10-Man Sholing Fall Short in Walton & Hersham Defeat

Tempers boiled as Paul Doswell’s Boatmen sink to three games without a goal or win in the Southern League Premier Division after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Walton & Hersham.

Trae Cook’s fortunate deflection on Stanley Flaherty’s strike produced the game’s only goal in an end-to-end first half which saw both goalkeepers called into action.

The blistering cold conditions in the Imperial Homes Stadium juxtaposed the red-hot rivalry building on the pitch, culminating in Sholing centre half, George Milner Smith being given his marching orders after conceding a late penalty.

Referee, Paul Barber issued 10 yellow cards across the ninety, leaving both managers infuriated on the touchline as Sholing rue a missed opportunity to climb up the table and above their opponents.

First half: 

In cascading winds, long balls were the fashion of the day; Walton & Hersham broke through for the first chance of proceedings when Tyla Dickinson’s driven pass laid Cook on goal with just Ryan Gosney to beat; the keeper stood up to the task to make a strong save.

Pressure mounted on the Sholing net as Mitchal Gough’s header from danger-man, Stanley Flaherty’s corner drifted beyond the reach of Ryan Gosney and fortunately just beyond his far post.

The Boatmen fought back with Mathias Tepe the creative catalyst as the in-form Swans’ shot-stopper was called into fine action following his long throw and pinpoint cross to top-scorer Dan Mason.

Bizarre became catastrophic when goalkeeper, Gosney handled the ball to prevent a corner whilst outside of his territory, conceding a free kick which they were forced to defend without captain Byron Mason – injured by fellow Boatman, Bradley Targett.

His leadership was sorely missed as the ball was gifted to the unmarked Flaherty 18 yards from goal to emphatically strike the ball towards goal, which crashed beyond Gosney with the aid of Cook’s deflection: 1-0 Walton & Hersham.

Seeking an equaliser, Sholing besieged the Swans’ goal in the half’s final ten minutes, George Milner-Smith and Charlie Davis came closest to troubling the diving Tyla Dickinson for the home side.

Half time: Sholing FC 0-1 Walton & Hersham

Second half:

Lee Wort and Marvin McLean were introduced at the interval as the Boatman approached the final 45 with renewed energy and vigour, probing for a crucial leveller.

Sholing’s right full-back continued to trouble the Surrey-side, despite Tepe’s half-time departure; Bradley Targett was the playmaker on this occasion as his marauding run and low cross evaded the outstretched boot of visibly frustrated Chalwell by inches.

As the clock neared the hour mark, tides began to turn against the Boatmen once again as Gosney spread himself to produce another goal-saving stop to deny Cook, before pouncing low to clasp onto a powerful effort from Flaherty.

Tempers began to boil as Owen Roundell-Prince, Targett and Milner-Smith went into the book for Sholing – the latter pulling an onrushing Cook back from goal was perhaps fortunate to avoid further punishment.

The Swans looked set to soar to victory when Flaherty’s sumptuous searching pass was flicked past Milner-Smith by John Gilbert, but a telling tug of the Walton shirt was enough to bring down the newly-introduced attacker: penalty.

Things went from bad to worse for the sinking Boatmen as Milner-Cook’s luck had run out and this time Barber had no choice but to send the centre half for an early bath.

Edward Simon was poised to take the penalty after a long wait in the persistent rain; he faced Gosney composed but thumped the ball square against the top-left of the Sholing crossbar to limit their lead to one.

Sparked by their unlikely survival the Boatmen foraged forward seeking a hard-fought point with efforts from Wort and Roundell-Prince coming closest, but ultimately the Swans’ goal remained impenetrable.

Full Time: Sholing FC 0-1 Walton & Hersham

Sholing FC starting XI: Ryan Gosney, Bradley Targett, Matthias Tepe (Marvin McLean, 45’), Owen Roundell-Prince, George Milner-Smith, Byron Mason ©, Charlie Davis, Charles Wagstaffe (Finley Du Port, 82’), Daniel Mason, Luka Chalwell, Alexander MacAllister (Lee Wort, 45’).

Unused substitutes: Noa Prestel, Daniel Miller.

Walton & Hersham starting XI: Tyla Dickinson, Joe Pratley-Jones, Eoin Bolger, Arsen Ujkaj, Mitchal Gough, Johl Powell, Stanley Flaherty (Anis Nuur, 83’), Alexander Kelly, Edward Simon, Nana Owusu, Trae Cook-Appiah (John Gilbert, 70’).

Unused substitutes: Maliq Morris, Jake Frailing.