Willand Rovers 0-5 Slimbridge AFC
Monday 4th May
The Swans saved their biggest win of the season for the final day, clinching third spot with a demolition of Willand Rovers. The club now face a wait to hear from the FA whether they will be offered the opportunity of promotion to the Southern League Central and West as neither Melksham Town or Buckland Athletic applied to go up. Goalscorers today were Sean Lawson(2), Dean Turner, Jamie Martin and a Paul Fahy penalty. A full report to follow.
Buckland Athletic 0-1 Slimbridge AFC
Sunday 3rd May
The Swans travelled to Buckland knowing that only a win against their Devon opponents, who were themselves chasing the league title, would keep them in the race for third place and maybe a chance of promotion to the Southern League.
A superb all round performance from Leon Sterling's men resulted in a 1-0 victory thanks to a Paul Fahy penalty awarded after Buckland’s Simon Laughton handled Leroy Odiero's goal bound shot on the Goal line, resulting in Haughton being dismissed.
Buckland knew that only a win against the Swans and a defeat for Melksham at Willand would be good enough for them to take the title, and it appeared that they had their minds on proceedings up the M5 at Willand as Slimbridge grew in confidence the longer the game went on, and with the news filtering through from Silver Street that Melksham were winning 2-0 the Swans took full advantage of their opponents' disappointment.
With goalmouth action at a minimum and with the sides going in at half time all square the second half started well for Buckland who put the Swans under pressure from the off, forcing several corners but that was about as good as it got as Slimbridge started to take control.
The deciding moment came on 61 minutes when a good strike from Oderio from 18 yard out was clearly pushed away by the hand of Laughton and Referee Whaley immediately pointed to the spot and showed a Red Card to the Offender.
Paul Fahy struck his spot kick low and hard into the right hand side of the goal giving keeper Grant Fisher no chance to send the visiting supporters wild.
As Buckland heads dropped the Swans upped their game and were unfortunate not to score a second on 70 mins when Jamie Martin’s corner kick was headed against the woodwork by Freddy Ward.
Manager Sterling introduced all three substitutes in short succession, the loudest applause being for Jack Twyman, making his first appearance since sustaining a serious leg injury in the GFA Trophy match at Almondsbury back in September.
News came through from that Willand had pulled a goal back against Melksham but Buckland could not muster up enough to damage the Swans who held out comfortably to take the vital three points.
With Melksham winning and claiming the title this meant that Buckland were confirmed as runners up - Slimbridge now need just a point at Willand Rovers on Bank Holiday Monday to secure that third spot which will then mean a nervous wait to see if the FA Leagues committee decide to offer them a promotion to the Southern League.
Team: Evans, Turl, Brown, Odiero, Rich Thwaite, Ryan Thwaite ( Parrott 77) Turner, Ward (Twyman 74) Lawson, Brad Martin (Jamie Martin 65) Fahy
Supporters Man of the Match: Leroy Odiero.
Slimbridge 2-1 Willand Rovers
Sunday 26th April
For a game between two sides both hoping to make a mark in the top three of the Western Premier League at the end of next weekend, this was a curiously low key affair.
Two first half strikes from Brad Martin saw the Swans well in control at the break, and, despite Brett Worbey pulling a goal back for Willand through a second half penalty, the home side comfortably held on to record the victory, which moves them back up to fifth in the table, two points and a single place above their visitors, who have a game in hand.
The final week of the season will now determine the final order of the group of sides behind top two Melksham Town and Buckland Athletic, who are assured of the top spots between them.
Slimbridge started well, and were ahead with just three minutes on the clock - Paul Fahy’s break down the left flank saw his dangerous cross swept home by Martin to put the home side a goal up.
The home side dominated the first period - Ryan Thwaite went close a couple of minutes later when his lob beat Willand Keeper Kurtis Parkin, but his effort was deflected just too high by a tackle as he struck the ball.
Willand looked sluggish and struggled to make much of an impact on the game, a shot from Dean Stamp which was well wide the sole decent early effort from the visitors.
On 24 minutes, Slimbridge doubled their advantage. Parkin failed to gather a relatively simple free kick from Martin, and allowed the ball to slide under him for the Swans’ second of the afternoon.
Martin had a great opportunity to notch his third five minutes later, but he stumbled as he went to collect a through ball from Sean Lawson and the chance was lost.
Dean Turner went close on two occasions before the break - firstly, a long range effort on 34 minutes which drifted just wide, and then an effort five minutes before the half, which was deflected over.
