24.04.12 - MAGNA DPL RESULT - BLANDFORD UNITED 4 SWANS 1
Swans Sunk By Royals
After disposing of a hapless Poole Borough outfit in their final home game of the season on Saturday, Swans now finish with five consecutive away matches. The first of those saw the shortest journey and on paper a great chance of three points as the Royals sit below Swans in the table. Since prolific striker Mark Ford left for Southern League Weymouth, Blandford's results have become very inconsistent - losing to lowly Cranborne and Hamworthy United Reserves whilst beating Bridport Reserves and Chickerell United.
Swans were forced into making two changes to their starting line-up with Tony Parrott and Nick Taylor both unavailable due to work commitments. Jamie Beale took Parrott's place and with no specialist 'keeper on Swans books able to make the trip, Lee James took over between the sticks.
On a very wet playing surface, Blandford settled into the game quicker and they went ahead with their first attack. After forcing a corner, the flag kick wasn't cleared properly by the Swans defence and Albert Harwood drilled the ball into the bottom corner after 10 minutes. Just a minute later and Lee James was called into action to deny Jamie Haylock after his near post shot nearly doubled the home sides lead. Swans did manage to stem the Blandford tide and on 16 minutes, Ben Harding just failed to direct his header on target from a Jacob Harrop corner. After 20 minutes Swans forced a succession of corners and both Ricky King and Jamie Beale had good headed chances which failed to fully test Dan Brockway in the home goal.
The game then became a midfield battle with neither side managing to assert any sort of authority on proceedings until the 38th minute when the Royals increased their lead. A delightful through ball saw Jamie Filkins in on goal and he slotted past the onrushing James. Although Blandford had taken their chances when presented, Swans were the architects of their own downfalls and as the sides trudged off at half-time they knew that they would have to improve after the break.
After some probable choice words from messes Whitton, Davies and Brown and a tactical change - Adam Richards replaced Jack Watson - Swans looked much brighter in the opening exchanges of the second half. Although having plenty of the ball, Swans were failing to create any real openings and after Saturday's goalfest, you could sense this could be Shaftesbury, Weymouth Reserves and Cranborne all over again. With the side chasing the game, gaps did start to appear at the back and on the hour mark Bladford scored their third when Joe Baker ran through and cooly despatched the ball into the corner of the net past the diving Lee James.
Swans didn't lie down and kept probing for an opening and both Jacob Harrop and Paul Best worked good positions before choosing the wrong options at vital times. With 20 minutes to go Swans threw caution to the wind by bringing on Chris Stratford and sacrificing Paul Yerby. The change had the desired effect as Stratford's first touch of the ball saw him leave three defenders for dead before being crudely brought down on the edge of the box. The resulting free-kick was only half cleared to Paul Best who cut in from the right touchline, jinked past two defenders before finding the bottom corner.
3-1 and game on as Swans were now well on top. With ten minutes left, Swans had a golden chance to set up a grandstand finish. After Jacob Harrop was fouled on the edge of the box, everybody stopped and thought the official would blow for a free-kick as he seemed to forget what the advantage rule was for the rest of the game. He didn't and the ball fell to Jamie Beale six yards out, his shot seemed to be going into the bottom right hand corner until somehow Brockway tipped the ball round the post for a corner. That was Swans last real chance of the game and Blandford would have the final say in injury time after a mix up in the Swans defence saw Dan Haylock chip the ball over Lee James for Blandfords fourth goal of the game.
A disappointing result for Swans who never really got going until the second half when Blandford scored two break-away goals to give the scoreline a flattering look.
Swans: James, Carpenter, Yerby (Stratford 70), S Beale, Watson (Richards 45), Harding, Best 1, Harrop, Harvey, King, J Beale.
Virtual Swans Cup Man Of The Match: Paul Best