Report by Martyn Walsh
Swifts lined up in a 2-1-3-1-1 formation with Oliver Hayes in goal, Jack Buck and Beau Lawrence in defence with Ben Seward holding. The midfield three of Tom Sayers, Toby Norman and Alex Goode sat just behind the attacking force of Dan McAndrew and Henry Clements. On the bench were utility players; Joe Walsh and Theo Petrosanu.
Swifts started the game in bright fashion for once, with most of the pressure coming directly through the middle, despite such a wide pitch. 15 minutes of pressure finally reaped its reward when a shot from distance by Toby Norman took a slight deflection and sailed in, out of the keepers reach. The strike was goal-bound regardless and fully deserved. Instead of pushing on, Swifts seemed to start sitting back, and invited Byfield to attack - which they duly did. On 20 minutes Byfield’s number 8 rolled the ball around 3 Swifts players and tapped home from close range.
After a couple of substitutions, Swifts finally regained the momentum. Tom Sayers stole the ball on the left and put a lovely forward pass through to Theo Petrosanu, who in turn played an inch perfect, defence splitting pass through the penalty area to a fast advancing Toby Norman who struck low to the keepers right for his, and Swifts second goal.
HALF TIME: BYFIELD TIGERS 1-2 SWIFTS
The second half started with Byfield showing a lot more belief and the hosts were moving the ball around nicely. Swifts challenges dried up and it was no surprise when Byfield equalised for a second time with a storming run down the right flank, the winger finishing the run with a perfect shot off the back post, despite two unmarked attackers in the box waiting for a cross.
Byfield were now in the ascendancy and took the lead after a needless push in the back by Tom Sayers gifted Byfield with a free kick which looked too far out for a shot but an incredible strike hit the back of the net via the underside of the bar. Swifts were now 3-2 down and in need of a wake up call.
Swifts equalised with 10 minutes to go. Toby Norman spotted Henry Clements on the shoulder of the last defender and put a beautiful ball straight through the middle of the park. Henry Clements spun his defender and charged towards goal. The outcome was never in doubt as Henry calmly slotted the ball in the bottom left hand corner from just inside the box.
The game looked to be heading towards a fair and deserved draw when, with 2 minutes remaining, a Byfield goalkick only reach Joe Walsh who was now playing in an advanced role. Joe controlled the ball with a single touch and, spotting the Byfield keeper off his line, drifted a perfect lob over his head and into an empty net for the winning goal.
It was a laboured win. It should have been easier, and Swifts fragile tackling still needs more work, but the win will do wonders for the boys confidence. Two difficult games lie ahead in the coming weekend as they take on Moreton in the cup on Friday night (to be confirmed) and Charlbury in the league on Saturday. (September 27th/28th).