In between, Stamp had made another chance for himself, but again, his effort was well off target and the home side went in deservedly two goals to the good at the break.
Fahy went close a couple of minutes into the second half, but his effort found only the side netting, and the game developed into a stalemate.
On the hour mark, Rich Thwaite was penalised for a push in the box as a cross came over and Referee Mark Lawrence awarded a spot kick to the visitors. Despite going the right way and getting his hands to Worbey’s penalty, Dave Evans was unable to keep the shot out and the deficit was reduced.
The goal did little to change the tempo of the game, whose only other moment of note was a disallowed strike from Jamie Martin on 70 minutes, as the game petered out tamely to see Slimbridge claim the spoils.
The Swans have two trips to Devon next weekend to complete their fixtures for this season - On Saturday, they travel to potential title contenders Buckland Athletic (3.00pm) before another trip back down the M5 on Bank Holiday Monday, to play the return fixture against Willand Rovers (3.00pm)
Team: Evans, Turl, Brown, Odiero, Rich Thwaite, Ward, Turner, Ryan Thwaite (Parrott 76), Lawson (Hammond 80), B. Martin, Fahy (J. Martin 68)
Supporters Man of the Match : Brad Martin
Gillingham Town 2-0 Slimbridge
Sunday 19th April
A disappointing performance by the Swans which allowed their lowly Dorset hosts to take all three points at a windswept Hardings Lane.
The game was only ten minutes old when Gillingham took the lead, a free kick from the half way line was helped on by the strong wind and the Swans defence found the ball difficult to clear, William Pike took full advantage by firing in a low shot from 15 yards out which left Dave Evans in the Swans goal no chance.
Just five minutes later the Swans were nearly level, Paul Fahy was felled on the edge of the box and Adam Mace saw his fierce free kick rebound back from the crossbar, Fahy blasting the rebound high over.
On 23 minutes the hosts should have increased their lead but Steven Smith saw his goal bound header cleared off the line by Leroy Odiero.
The Hard, bumpy surface was adding to the problems of the strong wind as neither side could really string a series of passes together and goalmouth action was at a minimum.
On the Half hour a good through ball from Jamie Martin set Fahy clear but his strong run was halted by a last ditch tackle from Nicholas Hewlett.
Just before the interval Richard Thwaite was dispossessed some 25 yards from goal and as the Gillingham forward bore down on goal, Thwaite chased him back and brought the striker down on the edge of the box which earned the Central Defender a caution from Referee Rob Cockle who also added Adam Mace in his notebook for talking out of turn.
The second half started well for Gillingham and a strong run from the dangerous number 10 saw his excellent cross evade everyone in the Swans box.
A thunderous volley by the home sides Daniel Cox was well held by Evans as Gillingham started to up the tempo.
And it was Cox who missed a glorious chance to increase their lead when a cross from the left found him free on the far post but Cox somehow managed to head the ball wide of the open goal.
Manager Leon Sterling made three quick substitutions, bringing on Sean Lawson, Ryan Thwaite and Jamie Hammond in an attempt to shake things up and it looked like it might pay dividends as the Swans upped the tempo themselves.
On 73 minutes Sam Turl was grounded after a strong challenge but the ball fell nicely for Callum Brown, as referee Cockle played a good advantage, Brown ran on and let fly with a thunderbolt of a shot from 25 yards which Sam Filikns in the home goal did well to reach, pushing the ball round for a corner.
Slimbridge were going forward in numbers now in an attempt to get an equaliser and forced a series of corners resulting in Hammond and Fahy going close but in the final minute of the match and with Keeper Evans joining the Swans forwards in the box for yet another corner disaster struck when the ball was cleared downfield for the Gills number 10 to run on and fire into an empty net.
Slimbridge must now pick themselves up for what looks like on paper three very difficult final games, starting with Willand Rovers at home on Saturday followed by a Bank Holiday weekend away at both Buckland Athletic on Sat 2 May and Finally Willand on Mon May 4.
Team; EVANS, TURL, BROWN,ODIERO,RICH THWAITE, WARD, TURNER (RYAN THWAITE 67) PARROTT, MARTIN (LAWSON 64) FAHY, MACE (HAMMOND 70).
SUB NOT USED TWYMAN.
MAN OF THE MATCH, CALLUM BROWN.
