Football Management & Technology

Uxbridge 1 Swans 0 | Walton & Hersham Football Club

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Saturday 8th October 2022.                                        FA Trophy, 3rd Qualifying Round.

Uxbridge 1    Walton & Hersham 0.

After exiting the FA Cup just a week earlier, Swans’ interest in the FA Trophy also ended following a disappointing performance against a good Uxbridge side. Their FA Cup defeat at Taunton Town saw them fail to score for the first time since last February, when they went goalless for three matches. That was not only the last time they could not find the net in successive matches, but also the last occasion they suffered back-to-back losses. Following that Swans went on an undefeated run that stretched to twenty matches, so they will be looking to bounce back immediately. There were chances, particularly in the second-half, for them to avoid another goalless match, but it was always a struggle to claw things back against a well-organised side following a first-half mostly controlled by Uxbridge, that saw them take the lead five minutes before the break. A triple substitution was made for the second-half to try to wrestle that control back from the home side, and for a while Swans looked like getting back into the tie, but that challenge gradually faded.

There were several changes to Swans’ starting line-up, three of them enforced due to Charlie Nicholas being ineligible, Joe Hicks suspended and Harry Mills injured, resulting in a new central-defensive pairing. Devan Tanton was available again however after returning from international duty.

Josh Millo won an early corner for Swans after being played through to the right byline, but John Gilbert’s kick was punched away by home goalkeeper Tyler Tobin.

There were calls for a penalty from the home side when Victor Osobu went down after driving into the left of the box, but the referee did not concur. Alex Witham then got in a shot from the left of the box that was straight at Swans’ keeper Liam Allen.

At the other end Max Blackmore got forward to the right byline, but his cutback was claimed at the near-post by Tobin.

A ball down the middle found Uxbridge’s Dan Williams, but he shot wide of the left post from outside the box. The home side continued to look threatening, and Scott Donnelly got in a good strike from distance that looked like finding the top, right corner, but Allen dived across to make a fine save.

Swans’ best move so far was started by Jude Molloy getting forward down the left and Jordan Adeyemi laying the ball across to Gilbert 22 yards out, but his low shot was saved on his line by Tobin.

Osobu continued to look lively for Uxbridge, and he drove in on the left byline to get in a cross that Allen cut out at his near-post.

Just before the half hour Swans went close to taking the lead when Alex Kelly played Millo down the right to get in a cross, and the ball was headed behind for a corner. Gilbert’s kick from the right was met by Blackmore at the near-post, but his powerful header flew just wide.

Uxbridge’s Alan Hedley got into the right of the box to shoot wide of the near-post, before Swans again had a chance to take the lead. Molloy got Adeyemi away down the left, and he laid the ball across to Millo at the far-post, and the young player will feel disappointed to see his shot clear the bar.

The home side continued to have the bulk of the play however, and Josh Andrew drove a dangerous ball across goal from the right that Joe Pratley-Jones just managed to hook clear. Donnelly then got in another good strike from 35 yards out that Allen beat down on his line.

Swans responded with Adeyemi laying the ball across to Tanton on the right, but his ball into the box was headed well over by Eddie Simon.

But Uxbridge immediately took the lead five minutes before the break. Osobu was allowed to make inroads on the right before Williams was found at the far-post, and he was given the space to turn and place a shot into the bottom, left corner.

So, for the second match running, after looking like going in at the break level, Swans found themselves trailing. Remedial work was needed for the second-half, and Arsen Ujkaj, Maliq Morris and Taurean Roberts all came on for Molloy, Simon and Millo.

With just a minute of the second 45 played Allen came out to claim the ball and Hedley followed through unnecessarily on the Swans’ keeper, and surprisingly no action was taken against the Uxbridge player.

Swans had an early chance to equalise when Gilbert made a fine run on the right before finding Blackmore at the near-post, but he could not sort his feet out and the chance was lost. Another fine chance soon came when Tanton crossed a good ball from the right, but Adeyemi’s half-volley cleared the bar. On the hour mark Swans had a free-kick out on the right touchline, and Gilbert’s delivery into the 6 yard-box fell to Ujkaj, but he couldn’t force the ball in. This was Swans’ best spell of the match, and they soon went desperately close to the equaliser. Blackmore laid the ball off to Tanton on the right, and from the corner of the 6 yard-box he drove a shot against the crossbar. The home side’s skipper Andy O’Brien was shown a yellow card for fouling Gilbert out on the right touchline, but Gilbert’s free-kick into the box was claimed by keeper Tobin.

Swans’ good spell had not produced the equaliser they had been seeking, and the home side began to come back into the game, and with a quarter of an hour left they forced three corners in succession.

Swans began to become frustrated as Uxbridge slowed the game up, but they had an opportunity with five minutes of normal-time remaining when Adeyemi was fouled ten yards outside the box on the left. Gilbert’s free-kick however went straight through to Tobin. The home keeper was also able to cut out Gilbert’s low ball in from the right.

Uxbridge almost settled the tie in the final minute as they got in on the left, but Allen made a great save at his near-post.

Swans’ last opportunity to send the tie into a penalty shoot-out came in stoppage-time, but after Ujkaj was played to the left byline by Gilbert, his cross was blocked away.

Swans’ Team: Liam Allen, Devan Tanton, Jude Molloy (Arsen Ujkaj 46’), Alex Kelly, Dominic Ogun, Joe Pratley-Jones, Josh Millo (Taurean Roberts 46’), Eddie Simon (Maliq Morris 46’), Max Blackmore, John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi. Subs. not used: Flynn Bolton, Ollie Twum, Dom Pires. Caution: Pratley-Jones, foul (54’).  

Uxbridge Team: Tobin, Andrew, Goodman, Jarra, O’Brien, Jackson, Witham (Paine 75’), Hedley, Williams (Chendlik 82’), Osobu (Bitmead 83’), Donnelly. Subs. not used: Poley, Seabrook, Nugent, Talla. Scorer: Williams (40’). Caution: O’Brien, foul (67’).

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