Sherborne Town 0-3 Slimbridge
Sunday 1st December
The Slmbridge revival continued with a confident and clinical performance against fellow strugglers Sherborne Town at Raleigh Grove yesterday. The victory expends the Swans' unbeaten run to six games, with this win recording their third victory on the bounce. Two clinical goals from Danny Chandler and a late clincher from Dan Holloway did the damage, although the defensive contribution to the victory should not be underestimated - a tightening up at the back has seen the side concede just three goals in the this run which has lifted the Swans to 16th in the Western Premier League, and was the fourth clean sheet in the last six. That fact that there were at least half a dozen good contenders for Swans' man of the match indicated how strong a team performance this was.
Assistant Manager Freddy Ward was naturally pleased with the outcome - 'It was a decent result', he said after the game. 'It shows what listening, doing the basics well and hard work does for confidence. We can still get better, but we're getting there.'
The Visitors started the game well, and although they were playing into a very low setting sun, took the game to their opponents who were on their own mini-revival. Adam Hughes had two efforts in the first few minutes, one blocked for a corner and the other going wide, after good link up play from Callum Brown.
At the other end, Marc Caines' cross somehow reached Steve Burton, and he may have done better to go for goal rather than head the ball back across goal, but the move was halted by an offside flag. As Sherborne lifted their game, it took a good clearance from Dan Robinson to break up a dangerous move involving Matt Day and Hayden Binding, clearing the ball for a corner, which was inexplicably given as a goal kick by Referee Goad.
The running of Danny Chandler was beginning to cause Sherborne problems, and the width from Dean Turner and Dan Holloway was stretching the home side - Chandler went close after Turner set him up with 12 minutes on the clock.
Sherborne has their best period of pressure around the quarter hour mark, but their strikers looked low on confidence and hesitant, and the Swans back line held firm as first , dam Barrett was foiled by a good stop at his feet from Dave Evans, and Caines, and then Day, were well off target when they would have expected to do better.
Still the home side were pressing at this point, and the chances continued to come - only Sam Farthing will know how he managed to miss with a free header from Binding's cross in probably the home side's best chance of the match, and Robinson, who had a superb game at the back, was again instrumental in tidying up after Binding and Caines had combined well.
Having survived the pressure, Slimbridge regrouped well, and started to create their own chances - Liam Harding's header was only inches wide as he got onto the end of Chandler's corner on 29 minutes, although the visiting side still had to be careful - Dominique Njoya's misplaced back pass saw Binding through on goal, but again, his effort was skewed wide.
When the opening goal came, it was an object lesson in simplicity on 37 minutes - Holloway picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the Sherborne defence. As he approached goal and drew the last defender, he slid the ball right to Chandler in acres of space, giving Chandler plenty of time to pick his spot and beat Sherborne Keeper James Smith to give the visitors the lead.
Sherborne had a chance to pull the game back before the break, but again, poor finishing let them down - Ollie Wake's free kick reached Cochrane in space, but again his header was off target and didn't trouble Evans.
Slimbridge continued to create opportunities to increase their lead in the second period, although again they had to withstand another period of pressure from the home side. Harding chased down a poor back pass, and his neat ball set up Holloway, but his shot was wide. A minute later, returning the favour Holloway's cross saw Harding's header go close, but just the wrong side of the post.
Jamie Martin nearly got in the scoresheet with 55 minutes gone, getting a superb header after Holloway had flicked on Chandler's Free Kick, but the move was again halted by an offside flag.
With 64 minutes gone, Slimbridge increased their lead. Another misplaced back pass from the Sherborne back line was sized on by Chandler, who beat the last defender and neatly chipped the ball over Smith to notch his second of the match.
The second goal knocked the fight out of Sherborne, and the majority of chances then belonged to the visiting team - A superb backheel from Chandler set up Martin, who saw his effort saved on 69 minutes, while Holloway and Harding combined well again to create an opportunity for Harding,. which was again saved by Smith.
