Swifts had a squad of 10 for the game, starting with Finley Ashworth, as ever, between the sticks. In defence; Ivan Clements partnered Elliot Large, with a midfield three from right to left of Sammy Clews, Joseph Darlow and Isaac Kedward ahead of them. Sam McCabe continued up front. From the bench, Swifts could call upon any of Milo Hughes, Jack Beynon and George Meathrel.
The first opening of an end-to-end first 5 minutes came for Carterton - they counter-attacked well as the number 10 skipped past Elliot Large and towards the penalty area. He then crossed towards the centre of the penalty area, where Ivan Clements blocked the ball, with the rebound falling to a Carterton midfielder on the edge, who fired just wide of the left post.
Swifts then responded by winning a penalty - Sam McCabe was played clear down the left by Joseph Darlow, with his shot forcing a super save from the goalkeeper, only for the rebound to fall right back to him, where his effort was blocked once again - this time though, by a handball on the line by a visiting defender. Penalty given, and taken by Sammy Clews - but he could only drive his effort wide of the right post and away for a goal kick. This didn't deter Swifts though, and they began to pile on the pressure; a couple of corners from the right were well cleared, and an effort from Isaac Kedward was superbly blocked.
But eventually the pressure paid off, and Swifts grabbed the opening goal. A brilliant individual goal saw Swifts press a Carterton goal kick high up the pitch, with Isaac Kedward making a challenge, winning the ball, and driving forward at pace. With Sam McCabe and Sammy Clews in support of him either side, Kedward opted to drive straight through the middle of the Carterton defence, gliding past them both and finishing underneath the outstretched hand of the goalkeeper. A lovely finish for his first goal of the season.
Carterton did respond well though, and dug deep to try and gain a foothold back in the game. Finley Ashworth was forced into making a smart save to deny a good effort from the number 12, who did well to keep his shot from range down and on target. The visitors were enjoying a good spell, and they made it count - the next attack after Ashworth's save, the number 9 was played clear of the back line. Sammy Clews worked hard to get back in and looked to have done enough, but Finley Ashworth's kick out deflected off the number 9, and back off his own leg, somehow dropping to the feet of the number 7, who could simply roll the ball home with the goal gaping.
From this point onwards, both teams were full of confidence and were aware that they could cause problems - resulting in a breathless end to the first half, with no time for either team to relax, either in or out of possession. Swifts had woken up too after dropping temporarily - a clearance from Sam McCabe from a corner dropped to Isaac Kedward; who brought the ball down well, before beating two players, and forcing a wonderful save out of the goalkeeper once again.
Carterton then came agonsingly close to scoring themselves; a scramble in the box following a long throw into the area saw Elliot Large look to clear the ball long and away from danger - only to see it cannon back off the leg of the number 12 and fall into the arms of Finley Ashworth after striking the base of the post. From that, Finley's clearance bounced over the top and into Isaac Kedward, who took a touch to set himself beautifully, before finishing once again to score his second of the game, just seconds after almost conceding. This was then followed by the half time whistle, allowing everyone some much-needed time to settle themselves.
The second half did not start the way Swifts planned at all - after a "quiet" first couple of minutes (in terms of chances, rather than the flow of the game itself, which remained at a very high standard), Carterton won a corner on the right hand side. The ball was swung in around the penalty spot area where it wasn't dealt with, the ball fell to the number 12 in front of goal, who drilled home through the legs of Finley Ashworth, who was forced to dive at feet in an attempt to save.
Swifts responded well though, and for the following 10 minutes plus, the game seemed to be all Swifts. Carterton still posed a real threat on the break and as a result, Chippy had to stay alert defensively, but all the chances seemed to go their way. First; Isaac Kedward's cross was met on the volley by Sam McCabe, but the ball went wide of the far post, before a lovely one-two between Sammy Clews and Ivan Clements saw the former run clear, only for his shot to go away for a goal kick off the outside of the near post.
Chippy should have had themselves another goal midway through the second half though, from another really good move - a touch around the corner from Joseph Darlow found Sammy Clews on the right hand side, who controlled the ball well, shifted it out of his feet, and slipped in Isaac Kedward - his floated shot came down off the crossbar and bounced well over the line (as proved by photos), however neither the referee or coaches were able to clearly see this in real time, and therefore the 'goal' wasn't given.
The final stages of the game were absolutely brilliant. Both teams showed intent to win the game. Both defences were put under huge pressure, and both held firm, and limited chances. Swifts could have stolen it - a wonderful run from Sammy Clews on the break from a Carterton attack saw him break clear and roll the ball through for George Meathrel - his shot was saved magnificently by the 'keeper.
Swifts COULD have won it... Carterton probably SHOULD have won it - as the final chance of the game, with seconds on the clock, saw a corner from the right fall onto the head of the number 12, completely unmarked, just a couple of yards from goal - but Finley Ashworth put his body on the line, and saved his team - saving at point blank range with his face (which caused him to miss the friendly match), and somehow clutch the ball into his grasp to see the game to a close.
Simply put - what a thoroughly entertaining game, played by two teams who will no doubt meet again this season - not just in the reverse league fixture, but probably in the later stages of the season, when things begin to get a little more serious. Both teams can come away from the game with a whole host of positives and their heads held high. Swifts resume action next week, with a local 'derby' away at Chadlington (October 5th).