Slimbridge 1 – 5 Evesham United
Wednesday 26th October
10 man Swans put to the sword by an organised Evesham side that deserved victory after going behind to an early opener.
Slimbridge started the game brightly taking an early lead on 2 minutes when Marley Thomas’s cross was met by Lee Smith who slotted the ball past visiting keeper Kevin Sawyer to take an early lead. The lead however lasted only 9 minutes when Ryan Thwaite was booked for bringing down former Swan Paul Fahy and from the resulting free kick, home keeper Adrian Kowalski’s weak punch landed at the feet of Lance Smith who slammed home from 5 yards.
The goal sparked Evesham into life as they pressured the home side with Ryan Thwaite making a number of timely tackles to keep the game level. On 27 minutes John Cant limped off with a suspected hamstring injury and was replaced by substitute Jamie Martin. He made an instant impact by latching on a Lee Smith through ball but failed to get a shot away before being intercepted by the visiting defence. As the game flowed back and forth a great run from Thomas from his own penalty box resulted in an offside as he threaded a delightful ball through the middle of the opposition defence.
As half time approached Kowalski managed to tip the ball away diving bravely at the feet of Adam Mann when one on one with the home keeper. Rich Thwaite then headed away a dangerous cross in the Swans box followed by a last gasp tackle to keep the scores level.
HT 1 - 1
The second half started as the first ended with Evesham playing a neat passing game, and it was not long before they took the lead on 49 minutes when another former Swan Leroy Odiero pounced from a corner to slot home. Slimbridge continued to desperately defend with Kowalski saving with his feet at the near post from Fahy, and then from the resulting corner Fred Ward headed off the line. On the hour Evesham increased their lead with Fahy slotting home after some neat build up play from the visiting side.
Three minutes later Ward was called into action again clearing Lances Smiths shot off the line, however things got worse soon after as Ryan Thwaite pulled back one of the visitors players as they advanced into the home sides half and although the referee played advantage he pulled the play back issuing a second yellow to Thwaite leaving the Swans to play the last 25 minutes with 10 men.
At the other end a rare attack from Slimbridge resulting in a free kick tamely hit for the visiting keeper to gather. At the other end a fine shot from Lorcan Sheehan found its way into the back of the home sides net to give the visitors a 4-1 lead. Slimbridge failed to give up with Archie Huskayne shot finding Sawyer and then Dean Turner shot just wide after some good interplay between substitutes Jamie Martin and Brad Martin.
Evesham continued to pressure and with 5 minutes to go Mark Magee hit the side netting followed by a full stretch save by Kowalski from a visitor’s free kick on the edge of the Swans box. The final goal came in the 89th minute when Fahy slotted home his second of the game.
FT 1 - 5
Slimbridge: Kowalski, Turl, Ryan Thwaite, Fred Ward, Rich Thwaite, Turner, Twyman, Haskayne, Lee Smith, Cant (J Martin), Thomas(B Martin)
Supporter’s man of the match: Archie Haskayne
AFC Totton 3-1 Slimbridge AFC
Sunday 23rd October
The Swans were brought crashing down to Earth after last week’s heroics, when a disjointed and lethargic display gifted Totton their first home win of the season. The home side scored after eight minutes in both halves, and despite Marley Thomas scoring his first goal for the club, a second strike from Totton’s Man of the Match Nick Watts late on ensured the points stayed in Hampshire.
Totton scored with their first attack on the Slimbridge goal with eight minutes on the clock - Ian Oliver was allowed to run at the Swans’ back line, and Adrian Kowalski could only parry his effort back out into the box. Callum Hellyar reacted quickest to convert the rebound and put the home side into the lead.
Slimbridge were struggling to find any cohesion, and a Lee Smith effort which was easily saved by Totton Keeper Steve Mowthorpe was the sun total of their efforts until they equalised just before the half hour - Jack Sklenar held the ball up well, and played Smith into space down the Swans’ right. Smith’s near post cross was drilled home by Marley Thomas to level things up.
Both sides had chances to take the lead before the break - Sklenar was just wide after an Archie Haskayne effort was blocked int he Totton box, while at the other end, Kowalski made a great save from a Jack Vallis header, although Slimbridge will wonder how Vallis was allowed so much space from an innocuous looking cross.
The second half began with Rich Thwaite heading an Adam Mace corner over, and a little period of pressure suggested that the visitors were about to click into gear - Sam Turl and Sklenar combined to set up Smith, but his effort was blocked, and then Twyman headed over from another Mace corner.
However, with eight minutes gone in the second period, the home side took the lead again, when Watts was allowed way too much space down the Totton right flank as the home side broke, and he drilled the ball past Kowalksi to restore the Stags’ advantage.
With momentum now behind behind them, all the pressure was coming from the home side, and a series of corners saw Dan Munday shoot just wide and the see his header drift the wrong side of the post as Totton pressed forward. Watts brought another great save from Kowalski on 69 minutes after another dangerous run, while the Swans’ best effort was a turn and shot by Jamie Martin that Mowthorpe gathered safely.