Sherborne's last decent opportunity of the game came on 75 minutes, when no-one could connect with a dangerous ball across the box from Harry Montacute.
As the game approached stoppage time, Slimbridge recorded their third. Joe Kinnear dispossessed a defender on the edge of the Sherborne box, and set up Holloway, who slid the ball past Smith to seal an impressive performance and a confidence building win ahead of a trip to Radstock Town next Saturday for another League encounter (3.00)
Team: Evans, Brown, Njoya, Sterling, Robinson, Hughes (Ward 65), Turner, Harding, Chandler, (Kinnear 81) Martin, Holloway
Goals: Chandler 37, 64 Holloway 90
Supporters Man of the Match: Danny Chandler
Fairford Town 0-2 Slimbridge
Tuesday 26th November
The Swans stretched their unbeaten run to five games with an win tonight at Cinder Lane in the GFA Challenge Trophy.
Slimbridge started well, with Jamie Martin heading just over early on, although Mark Narridge hit the post for Fairford with just eight minutes on the clock.
However, the Swans took the lead on 12 minutes when Dean Turner seized on a back pass to net past Ben Mitchell and put the visitors ahead.
Fairford responded well though, and Matty Boucher went close when he headed inches wide from a Henry Trass cross.
Before the half, Slimbridge nearly doubled their advantage when Freddy ward and Will Wellon combined well to set up Adam Mace - his cross was met by the head of Jamie Martin, but Mitchell made a good save.
The second half saw Slimbridge on top and pressing - after Mace had gone too high with a good shot on 50 minutes, the second goal came on 58 minutes. Martin's header set up Danny Chandler, who let fly from 18 yards and beat Mitchell all ends up.
The game turned into one way traffic and the Swans could have increased their lead when Martin fired over after good work from Carter and Robinson.
Turner, who picked up the Supporters Man of the Match award nearly set up a third for the visitors who by now were looking very comfortable, but Channing fired over in the last chance of the game. Slimbridge's opponents in the next round of the competition have still to be announced.
Team; Evans, Ward, Robinson, Sterling, Wellon, Hughes (Parrott), Turner, Harding, Martin, Kinnear (Chandler), Mace (Carter)
Goals: Turner 12, Chandler 58
Supporters Man of the Match: Dean Turner
Slimbridge 2-1 Ilfracombe Town (After Extra Time)
Saturday 23rd November
The Swans extended their unbeaten run to four games with this extra time win over Ilfracombe Town in the First Round of the Les Phillips Cup at Wisloe Road this afternoon.
The sides ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, with Liam Harding's rocket being cancelled out by Ilfracombe's Luke Evans' strike in the first half, and, in extra time, the sides were 30 second away from penalties when Adam Mace forced home the winner to send the Swans through to the next round.
On a bitterly cold afternoon, and contending with a heavy pitch, it was probably no surprise that the game was scrappy throughout - Slimbridge had the best of the early exchanges though, and both Adam Hughes and Adam Mace skewed opportunities wide, before, on 12 minutes, Stan Paxton's powerful run on goal was halted by a superb Leon Sterling tackle, winning the ball completely cleanly when any slight mistake could have been fatal for the home side.
It was 25 minutes before there was any real action of note, but when it came, it was worth the wait. Freddy Ward's free kick was cleared to Liam Harding on the edge of the Ilfracombe box, and his volley left Keeper Kurtis Parkin clutching air, to put the Swans ahead.
The lead did not last long though - Paxton had already forced Dave Evans into a save under his cross bar, before his run down the left paid dividends. Paxton's cross was met by Luke Evans, who drilled the ball home at the second attempt to level things up on 31 minutes.
Ilfracombe could have nicked a second just before the break after Carter was dispossessed, but Kane Drydon sliced his shot wide after more good work by Paxton.