Slimbridge 0-0 Melksham Town
Saturday 11th April
A blustery afternoon at Wisloe produced an entertaining game which the home side may have nicked right at the death after getting the better of 90 minutes against the runaway Western Premier League leaders. The result leaves the Swans still in sixth place, although with critical games against both Buckland Athletic and Willand Rovers to come, the final table is still far from decided.
Slimbridge made by far the better start, with Melksham looking nervous and tentative, possibly feeling the weight of expectation from their contingent of travelling fans who had travelled up from Wiltshire to Wisloe Road.
Man of the Match Alex Parrott went close on six minutes with a long range effort, before Freddy Ward's corner on 13 came back into play off the far post and was cleared for another corner, from which Paul Fahy again shot wide.
With half an hour on the clock, Callum Brown's effort found the side netting, while at the other end, Melksham's best chance of the game came when Shaun Rennison set up Dan Kovacs, whose effort beat Dave Evans, but came back into play off the foot of the Swans' post. Richard Thwaite completed the clearance off the line as the the visitors closed in. Melksham were beginning to get back into the game a little, and Evans' punch under pressure set them up with another chance, but Leroy Odiero was again alert to clear the danger.
Two minutes before the break, Jamie Martin brought a good save from Melksham Keeper Rob Brown with a dipping shot which was turned over for a corner, but the sides went in level at the break.
The second half was nine minutes old when Fahy's break down the Swans' left wing saw him beat his man and lay the ball into Dean Turner's path, but Turners shot was again just wide and went into the side netting.
Melksham Substitute Gary Higdon nearly had an immediate impact after coming on with 62 minutes on the clock, but his turn and shot saw Evans make a good save.
At the other end, a foul on Fahy saw Adam Mace's Free Kick gathered well by Brown under pressure from Rich Thwaite, and then Martin created a good opportunity for himself but his shot was wide as the game moved towards the final stages.
Malksham had certainly settled for a point at that stage, but the home side still had a couple of chances to nick the points in the final five minutes - firstly, Jamie Hammond was tackled after he had been well set up by Rich Thwaite, and then a late Fahy run saw him beat his man, but he was unable to get the ball out from under his feet as he shaped to shoot and the chance was lost.
Slimbridge travel to Gillingham Town next Saturday (3.00pm) before returning to Wisloe Road the following weekend for a crucial matchup with Willand Rovers, who remain in the mix for third place at the end of the season.
Team: Evans, Turl, Brown, Odiero, Rich Thwaite, Ward, Turner, Parrott (Preece 81), Martin (Hammond 77), Fahy, Mace (Freeman 75)
Supporters Man of the Match: Alex Parrott
Ground Grading Update
Thursday 9th April
Slimbridge AFC are proud to announce that, following inspections, the FA have confirmed we have been awarded a Grade E Grading for Wisloe Road. This grading is valid for three years and means that should we be in a position to win Promotion during this time, our facilities are at a standard that are suitable for the Southern League.
Slimbridge 2-0 Hallen
Monday 6th April
Slimbridge recorded their second win of the Easter weekend with a comfortable victory over Hallen at Wisloe Road. The teams went in level at the half, although the home side had much the better of the play and goal chances, but second half strikes from Alex Hoyle and Jamie Martin secured them a six point haul from the holiday period.
The Swans had an early opportunity to get on the scoresheet, when Paul Fahy chased down a back pass to Hallen Keeper Sam Thomson, but the stopper's clearance cannoned off Fahy and just wide of the post with four minutes on the clock.
It was all Slimbridge early doors, and Adam Mace's dangerous cross which was cleared for a corner which saw Jamie Martin's cross just too high for the oncoming Rich Thwaite two minutes later.
Martin was unlucky on two occasions around the 20 minute mark - firstly, his lob over Thomson bounced up off the pitch, and went over courtesy of the top of the crossbar, and then he hit the side netting after another mazy run and cross from Mace.
Mace was presented with the next opportunity as it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken when he went though one on one with Thomson, but with Fahy in space alongside him, Mace tried to dribble round the Hallen Keeper who made a good stop at his feet on 21 minutes.
Mace then brought another good stop with his feet from the busy Visiting Keeper, before Thwaite saw his header from a Mace corner go wide, leaving the game goalless at the break.
Chances were fewer in the second period, the best early chance being a shot from Dean Turner which was too high after some good interplay between Sam Turl and Fahy.
The Hallen goal was finally breeched just before the hour mark, when Alex Hoyle drifted a shot in at the far post from the edge of the Hallen box to put the home side ahead.
