Tuesday 20th September 2022. FA Cup, 2nd Qualifying Round Replay.
Chatham Town 1 Walton & Hersham 3.
Swans reached the 3rd Qualifying Round of The FA Cup for the first time in 13 years after another remarkable match, full of drama, played out at the Bauvill Stadium It had to be something special to better the first match 2-2 draw, but the replay between two fine sides managed to be just that, a nerve-shredding, end-to-end encounter again going right to the wire. Swans again took a two goal lead, but that again looked vulnerable as their opponents reduced the deficit in the second-half. Chances came at either end, with both sides striking the goal-frame twice, before substitute Ollie Twum again came up with a late goal to clinch Swans’ passage to the next round. Swans have now played seven games, including three 2-2 draws, to earn a trip to Somerset to play National League South side Taunton Town, with the two matches against the Kent Club alone being watched by a combined total crowd of close to 2,000.
Swans made one change to the starting line-up, with Devan Tanton being unavailable. Max Blackmore returned after missing the first match, with Harry Mills moving to right-back.
Swans had an early opportunity when Eddie Simon was fouled just outside the corner of the box on the right. Mills drove the free-kick across, but home goalkeeper Ben Bridle-Card made a clean catch at his near-post.
Chatham soon threatened when Jack Evans broke forward before sending Josh Ogunseye away on the right. The former Swan cut inside Dominic Ogun, but drove a left foot shot well over.
Jordan Adeyemi got in on the left byline for Swans, but his low ball in was cleared, as the lively start to the game continued. With just under ten minutes on the watch, some excellent play on the right by Swans led to Simon playing the ball through to get Mills to the byline, but his cross was blocked at the near-post, with both Adeyemi and Max Blackmore waiting on the edge of the 6 yard-box. Blackmore then robbed Reece Butler on the right and got into the box, but Bridle-Card was across to block on the corner of the 6 yard-box. Swans had made an impressive start, and some fine play by John Gilbert on the right enabled him to get the ball over, but Bridle-Card made a good take in his 6 yard-box.
It was the home side however who went close to taking the lead, as they broke on the left to drive the ball across. Emmanuel Oloyede was at the near-post, but he failed to get a clean touch and the ball went across goal and wide.
Taurean Roberts made a good break forward for Swans and found Adeyemi on the left. Adeyemi cut inside, but sent a shot over the far, top corner.
Midway through the half Chatham’s Ike Orji played the ball into the right of the box to find Oloyede, but his attempt to lob Liam Allen only sent the ball into the gloves of the Swans’ keeper. The home side had an opportunity with a free-kick just outside the left edge of the box following a foul by Roberts, that earned him a yellow card, but Evans drove the ball into the wall. With just over half an hour played Oloyede drove into Swans’ box on the left, and clearly dived when Roberts came across to challenge. Evans immediately picked up a booking for petulantly trying to trip Roberts as the Swans’ midfielder ran past him.
Swans went close when good pressure by Blackmore forced a clearance to come to Simon just outside the right corner of the box, and he sent a fine strike just over. But it was Simon who gave Swans the lead with just under ten minutes remaining of the half. An excellent build-up on the right got Adeyemi into the box to get in a shot that was deflected behind for a corner. Following Mills’ kick from the right Butler could only head the ball out to Simon in the left of the box, and he scored with a superbly struck, first-time, half-volley.
As the half entered the final five minutes, a patient build-up led to Adeyemi playing Ogun down the left, but he shot over.
Orji made a good run down the right for Chatham that got him past Adeyemi and into the box. Adeyemi tracked him all the way however, and when the home right-back went down close in at the near-post the referee rightly ruled it a fair challenge by the Swans’ striker.
With stoppage-time being played it was roles reversed as Adeyemi got past Orji on the left and in on the byline, the ball being blocked behind at the near-post as it was driven in, with Blackmore ready to pounce. There was still time for Swans to go desperately close to taking a two goal lead into the break. Mills sent a long ball into the box from deep on the right, and when Orji attempted to head it back to Bridle-Card, Blackmore nipped in. The Swans’ striker took the ball round the keeper, and from the left corner of the 6 yard-box clipped it towards the empty goal, but Butler got across to make a great clearance off the goal-line. Gilbert followed in, but was just denied by Simon Cooper.