The Second Half started in the same vein as the first - Paxton shot over for Ilfracombe, while, at the other end, Danny Chandler's volley was also too high as both teams strived to break the deadlock.
Jamie Martin, back from a four match ban, nearly scored one of the goals of the season on 59 minutes, when he chanced his luck seeing Parkin off his line from near the halfway line, but his shot drifted just wide.
Martin then created another good opportunity for himself, his run taking him though on goal, but his weak shot was directed straight at Parkin, who gathered easily.
On 67 minutes, Carter and Mace combined well, but, again, Parkin was given an opportunity to gather the ball from Mace's shot.
Slimbridge continued to press, and Dominique Njoya was the next to nearly break the deadlock when he turned his man on the Ilfracombe box, before seeing his shot run across the goal with no-one on hand to poke it home.
The home side should have settled the game on 84 minutes, when Joe Kinnear flung himself at a cross in front of an open goal, but saw his close range effort somehow find it's way over the Ilfracombe bar with the goal gaping in front of him.
Ilfracombe had one last chance themselves to nick it, and it took a goal line clearance from Will Wellon and Freddy Ward to deny them a minute into stoppage time.
Extra time failed to separate the two sides - Harding had two efforts just wide as he tried to recreate his earlier goal, and Mace scuffed his shot wide in the first period, while Ilfracombe's best effort came from Mark Clune, who shot high when well placed.
In the second period of Extra time, Mace's volley brought a good save from Parkin, while a shot from Ross Middleton at the other end saw a frantic scramble from the Swans defence to keep the ball out.
With everyone in the ground now gearing up for penalties, the Swans nicked it with 30 seconds remaining, when Mace swept home a cross to put Slimbridge through to the next round.
The Swans travel to Fairford Town for a GFA Challenge Trophy Tie on Tuesday (7.45pm), before making the trip to Sherborne next Saturday (3.00pm)
Team: Evans, Ward, Njoya, Sterling, Wellon, Hughes, Turner, Harding, Chandler (Martin 55), Carter (Kinnear 69), Mace
Goals: Harding 25, Mace 120
Supporters Man of the Match; Liam Harding
Leon – Hard Work and Stability beginning to pay dividends
Wednesday 20th November
Slimbridge Manager Leon Sterling today reflected on his side’s most productive week so far in the Toolstation Western Premier League, and identified that a combination of hard work and more stability in the side had contributed to an unbeaten three match run, which saw the Swans collect five points from three games and lift themselves from the bottom of the table.
Following last night’s draw with Bitton at Wisloe Road, Sterling traced the roots of the improvement back further than the current run – ‘We discussed collectively even before the last three matches how we could become more difficult to beat, and be more competitive in this League.’, he revealed, ‘and the lads have taken that on board.’
With the feelgood factor beginning to return to Wisloe, Sterling revealed that he had asked his side for more effort during matches – ‘We have been working that little bit harder over 90 minutes, and that is helping to boost our performances.’
Overcoming the loss of Senior players and struggling to field a settled side has also contributed to some poor early results, but Sterling feels that things are beginning to move in the right direction – ‘The side is a bit more settled now, as we’re having to make maybe 1 or 2 changes rather than the 4 or 5 previously, so that’s helping the understanding between players, which in turn leads to less mistakes.’
It has been very noticeable that some of the Senior figures within the squad have been taking the lead with settling examples on the pitch, with Sterling dominant in the victory against Cadbury Heath, while Assistant Manager Freddy Ward picked up a Man of the Match award in the narrow defeat to Odd Down, the last defeat prior to the unbeaten run. The Manager feels that is also paying dividends.
‘Obviously, with the young guys we have, confidence will always play a big part in the game. We have been getting better performances from individuals, which in turn have made us play better. More players are now performing to a level where we can start picking up points, and myself and Fred try and help and talk to players through the games. Maybe that has helped as well.
