Walton & Hersham FC 4 Whitstable Town 1 – Match Report
Ryman League, Division One South
Saturday 8 August 2015
A much-changed Swans’ side, fielding only five regulars from last season, got off to a good start to the new campaign on a hot, sunny afternoon at Stompond Lane. The corresponding fixture last season saw Swans take a 2-0 lead in the final five minutes of the first-half, no further goals coming in the second. They repeated that in this match, but this time it was the platform for them to double that lead in the second period, before they gifted the Kent side a soft consolation goal.
Andrew Mensah made an early, clever run into the visitors’ box, but he was closed out, and Aaron Watson’s follow-up shot was blocked. There was little further threat to either goal until the 27th minute, when Mensah got into the left of the box to force a corner. This was followed by a neat piece of build-up play that resulted in Mensah laying the ball inside from the left to Jack Battie, but his low shot lacked the power to trouble visiting goalkeeper Adam Highstead. Mensah then made another run on the left, and Whitstable right-back Brandon Garner had to concede another corner to stop the Swans’ striker getting through.
The first serious threat to either goal came with just over five minutes of the half remaining when Mensah laid the ball back to André Scarlett on the edge of the box, and he struck a powerful shot just over. Swans had hit a good spell, and when Battie drove in a fine cross from the right, Myles Powponne put the ball just wide as he stretched at the far-post.
But Swans’ main threat had come from Mensah, and after 42 minutes he scored the opening goal, cutting across the edge of the box from the left before driving a powerful, right-foot shot low inside the left-post.
Then, as last season, the lead was doubled in the final minute of first-half normal time. Scarlett’s clever through ball found Watson inside the right of the box, and when he set up Powponne to his left, the former Cobham 19 year-old made room for himself before driving the ball past keeper Highstead.
Five minutes into the second-half Mensah got in a looping header from Dominic Ogun’s left-side free-kick that forced Highstead into a two-handed punch off his line.
A minute later the visitors should have halved Swans’ lead when Ira Jackson sent a free-kick into the box and Ollie Gray knocked the ball down. With home keeper Luke Badiali deceived by the bounce, Chris Seenan was left with a free header in front of goal, but he somehow put the ball wide.
Swans failed to capitalise from a free-kick on the edge of the box when Harry Mills was fouled, and Mills then put a near-post header over from Battie’s left side corner. Then Scarlett was played into the right of the box to drive in a shot that Highstead did well to push away.
But just past the hour Swans made it 3-0, Ogun sending over a corner from the right, and Mensah leaping at the far-post to plant a header across goal and in.
Two minutes after the restart Whitstable again had a chance to get back into the game when C-J. Williams was adjudged to have tripped Seenan inside the left of the box. Visiting substitute Kane Rowland elected to take the penalty, but drove the ball some way over the crossbar. Rowland had another fine chance when he got in on the right, but his shot was well blocked by Badiali.
Whitstable were left to rue those misses, as a minute later Watson did well on the left before laying the ball across to Powponne, and he again made no mistake, slotting past Highstead to make it 4-0.
Powponne immediately gave way to Omari Hibbert, and he was soon getting into the left of the box to put a low shot just wide of the far-post. Hibbert was soon going close again following a fine build-up.
With just under a quarter of an hour remaining Swans gave away a soft goal that gave the visitors a fresh impetus. A complete misunderstanding between Badiali and his defenders allowed Seenan to roll the ball into an empty net.
Badiali was soon keeping out another goal, blocking the ball as Whitstable got through. Swans had lost their composure, and another shot went wide from the edge of the box.
But it was Swans who had the last chance four minutes into stoppage-time, substitute Shaquille McIntosh getting in on the left to have a shot blocked.
Match Report by Merv Rees
Swans’ Team: Luke Badali, John Oyenuga, Regan Mendes, Dominic Ogun, C-J. Williams-Agunabor, Harry Mills, Jack Battie (Kadeem Ajeon 65’), André Scarlett, Andrew Mensah (Shaquille McIntosh 65’), Myles Powponne (Omari Hibbert 69’), Aaron Watson. Sub. not used: Sean Fallon. Scorers: Mensah (42’ & 62’), Powponne (45’ & 68’).
Whitstable Team: Highstead, Garner (Smith 66’), Robinson (Cheek 66’), Treadwell, Doherty, Gray, Keyte (Rowland 56’), Bewick, Seenan, Jackson, Campbell. Subs. not used: Perkins, Brooks.
Scorer: Seenan (77’). Cautions: Robinson, Bewick.
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