It was only seven minutes after the resumption however when Swans did go 2-0 up. The ball was played back to Mills on the right, and he sent an excellent pass through to get Adeyemi to the corner of the 6 yard-box, and he neatly found the far corner.
Mikey Dalton made a strong run in on the left for Chatham, but shot well over, before Swans went close to making it 3-0. Charlie Nicholas struck a great long ball from deep on the left to get Adeyemi bursting forward. Adeyemi cut inside Butler on the left corner of the box to drive in a shot that brought a fine save from Bridle-Card, diving to his left to push the ball wide of the post.
But instead of being out of the tie, Chatham quickly forced their way back into it. They forced a corner on the left, and when the kick came in Butler was at the far-post to knock the ball in. The home side immediately won a free-kick on the left, and when the ball was sent into the box it was knocked back from the far-post, and Cooper headed wide under pressure from Arsen Ujkaj.
Swans soon went close again with an hour played. Gilbert and Mills combined on the right, and when Mills crossed the ball in, Blackmore glanced a header just over from close to the penalty-spot.
Swans’ lead continued to look a slender one however as Chatham sent over a free-kick from out by the right corner-flag, and Mills had to head behind at the far-post. With twenty minutes remaining Ogunseye cut across the edge of the box from the right and drove in a left foot shot that beat Allen and rattled the crossbar. Cooper then got the ball to Matt Bodkin on the right, and he sent over a fine cross from out by the corner-flag, for Dan Bradshaw at the far-post to power a header across goal and wide.
Twum came on for Simon for Swans, and his very first involvement was to be fouled just outside the right corner of the box. Mills took the free-kick, and sent a terrific shot against the far-post. Mills then made a fine run forward before finding Twum on the right, and his cross was just too high for Adeyemi at the far-post.
It was end to end stuff, and clever play by Chatham’s Ogunseye got Oloyede in on the right, but Nicholas made a good block from his shot.
Swans then again went close to sealing the tie. Roberts had just made a fine header clear from the 6 yard-box following a Chatham build-up on the right, and he then broke up an attack, leading to Gilbert playing the ball through to send Blackmore racing clear from the halfway line. Bridle-Card came well out of his area, and Blackmore flicked the ball past him, but could not regain possession before it was cleared.
Swans then hit a post for a second time, following some fine play by Adeyemi on the left. He laid the ball across the edge of the box to Gilbert, who played a clever ball through to Adeyemi, who had got into the left of the 6 yard-box, and he struck the ball against the near-post. Twum was then played down the right before laying the ball back to Gilbert, who drove a shot just wide of the far-post.
With the match inside the final five minutes the home side went close to sending the tie into extra-time. Cooper combined with Ogunseye on the right, and when he played the ball into the box it passed unchallenged across goal and struck the far-post. With stoppage-time being played Chatham won a corner on the left, and they threw everyone forward, including keeper Bridle-Card, but the kick went behind at the far-post.
It was left to Swans however to end the match in style. Roberts and Blackmore combined in the centre-circle, with Blackmore finding Gilbert on the right. Gilbert burst forward before playing the ball low across to the far-post for Twum to tap in and trigger great celebrations from the Swans’ travelling support.
Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Harry Mills, Dominic Ogun, Taurean Roberts, Charlie Nicholas, Joe Hicks, Eddie Simon (Ollie Twum 74’), Arsen Ujkaj, Max Blackmore, John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Jude Molloy, Reece Brewster, Flynn Bolton, Josh Millo, Harvey Sellers. Scorers: Simon (36’), Adeyemi (52’), Twum (90+3’). Cautions: Blackmore (7’), Roberts (24’), Ujkaj (54’).
Chatham Team: Bridle-Card, Orji (Bodkin 67’), Cooper, Butler, Taylor, Robins (Domafriyie 46’), Dalton, Ogunseye, Saraiva (Bradshaw 58’), Evans, Oloyede. Subs. not used: Ajayi, Robinson, Kedwell, Brooks. Scorer: Butler (58’). Caution: Evans (38’).