Heybridge Swifts have gutsy defending and keeper Luke Banner who made his full Swifts debut to thank for getting something out of the game but after some periods of prolonged pressure from the hosts, Heybridge were denied a victory by a late equaliser
with just two minutes of normal time remaining.
As early as the tenth minute Soham could have and should have taken the lead when Ogbonna slipped the ball though for Dan Cotton to run onto but from just outside the box Cotton sliced a shot over when he could have easily taken the ball further and compose himself. Five minutes later a James Stevens corner for Swifts was fed on by Holdstock for Callander to knock a shot into the turf where keeper Bircham was able to make a comfortable save.
A counter attack within a minute saw Neil Andrews hit a mid-flight shot from a corner that Banner parried and equally saved from the follow up shot by Ogbonna although the flag was then up against Ogbonna.
Luke Banner was called into action again on 22 minutes when he saved from a volley from Andrews which rose up on the hands and chest of the Swifts keeper allowing Ogbonna to react quickly but Ogbonna fouled Banner in the process. Banner turned a Cotton shot away for a corner on 26 minutes and later Ogbonna sliced over having broken the offside trap and with the keeper to beat he failed to hit the target. Heybridge saw a shot dragged wide by Edwards, a Ribchester header from a corner and a 20 yard shot by Luke Callander along the ground saved in the latter stages of the first half, a half that ended with a goal-line clearance from Chris Ribchester, Dan Cotton laid the ball through a gap into the path of Dubi Ogbonna bearing down on goal, he ran Banner wide with the Swifts keeper staggering to not commit himself too early to going to ground, when the shot came in Ribchester was the saving grace at the near post with a superb clearance.
More adventure about Swifts in the second half as they stepped up a gear but again the away side had their keeper to thank for a fine save on 54 minutes when Dan Cotton tried a speculative free kick lob from 30 yards having spotted Banner off his line but the Heybridge man at full stretch in the air was able to fingertip the ball away to safety.
Swifts scored on 63 minutes what could have ended up being a smash and grab win when a corner by James Stevens was flicked on in the box by Chris Ribchester and allowed Tyler Corlett to snatch a goal at the far post when the ball landed at his feet and was able to stab the ball home past a defender.
The left sided magic of Ofori very nearly earned another goal with ten minutes, his cut in and shot into the nearpost was saved by the leg of keeper Bircham.
The attack in the 88th minute was the telling point when the Heybridge defence was finally breached after a thunderous volley from substitute Scott Davis rebounded off the back of Ribchester for a corner, it was that corner that was helped onto the far post with some claiming for handball against Jamie Moore and quickest to react was Neil Andrews to fire home from point blank range.
It wasn’t the brilliant chest high belter of a shot from Dan Cotton in the 97th minute deep in stoppage time that was to seal the story but a superb two handed flying save from Luke Banner to deny him glory that made it a very good debut for the Swifts man albeit sadly not keeping a clean sheet.
Soham Town Rangers: Dan Bircham, James Motley (Anton Johnson 86), John-Paul Duncliffe, Martin Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Michael Simpson (C), James McCabe (Matt Robinson 77), Neil Andrews, Dubi Ogbonna, Dan Cotton, Jordan James (Scott Davis 77): Unused Subs: Anthony Fernandez, Luke Shipp
Heybridge Swifts: Luke Banner, Ashley Cole, Jamie Moore, Daniel Foakes, Chris Ribchester, Tyler Corlett, Jon Edwards, James Stevens, Luke Callander (C), Tom Holdstock (Stuart Fergus 67), Solomon Ofori (Charlie Gray 82) Unused Subs: Ricky Spriggs, Chris Harris, Jack Parr
Referee: Mr John Steele
Assistants: Mr Peter Howard and Mr Tim Doe
Attendance = 129
|Soham Town Rangers||1||1||Heybridge Swifts||Att. 129|
|Thamesmead Town||1||2||Ware||Att. 51|
|Waltham Abbey||1||1||Brentwood Town||Att. 101|
|Redbridge||2||1||Great Wakering Rovers||Att. 76|
|Needham Market||0||1||Enfield Town||Att. 361|
|Grays Athletic||1||1||Chatham Town||Att. 237|
|Harlow Town||0||1||AFC Sudbury||Att. 231|
|Ilford||1||0||Potters Bar Town||Att. 53|
|Maldon & Tiptree||3||0||Waltham Forest||Att. 60|