Swifts had all eleven players from their win over Easington available for this one, but also had Freddie Jeffrey returning to the side for his first game of the season, giving them a substitute to use throughout the game - something which was certainly needed on a small, hard and bobbly pitch which was completely exposed to the searing heat. Jeffrey came straight into the starting side at left back, in the only personnel change from the side that beat Easington. Kian Cozier remained in goal, with Harry Thomas, Owen Hancock and Charlie Rose completing the back four. In midfield, Jerome Davies was allowed to move forward into a more familiar deep midfield role, allowing Rex Chiles and Ben Hughes license to venture forward. In attack, Cole Davies moved across to the right wing, with Alex Ford on the left, and Ajay Itah up front.
The game started with a seriously concerning moment for Swifts - a free kick for Grendon on the right touchline was swung in, and met by the head of a yellow shirt - the ball looped over Kian Cozier and struck the bottom of the crossbar, bouncing back down onto Cozier, who was on the floor after his dive. The ball looked a good couple of feet over the line, but nothing was given, much to the despair of the home coaches. The ball dropped to a Grendon player no more than a yard from goal after it was scooped away, so the decision shouldn't really have mattered, but for a superb save from Kian Cozier, who jumped back to his feet and somehow diverted the ball over the bar with his trailing leg.
Despite the chances for the home side, Swifts weren't out of the game by any means, instead, the game was end-to-end in the opening 15 minutes, with both sides clearly trying to get themselves some sort of cushion, knowing that their would be tired legs in the latter stages. But it was Swifts who took their chances first - scoring the opening goal after 9 minutes - Cole Davies' corner certainly wasn't his best delivery of the game; but it was met at the front post by Jerome Davies, who flicked the ball goal-wards and into the net at the near post, for his first goal of the season.
Soon after it was two, after a penalty was given, in soft circumstances. Chippy played the ball from back to front down the left, with Charlie Rose finding Ben Hughes, and then Ajay Itah, who drove clear of his man, got to the byline and saw his effort on goal fizz right across the face of goal. The referee however spotted an infringement, supposedly a pull on the shirt of Itah. He stepped up, and rolled the ball into the right bottom corner, sending the keeper the wrong way, for 2-0.
Grendon then got themselves back in it, with a bit of good fortune of their own. A ball down the left into the feet of the striker was mis-controlled and went for a throw-in - the decision seemed an obvious one even before the groans of disapproval from the Grendon forward, but somehow he managed to be given the throw in by the referee. That throw was headed away by Charlie Rose, into the back of his man's head, and deflect into the path of the Grendon number 9 in the penalty area - his shot then took another deflection, this time off of Freddie Jeffrey, and squeezed into the near post to make it 2-1.
The game continued in it's frantic nature, with both teams pressing forward at every opportunity until the 23rd minute, when Swifts made it 3-1. Lewis Pretorius had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes and made an impact, coming short to receive Freddie Jeffrey's throw in, and play it back into him with his first touch - Jeffrey then floated a lovely ball in behind the Grendon back line towards Ajay Itah, who beat the offside trap, got to the ball first, strode clear, and finished side-footed into the bottom right corner again. From this point on, Swift were utterly dominant and were the better side by a distance.
30 minutes had gone in the first half when another lofted ball into Ajay Itah, this time from Lewis Pretorius, set the Chippy number 9 clear again, this time he switched his finish, sliding the ball across the 'keeper and into the left side netting for 4-1, before on 39 minutes, just added time away from the break, another superb piece of vision from Lewis Pretorius saw him skip past his man on the turn, and roll a beauty of a pass through three yellow shirts and into the path of Alex Ford, who strode clear at pace and finished well into the far corner for a 5-1 Swifts lead at the break.
HALF TIME: GRENDON RANGERS 1-5 SWIFTS
The second half saw the game played at a much, much lower pace by both teams, understandably, with the heat really taking it's toll, and the scoreline already clearing showing which way the three points were heading. Swifts made use of their substitutes throughout the game with Lewis Pretorius, Cole Davies, Freddie Jeffrey, Ben Hughes, Rex Chiles and Alex Ford all having a break at some stage in the game - a luxury they haven't had often over the past couple of seasons. It was needed more than ever in this one.
It wasn't until midway through the second half (60 minutes in), that Swifts put the ball in the net once more - Lewis Pretorius again with the assist, set clear by Ben Hughes down the right. He crossed for Rex Chiles, who was clear of the Grendon back four himself, who took a touch before finishing under the goalkeeper. The hosts' linesman did his best to try and give offside, but a well done to the referee, who was well-positioned enough to spot that Chiles was behind the ball when the cross came in, and overturned the decision, giving the goal.
Swifts then made it 7-1 with a slice of good fortune - a Freddie Jeffrey corner, in-swinging from the right, had cause problems all day - eventually leading to a goal. Grendon could only flick the ball on with a header at the front post, with the ball looping over to Jerome Davies - his header looked goalbound, but struck the post, and then struck Ajay Itah who instinctively flicked a boot towards the ball, with it coming off his heel and dropping into the net. His 8th goal in the opening two games. Some start for the Swifts forward.
The scoring was finally rounded off with 9 minutes to play - another Freddie Jeffrey corner caused indecision in the penalty area from the Grendon defence - instead of clearing their lines, they only poked the ball out to the edge of the box, where, for the second game running, Lewis Pretorius was lurking - shifting the ball onto his right foot and drilling an effort across the 'keeper and into the bottom corner. A good return from the game for Pretorius, starting on the bench; and coming away with a goal and three assists.
Another convincing performance for Swifts, who go second in the league despite maximum points and a +14 goal difference - as Bampton Town played a game in midweek, and have 9 points. They have another game next weekend before a short break - they face Launton at Greystones (September 22nd).