Swifts had a squad of 11 for the game, opting to make a few changes from their last game - Oliver Hayes continued in goal, with a back three in support of Jacob Kedward, Beau Lawrence, and Oliver Edwards, who came in at right back for the first time. Luca Risato sat just in front of the defence, allowing Joe Walsh, Theo Petrosanu and Alex Goode to attempt to venture forward, and supply Henry Clements, the lone striker. From the bench, Swifts could call upon both Jack Buck, and Tom Sayers.
Predictably, it was the visitors who enjoyed the vast majority of possession - the 'A' League side were firm favourites, and will have their sights set on going much further in the competition - but in the opening minutes, they didn't have the territory to go with it; Swifts looked to pen them deeper in their half and try and force their opponents into mistakes.
But the quality came through in the 7th minute - a cross-field pass had Swifts scrambling to get back into shape, before they were split open at the back by a through ball which left Beau Lawrence outnumbered 1v2 - the number 10 raced clear, and finished well into the left corner of the goal. From that point on, Moreton really took the initiative, and were utterly dominant throughout the first half. A string of efforts for the visiting side were saved by Oliver Hayes, as well as a whole host of corners and blocked shots that put Swifts under pressure.
Moreton should have doubled their lead on 14 minutes; but such is football, two guilt-edged chances for the away team ended up creating the best chance of the half for Swifts - A shot from range by the Moreton number 12 forced another stop from Oliver Hayes, who could only parry the ball wide towards the number 9, whose effort on the rebound cannonned off the far post and was scrambled away. The ball fell to Luca Risato, who drove forward past the first man, skipped past the second with a lovely piece of skill, and took a shot at goal, which was fumbled away for a corner by the 'keeper.
Once again, football moves so quickly - and after Moreton's huge chance, Swifts won a corner, and from Swifts corner, Moreton then doubled their lead. They broke with pace, four players bombing forward - eventually scoring an almost identical goal to the opener, with a through ball finished off by the number 10. This proved the turning point in the half, as Swifts looked to throw the towel in temporarily, and Moreton took full advantage. It was 3-0 just two minutes later, with a shot from their number 9 finding the far corner. 4 minutes later in the 22nd minute, another counter attack made the game 4-0, after their goalkeeper made a superb save to prevent an own goal - and in the 25th, an unmarked header from a corner made it 5-0 going into the break. A half to forget for Swifts.
HALF TIME: SWIFTS 0-5 MORETON RANGERS
Swifts were so much better in the second half. When another side is evidently stronger - all you can ask from a team is their maximum effort and application, and to dig deep and battle to try and force a result. In the first half, other than the first and last 5 minutes, this didn't happen. Swifts rolled over far too easily and allowed Moreton to walk all over them, but in the second, they stood up to be counted. Oliver Hayes was forced into several good saves to keep the score down - but special mentions in the game to Joe Walsh who stood up to bigger midfielders and didn't give them an inch of space - to Beau Lawrence, who continued to block and win tackles despite being pulled all over the pitch by some good attacking play - and also to Oliver Edwards, who didn't make it obvious in any way to the opposition that it was his first game in at right back, as he did a superb job; playing out and clearing when necessary, and competing on all fronts with a very talented Moreton winger.
It took until the final 5 minutes of the game for Moreton to finally find a way through Swifts again, when a corner was cleared as far as the number 12, who scored low underneath Oliver Hayes, who was unsighted with a pack of players in front of him. Moreton did score one more in the final stages, with a super finish from the number 9 into the roof of the net after a good through ball.
Swifts simply have to build on the battling attitude of the second half, going into their league game tomorrow, which sees them take the trip to Charlbury (September 28th). If they do so, they should have no problem getting a result.