The Blues had enjoyed a promising pre-season, whilst Staines had won only one of their seven friendlies, so the home side had high hopes of bettering their 0-0 result when these sides also met at Imber Court in the opening game of the 2015-16 season. But The Swans have a phenomenal opening day record, not having lost since slipping up at Croydon in 1998. Manager Johnson Hippolyte was able to include McKain on the bench, following his injury in July, although he was not called upon to play, and there were competitive débuts for Barnet loanee Darnell Smith, Jefferson Louis, Kane Haysman, Bayley Brown, and Reece Tison-Lascaris. Among the ‘boys in blue’ were three former Swans – Jeremy Boakye who has just joined them, Ryan Gondoh (a Barnet loanee last term), and Mekhail McLaughlin. The weather was hot, the pitch excellent, and Staines kicked off towards the far end of the ground.
And it was only 4½ minutes into the game that members of the ‘Massive’ at that far end were able to celebrate Staines’ opener, De’Reece Vanderhyde rising above everyone including ‘keeper Edgecombe to head Worsfold’s corner into the net. On 8 minutes, Worsfold was the provider once more, this time from a free-kick 15 yards outside the box, accurately delivered into the danger area, from where Daniel Brown headed home. Met Police tried to gain a toehold in the game, but Turner did well to hold onto two flighted balls, and when the visitors made it 3-0 after just 17 minutes, their supporters could start to consider the points were as good as secured. Having set up the first two goals, Max Worsfold claimed this one for himself, driving the ball in low from a free-kick out on the left side of the box, and the ball eluded team-mates and opponents aloke before nestling into the far bottom corner. Hibbert of Met Police picked up a 20th minute yellow card for a clumsy foul, and was replaced 7 minutes later – but by that time Staines were already out of sight having scored again on 24. It was a delightful goal, too, as Haysman released Tyrell Miller-Rodney with an accurate chipped pass, and the powerful wing-back latched onto it and netted with an equally deft lofted finish. Louis was twice unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with half an hour gone, first not quite being able to get on the end of a clever Cole / Worsfold move, and then seeing a shot saved by Edgecombe. Chances continued to flow in the last 10 minutes of the half – Hickey for The Blues just clearing the crossbar with a powerful close-range volley, before his team-mate Collins was put through one-on-one against Turner, but the Staines ‘keeper saved with his feet. Pacquette took a tumble in the box, but referee Simpson waved away his penalty appeals, and in stoppage time Louis was brought down 5 yards outside the box at the other end, but Worsfold’s free-kick deflected just over the crossbar.
Worsfold had a couple more dangerous free-kicks early in the second period, but at the other end Turner was tempted out of his box to make a flying clearance, and then had to save with his feet from the dangerous Collins. A spell of home pressure paid off with their only goal, scored in unfortunate fashion on 67 minutes, Darnell Smith being only able to find his own goal when attempting an imperative near post block to Jerome Federico’s whipped cross from the right. Mets’ sub McLaughlin went just wide with his first touch after coming on, skipper Salmon headed a deep Nathan Smith cross just off target, and Collins headed just outside the angle of post and bar, as the home side enjoyed their best spell, which also saw Cole cautioned for a late tackle. In the 82nd minute, a Collins free-kick almost led to a goal for Hickey, but Turner saved well and started a rapid counter attack that brought Staines their fifth goal, Reece Tison-Lascaris racing onto the clearance, rounding Edgecombe outside his area, and then threading the ball home from a very tight angle. Collins again threatened with a free kick from distance going just over, but Staines made it six with the last kick of the game, in the 5th added minute, when Daniel Brown’s through ball was collected by Jonathan ‘Cash’ Hippolyte, who had only come on in the 83rd, and found the net with a perfect lob over Edgecombe. It was Staines’ best opening-day result since Chjris Wainwright’s side won 5-0 at Chalfont in 1993, and the first time that six different players (not counting Darnell Smith!) have scored in one game since April 2013, when today’s NLP Man of the Match Max Worsfold (as well as the ‘other’ Dan Brown) was among the scorers in a 7-1 win over Hayes & Yeading.
Swans: Turner, Brewer ©, Cole, Ahmidi (Tison-Lascaris 76), D Smith, Vanderhyde, Miller-Ridney, D Brown, Louis (B Brown 76), Haysman (Hippolyte 83), Worsfold; unused Bielenik (g), McKain.
Met Pol: Edgecombe, Smart, Salmon, Sutherland ©, Robinson, Hibbert (Collins 27), Federico (O Smith 68), Hickey, Pacquette, Boakye, Gondoh (McLaughlin 68); unused Taylor, T Smith.
Ref: Dan Simpson (W Drayton); ARs: Craig Kissi & Andrey Lashchikov (both Clapham); Att 139.