Watts ended the game in style, finishing off another superb run with three minutes remaining, and the Swans now turn their attention to Wednesday when Evesham United, on a run of five straight victories, travel to Thornhill Park for another League encounter (7.45pm). The Swans have a free weekend next Saturday due to FA Trophy ties.
Team: Kowalski, Turl, Mace (Cant 68), Grimes, Rich Thwaite, Turner (Ward 75), Twyman, Haskayne, Sklenar (Martin 55), Thomas, Smith
Supporters Man of the Match: Rich Thwaite
Predict the score..
Sunday 23rd October
No winner this week, so this weeks Prize stands at £400.
Predict the Score - No winners
Sunday 16th October
With no-one getting this week's Predict the Score correct, next week's prize moves up to £350.
Slimbridge 2-1 Salisbury
Saturday 15th October
On a historic afternoon for the club, and with Tony and Margaret Thornhill in attendance at the ground which bears their family name, three goals in five second half minutes delivered what is arguably the most notable win the history of Slimbridge AFC. Steve Claridge’s Salisbury made the long journey back home having been defeated by a performance of determination and passion from the home side that left Manager Leon Sterling delighted - ‘Even though we were going through a rough patch before this game, we never lost our belief. We worked hard for 90 minutes and in the end edged it against a very good side. Our performance today epitomised what our club is about, and I am very proud of the lads, who thoroughly deserved their victory.’
The first five minutes of the second half saw three goals - Jack Twyman put the hosts ahead, Ollie Mehew scored immediately from the kick off to level things up and then Lee Smith notched what turned out to be the winner for the hosts, who secured their first League victory since August.
With Jack Sklenar making his debut appearance for the club, the Swans made a strong start, and Sklenar and Smith combined well early on for an opportunity which saw Jack Twyman head just side with three minutes on the clock.
At the other end, Justin Bennett was proving a real handful, and he had two close efforts - one coming back off the Swans’ crossbar, and another just wide in the first 15 minutes of the game.
Just before the half, after a period of play with both sides cancelling each other out, chances began to come - Oliie Mehew had a good effort deflected for a corner, Sklenar charged down a backpass, but couldn’t quite make his efforts pay, and Smith had two efforts resulting in comfortable saves for Salisbury Keeper Alex Bass, on loan to the side from League Two side Portsmouth.
The second half started with a bang - With Sklenar replaced by Marley Thomas, the Slimbridge substitute made an instant impact - his work down the Swans’ left with Archie Haskayne saw the ball cleared to Jack Twyman on the edge of the Salisbury box, and his shot gave Bass no chance to pit the home side ahead.
Salisbury struck straight back from the kick off, and Ollie Mehew levelled things up as the Swans were still celebrating their goal.
Thomas was proving a real handful for the Salisbury back line, and he brought a great save from Bass on 48 minutes after a mazy run, before the home restored their advantage.
Lee Smith latched onto a through ball, beating Salisbury’s offside trap, and slid the ball past Bass to record the third goal in five breathless minutes and restore the hosts’ lead.
Salisbury continued to press, and Lewis Benson might have done better on 57 minutes, when his effort went wide as Slimbridge maintained their lead.
The Swans had a great opportunity to kill the game off on the hour mark, when Haskayne failed to connect with Smith’s cross, and thirteen minutes later, Jamie Martin was unable to reach a similar probing ball from Thomas.
With 15 minutes remaining, Salisbury upped their game, and it was backs to the wall defending for the Swans - Elliott Wheeler was wide with his lobbed effort after an Adrain Kowalski punch had reached him on the edge of the Slimbridge box, Kowalski made great stops from Thomas Wright and Lewis Benson, and Stephen Wacker managed again to hit the bar for the visitors, before Ryan Thwaite’s goalline clearance secured the points for the home side.
Slimbridge travel to AFC Totton next Saturday (3.00pm) for another League fixture.
Team: Kowalski, Ward, Mace, Ry Thwaite, Rich Thwaite, Turner, Twyman, Haskayne (Mason 70), Smith, Sklenar (Thomas 45), Cant (Martin 63)
Supporters Man of the Match: Rich Thwaite
Mangotsfield United 3-0 Slimbridge
Tuesday 11th October
Clinical first half finishing proved the difference between the two sides at Cosham Street, with Slimbridge always facing an uphill battle after going three goals down in the first half hour.
Mangoes took the lead as early as the fifth minute, when Matt Groves’ cross was headed home by Ryan Bath to open the scoring.
Slimbridge were forced into an early reshuffle when Sean Lawson went off injured after 15 minutes, and after Jack Twyman had gone close with a header, the hosts doubled their advantage on 23 minutes, when Lewis Powell was allowed too much space in the box and his neat turn and shot beat Adrian Kowalski.
Five minutes later, Powell struck again after good work from Kerry Morgan to notch the third of the night.
Slimbridge went close just before the break when Lee Smith just failed to reach Johnny Can’t dangerous cross, and Powell missed the opportunity for his hat trick when he headed over from a couple of yards out just before the half.
The second period was a lot more even, although Rich Thwaite was responsible for some sterling defending early on to deny Mangoes another goal, and another Cant cross saw Marley Thomas just inches away from connecting at the other end.
