball back to Arsen Ujkaj, who found Kurtaran on the right, and he cut inside before playing a terrific pass through to Simon in the right of the box. Welch-Turner again went to ground in trying to stop the Swans’ top scorer, who drove the ball low and just inside the far-post from a tight angle.

It should have been 2-0 two minutes later when Pratley-Jones played a great ball over the top down the right to Adeyemi. Adeyemi got to the byline, before cutting inside and playing the ball low across to Simon unmarked by the left corner of the 6 yard-box, but he surprisingly placed his shot wide of the near-post. Kelly then made a fine run past Darryl Harrison on the right to get in on the byline, but Jupp cut out his cross.

Chertsey had an opportunity to release the pressure when Hicks was judged to have fouled Troy Walters on the right, and Murphy’s free-kick led to a corner on the left, but the same player delivered the kick too long and behind at  the far-post.

Swans continued to dominate and create openings, and Ujkaj played a super ball down the middle to pick out the run of Simon, but Jupp was quickly out of his area to head away.

The second goal soon came after 18 minutes of play. Allen’s clearing kick found Kelly in the centre-circle, and he cleverly nodded the ball on to Adeyemi. Adeyemi tormented Welch-Turner on the right before laying the ball back to Pratley-Jones, who crossed high to the far-post. Curfews’ right-back Mano Gogonas headed straight down to Kurtaran, who set himself before driving the ball low into the left corner.

Gogonas had a chance to make amends as he got in in the right, but his low cross was cleared at the near-post.

Swans made it 3-0 after 23 minutes. Allen’s goal-kick found Pratley-Jones on the right, and he chested the ball down before finding Adeyemi. Adeyemi knocked the ball back to Pratley-Jones, who clipped a great pass over the top to Kelly inside the right corner of the box. Spotting Jupp coming out to close him down Kelly cleverly lobbed the ball over the keeper, and before the ball could go over the line Simon made sure by coming in at the far-post to nod home.

The home side went close to pulling a goal back following some good play on the left that led to Mfinda’s clever ball getting Robinson in on the byline, but his low cross was superbly blocked by Harry Mills on the goal-line at the near-post, and the ball rebounded into the gloves of a grateful Allen.

Swans immediately had a chance to stretch their lead when Kelly got Adeyemi in, but Jupp just denied him.

Chertsey continued to try to get back into the game, and they had an opportunity when Ujkaj fouled Walters on the right, but Murphy’s free-kick was safely headed clear in the box. Mitchal Gough had to block behind for a corner on the right when Robinson got into the box, and from Murphy’s kick the Swans’ central defender was able to head clear.

With half an hour played Kelly got free on the left for Swans, but Adeyemi was just closed out when the ball was played into him.

Chertsey immediately went close again when Walters was played clear into the left of the box before laying the ball across to Robinson unmarked on the edge of the 6 yard-box, but Mills came across to make another tremendous block.

Some terrific interplay by Swans around the edge of the box almost got Kurtaran in, and more fine play out on the left led to Simon cutting in, but shooting wide of the far-post.

The home side forced a corner on the right, and Murphy played the kick short to Gogonas, but the move ended with a shot over.

With five minutes of normal-time left of the half a clever throw-in down the right by Pratley-Jones found Simon free in the right of the box, but the angle was tight and his attempt to lob keeper Jupp found the side-netting.

Chertsey created another opening when Bill Montague played the ball through to Robinson on the edge of the box, but his low shot was saved on his line by Allen, going down to his left.

The home side started the second-half in determined fashion, and an attack on the right led to Mfinda shooting low and wide of the right post from the edge of the box. Gough then conceded a corner on the right, but Murphy’s kick was cleared away.

Pratley-Jones won Swans a corner of their own on the right, but Gough was penalised for a foul in the box when Kurtaran delivered the ball in.

Any hopes Chertsey had of getting a toehold back in the game were dashed just six minutes into the second-half. Pratley-Jones looked up from the halfway line wide on the right before sending another great ball over the top to pick out the run of Simon to the edge of the box. Simon shrugged off the challenge of Quincy Rowe before tucking a left foot shot inside the right post to complete another hat-trick.

Six minutes later it was 5-0 to Swans as they scored another superb team goal. Simon was deep in his own half when he sent a long ball down the left to pick out the run of Kelly, who drove forward into the box. Kelly played a clever one-two with Gilbert before laying the ball across to Kurtaran 10 yards out, and he tucked it into the bottom, right corner.

Swans had earnt the luxury of making substitutions, and they gradually introduced Darryl Siaw, new signing Daryl Coleman, and Palace Francis for Gough, Kelly and Simon.

With just under twenty minutes remaining Gilbert clipped a clever ball from the halfway line down the right to Adeyemi, who drove forward to the byline. Adeyemi laid the ball back to Francis just outside the right corner of the 6 yard-box, and he drove in a strong shot that brought a fine save from Jupp.

With twelve minutes of normal-time remaining the home fans had something to cheer when Paine found Gogonas on the right, and he got to the byline before laying the ball across to Scott Day unmarked on the edge of the 6 yard-box, and the Curfews’ substitute drove it past Allen.

Three minutes later Chertsey scored again after they won the ball in the centre-circle, and a long ball from Murphy found Walters on the left. Walters cut in past Pratley-Jones before laying the ball across to the far-post for Day to get his second goal with a simple tap-in.

There were no further worries for Swans however as they notched up another valuable three points.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Harry Mills, Arsen Ujkaj, Mitchal Gough (Darryl Siaw 62’), Joe Hicks, Teo Kurtaran, Alex Kelly (Daryl Coleman 59’), Eddie Simon (Palace Francis 64’), John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Ollie Twum, Taurean Roberts. Scorers: Simon (10’, 23’ & 51’), Kurtaran (18’ & 57’).

Chertsey Team: Jupp, Gogonas, Welch-Turner, Paine, Rowe, Harrison, S. Murphy, Mfinda, Walters, Montague (Yala 55’), Robinson (Day 62’). Subs. not used: K. Murphy, Hippolyte, Smith. Scorer: Day (78’ & 81’). Cautions: Robinson, foul (54’), Day, foul (67’).