The Swans nearly doubled their advantage immediately, but Martin's effort was just too high a minute later, after he was set up by Fahy's good work.
On 72 minutes, the hosts were awarded a free kick 25 yards out on the corner of the Hallen box, and Martin drilled the ball home to double the lead.
Four minutes from time, Hoyle was unlucky when his shot hit the Hallen bar and bounced back into place, and Mace's follow up was too high.
It took until two minutes from time for the visitors to get their first shot on target, but Dave Evans was equal to the task, and made a good save from Josh Digby's Free Kick to keep a clean sheet.
The Swans are back at Wisloe Road on Saturday, when League Leaders Melksham Town are the vistors (3.00pm)
Team: Evans, Turl, Brown, Freeman (Odiero 76), Rich Thwaite, Ward (Preece 79), Turner (Parrott 64), Hoyle, Martin, Fahy, Mace
Supporters Man of the Match: Callum Brown
Winterbourne United 1-2 Slimbridge
Friday 3rd April
Two goals in seven second half minutes saw the Swans come from behind and turn around this game on the plastic at Oaklands Park. Trailing to Mario Mateus' opener ten minutes into the second period, Leon Sterling's substitution, with Rich Thwaite being pushed up front five minutes later saw swift reward with firstly Thwaite, and then Sam Turl netting for the visitors to take the points back up the A38.
Slimbridge made a good start to the game as they adjusted well to the conditions and the bounce of the ball, and Lawson's early shot on three minutes forced Winterbourne Keeper Glenn Murley to push the ball behind for a corner. Rich Thwaite's effort from the resulting corner was cleared off the Winterbourne line to keep the scores level.
Slimbridge were pressing well, and Jamie Martin's neat ball played in Paul Fahy, forcing Murley to race from his goal and tackle the Swans' striker as he shaped to shoot. As Winterbourne started to begin to come back into the contest, Cameron Brown, who had a superb afternoon for the hosts, had two good efforts on the quarter hour mark. The first one provided an easy save for Dave Evans, but the second was far more dangerous, and forced the Swans stopper into a good save.
On 26 minutes, Martin made himself some space with a good run, but his effort produced another good stop from Murley.
Lawson and Fahy were combining well up front, and they produced the best chance of the first period with five minutes remaining in the half, but Fahy's shot came back into play off the Winterbourne bar. There was still time for Brown to have a further effort which was too high for the home side, while at the other end, Martin lofted his effort high after being set through by Parrott's peach of a through ball.
The game continued to flow end to end at the start of the second half, with Brown again shooting over four minutes in, and Lawson producing a good volley which was deflected for a corner for the visitors. Ten minutes into the half, the deadlock was broken - After Brown had forced another good save from Evans, Mateus went on a strong run from midfield. Shrugging off a couple of challenges, he drilled the ball past Evans from the edge of the Slimbridge box to put the hosts ahead.
Leon Sterling reacted immediately to the setback, sending Nathan Freeman on for Jamie Martin and moving Rich Thwaite up front while Freeman took over centre back duties. A mix up at the back immeditely ensued, and Callum Brown was forced to clear the ball off the line as Evans and his defenders worked out who was supposed to be clearing the ball.
The change paid off in the 63rd minutes, when a sweeping move involving Turl and Fahy saw Fahy's sweet cross converted by Thwaite to level things up.
The game was subject to an unplanned stoppage in the 70th minute, when Referee Brian Durie was forced to retire after suffering a migraine attack, and one of his assistants took over the whistle, with a member of the Winterbourne backroom team assuming linesman duties.
Immediately, the new official had a big decision to make, as Thwaite chased a through ball from inside his own half. Despite protests from the home players, the flag stayed down, and Thwaite continued down the right, playing the ball back across the box for Turl to convert and put the visitors into the lead.
Brown continued to be the potential danger for Winterbourne, and as the home side pressed, he forced another two saves from Evans, as well as supplying a pinpoint cross which was met by the head of Aaron Wilson as the game entered the last ten minutes, but Wilson's header was wide, and Slimbridge played out time to collect the points.
The Swans now have two home fixtures coming up - On Monday, they entertain Hallen at Wisloe Road, in a game that kicks off at 1.00pm, before hosting runaway leaders Melksham Town next Saturday (11th, 3.00pm)
Team: Evans, Turl, Brown, Odiero, Rich Thwaite, Ward, Turner, Parrott (Mills 70), Lawson, Martin (Freeman 61), Fahy
Supporters Man of the Match: Sam Turl