Thomas brought a good save from Mangoes Keeper Shaun Semmens after good work from Adam Mace, and Liam Monelle had the best of the chances for the hosts, slipping his shot wide of the post when through on goal.
There was late drama as Powell was dismissed by referee Steve Oakey for an elbow on Rich Thwaite, but Mangotsfield end up comfortable winners.
Team: Kowalski, Ryan Thwaite, Mace, Oliver, Rich Thwaite, Twyman, Thomas (Martin 59), Haskayne, Lawson (Turner 15), Smith, Cant (Green 60)
Supporters Man of the Match: Mike Oliver
Swans gear up for Salisbury clash
Sunday 9th October
A season in which Slimbridge have achieved many new milestones notches up another first next Saturday (15th) when Salisbury FC, managed by footballing legend Steve Claridge make a visit to Thornhill Park for their League encounter. (3.00pm)
The club are preparing for what they anticipate to be one of their biggest gates of the season, as Club Spokesman Tim Blake explained - ‘I think it’s safe to say that the first two games we looked for when the fixtures came out were the visits to Thornhill Park of Hereford and Salisbury. We are expecting a far larger crowd than usual on Saturday, and urge our supporters to arrive early at the ground, as we expect everything to be far busier than usual.
It will be a pleasure to welcome Steve Claridge to our club - everyone is aware of his long professional career, playing at the highest level, and it’s great that he is now contributing back to the Grass Roots game through his involvement in Salisbury. I don’t know anyone who has anything but massive respect for Steve and all he has achieved, including of course, nearly 50 appearances in the Premier League with Leicester City. And of course, he subsequently went on to have a successful career in the media as well, so we’re all looking forward to Saturday immensely.
The Swans are running through a bit of a sticky patch at the moment, but Blake says that everyone at the club remains positive. ‘We’re under no illusion as to how tough this league is, and what is required to continue to operate at this level. If you’d have told me in 2007 when we were preparing for Northern Senior League football that we would now have played a competitive game in front of nearly 2500 fans against Hereford at Edgar Street, be preparing for a trip to play Bristol Rovers at The Memorial Stadium, welcoming Steve Claridge to our ground, and continuing to compete at Southern League level, I would have thought you were mad! For a village of just over 1100 people to be playing at this level is a massive achievement, and would not be possible without the hard work of too many people to mention by name. We’re all very proud of the lads on the pitch, Leon Sterling and Freddy Ward and what they are achieving for the club’
Before Salisbury come to town, Slimbridge travel to David Mehew’s Mangotsfield United on Tuesday (7.45pm) for a League encounter.
The club have also announced that there was no winner of this week's Predict the Score competition, so the Prize pot rolls over to £300 for next week's competition.
Slimbridge 1-3 Swindon Supermarine
Saturday 8th October
The Swans went out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle, with Supermarine benefitting from two pieces of luck to take control of the game with goals either side of half time. Sean Lawson reduced the deficit with 15 minutes remaining, but a third Marine goal sealed the tie for the visitors. Slimbridge still had chances to pull the game back, but Lawson’s second was disallowed for offside, and Referee Scott Robertson turned down what looked like a clear penalty for the home side in the last ten minutes.
With new signings Lee Smith (who also assumed the Captain’s armband) and Mike Oliver both making their debuts for the Swans, the first half hour of the game was evenly matched - Johnny Cant had the best opportunity for the hosts, when his mazy run saw him beat four defenders before Marine Keeper Connor Johns made a good save from his effort.
At the other end, Josh Parson had an effort ruled out for offside, before Marine took the lead in controversial circumstances. Marine were breaking down the left flank, when Sam Turl was hauled to the ground as he went in to try and challenge. The Referee saw nothing wrong, and as play developed, then penalised Rich Thwaite for his tackle on Callum Parsons to award a penalty to the visitors. Brad Hooper stepped up to convert the spot kick, to put Marine ahead at the break.
Ten minutes into the second half, Marine doubled their advantage when Josh Parsons’ effort took a massive deflection to loop high over Adrian Kowalski for the second of the afternoon.
Slimbridge reduced the deficit on 76 minutes, when Sean Lawson neatly finished off a good through ball from Lee Smith, before Marine recorded their third with ten minutes remaining, when George Reid was allowed too much space in the box to head home a free kick.
Lawson thought he had scored his second two minutes from time, only to see his effort ruled out for offside, and then what looked a cast iron penalty for handball in the Marine box on 90 minutes also left the officials unmoved, and Marine played out time to record the victory, with Callum Parsons effort bringing a good stop from Kowalksi as time ran down.
Slimbridge return to League action on Tuesday when they make the short trip to David Mehew’s Mangotsfield United side (7.45pm), before hosting Salisbury at Thornhill Park next Saturday (3.00pm)
Team: Kowalski, Turl, Mace, Oliver, Rich Thwaite, Turner (Lawson 55), Twyman, Haskayne, Smith, Martin (Thomas 66), Cant (Ward 74)
Supporters Man of the Match: Archie Haskayne