Tuesday 5th December 2023.                                  Southern League, Premier Division South.

Sholing 0    Walton & Hersham 1.  Abandoned after 54 minutes.

Swans made another fruitless journey into deepest Hampshire as they suffered their second abandonment of the season, the floodlights at Sholing partially failing early in the second-half. Unlike the match at Winchester however, that was abandoned on the opening day due to waterlogging, they were leading when proceedings were called off. They had gone ahead after just six minutes, and although they had to do a fair amount of defending, they did not offer the home side any clear openings, and for the few minutes played in the second-half they looked like increasing their lead.   

There was a fair amount of reshuffling of the Swans’ pack, some at the last minute, as Stan Flaherty and captain Joe Hicks were serving one-match bans, while Alex Kelly and Anis Nuur were both late arriving and had to drop out of the starting line-up. 18 year-old Eoin Bolger, who has been playing on dual-registration at Cobham, came in for what would have been his debut, but with the match void that will now be put on hold.

Sholing soon had a free-kick deep on the right, and after Charlie Davis delivered the ball to the far-post it came to Bradley Targett outside the box, and he drove it wide of the right post. Targett then got to the ball just before Jake Frailing and got forward to just outside the box, before sending a low shot just wide of the left post.

Swans lead soon came when Mitchal Gough made a great tackle deep on the right touchline and slid the ball down the line to Ibrahim Olutade. Olutade played the ball inside to Trae Cook-Appiah, and he drove a fine shot low into the far corner from the right of the box.

Sholing had two free-kicks in quick succession out on the left, but both delivered into the box by Davis were safely dealt with. Gough picked up a yellow card for a foul, giving the home side another free-kick on the left, and this time the ball was put behind at the far-post for a corner when Davis sent it in.From Davis’s kick on the right a header looped through to Swans’ goalkeeper Tyla Dickinson. With half an hour played Frailing became the second Swans’ player to be booked for a foul, and the free-kick 35 yards out on the left was driven wide of the left post by DavisA slack pass out of defence by Swans could only find Davis, and he cut across from the right 35 yards out to send a shot dipping over. Sholing’s Keane Anderson was the next to be shown a yellow card, but he was soon crossing from out by the right corner-flag for a header to be put over. The referee was not reluctant to show his authority, and Olly Allen became Swans’ third player to be shown yellow for a fairly innocuous challenge on the halfway line on the left. Davis’s free-kick was safely seen behind at the far-post.

Allen was soon being set up by Cook-Appiah 25 yards out, and he got in a good strike that home keeper Ryan Gosney just managed to palm away on his line. In the final minute of normal-time Gough sent John Gilbert driving forward through the middle, before he was cynically brought down by Byron Mason. He had found Eddie Simon on the left however, and he cut inside to get in a shot that Gosney could not hold at the far-post, and Olutade followed up to put the ball over from close in. Mason was then booked for the challenge on Gilbert, becoming the fifth player into the referee’s notebook in the first-half. In stoppage-time Cook-Appiah made a run into the right of the box, but failed to find anyone in the middle.

Sholing brought on Mathias Tepe for the second-half, and he was soon getting down the right and crossing into the box for Luka Chalwell to send a header glancing over. The ball was then lofted forward to Dan Mason 25 yards out, and he turned to strike a half-volley over.

Swans forced a corner on the right, and this led to a throw-in on the left. Gilbert played the ball across to Harry Pointing in the middle, and he found Cook-Appiah in space in the right of the box. Dan Miller went down to block his low cross at the near-post, but Cook-Appiah had a second bite as the ball came back to him, but his low shot was straight at keeper Gosney.

Then, as Swans broke from a home attack, the floodlights went out in the home half. Just nine minutes of the second-half had been played, and it was not long before the referee called a halt to proceedings.

Swans’ Team: Tyla Dickinson, Harry Pointing, Eoin Bolger, Olly Allen, Mitchal Gough, Arsen Ujkaj, Trae Cook-Appiah, Jake Frailing, Ibrahim Olutade, John Gilbert, Eddie Simon. Subs. not used: Alex Kelly, Anis Nuur, Rylee Wright, Joe Pratley-Jones. Scorer: Cook-Appiah (6’). Cautions: Gough, foul (19’), Frailing, foul (30’), O. Allen, foul (38’).

Sholing Team: Gosney, Flannigan (Tepe 46’), Targett, Milner-Smith, Miller, B. Mason, Davis, Anderson, D. Mason, Chalwell, Wagstaffe. Subs. not used: Cope, Hesketh, Flooks, Sullivan. Cautions: Anderson, foul (38’), B. Mason, foul (44’).