Overall, the Manager feels that the side are now beginning to move in the right direction – ‘The guys that have come in this season are slowly getting to grips with what’s needed to perform in this tough league – We have turned a corner a bit now, but we still have further to go before we hold our own. But we’re slowly getting there.’
Slimbridge 0-0 Bitton
Tuesday 19th November
The Swans' season revival continued with a draw which stretched their unbeaten run to three games in a week, on a bitterly cold evening at Wisloe Road. The result moves the Swans a further place up the Western Premier League table, where they are now five places higher than they were this time last week.
The home side had the best of the first half, although the visitors probably just edged the scrappy second period, so in the end a draw seemed fair on the balance of play, although both teams could have nicked all three points.
The early exchanges saw chances at both ends, with Will Wellon just failing to connect with a Paul Carter corner, while at the other end, Dan Spill's long range effort forced Dave Evans into a save with less than ten minutes on the clock.
After Carter had brought a good save from Bitton Keeper John Rendall, Slimbridge felt they may have had a shout for a penalty when Danny Chandler was felled in the box, but referee Lee Sheridan disagreed.
The second half started with Adam Mace forcing a goaline clearance with a powerful shot, before headers from Spill and Eugene Keary went close for the visitors.
Both sides had the chance to win the game in the space of three minutes just after the hour - firstly Chandler's superb strike brought an equally good stop from Rendall, and then Jason Thatcher saw his effort cleared off the Swans' line by Wellon's last minute intervention.
Liam Harding went close with an effort on 74 minutes, but neither side could break the deadlock, and had to settle for a point apiece.
The Swans entertain Ilfracombe Town in a Les Phillips Cup tie at Wisloe Road on Saturday (3.00pm), before travelling to Fairford Town next Tuesday for a GFA Challenge Trophy game (7.45pm)
Team: Evans, Rutter, Brown, Robinson, Wellon, Hughes, Twyman, HArding, Chandler (Kinnear 69), Carter, Mace (Turner 66)
Supporters Man of the Match: Will Wellon
Willand Rovers 2-2 Slimbridge
Saturday 16th November
At Half Time in this thoroughly entertaining encounter at Sliver Street, it was hard to predict anything but a home victory. Slimbridge had matched their opponents for creating chances, but had failed to make the most of two gilt edged opportunities, and had fallen two goals behind with Rovers' Ben Western's duo of classy strikes putting the home side in the driving seat.
However, following their midweek victory over Cadbury Heath at Wisloe Road during the week, there is a growing sense of belief in the Swans' side, and a committed and hard working second period display saw firstly Liam Harding, and then Dominique Njoya pull the game back level, and, in a mirror of Tuesday night's game, Slimbridge were forced to dig deep in the final minutes to grind out a result.
However, on the balance of play over 90 minutes, both sets of fans agreed that a draw was probably a fair outcome, and it lifts Slimbridge another place higher in the Western league Premier Table, which seven days ago saw them languishing in bottom spot.
The game started scrappily in heavy conditions, and the home side were the first to create an opportunity - with 11 minutes on the clock, Scott Rogers went on a dangerous run and played in Craig Veal, but the Willand Striker drove his effort high over the Slimbridge bar.
On 20 minutes, Freddy Ward went close with a free kick, but was soon penalised for a foul at the other end, giving Rovers a Free Kick on the edge of the Swans' box. In a move clearly well rehearsed on the training ground, Dan Western, Rogers and Simon Hill created the space for Western to drill the ball past Dave Evans and put the home side in the lead.
Slimbirdge had an opportunity to get back in the game almost immediately, when Harding played Paul Carter through on goal, but Paul Gibbins in the Rovers goal was up to the task and saved Carter's effort.
At the other end, Willand continued to ask questions, and Veal was through on goal when a superb tackle from Njoya nicked the ball from his feet as he shaped to shoot. Njoya then nearly pulled the visitors level at the other end, when he went on mazy run that saw him past two tackles, and he beat Gibbins with his shot, only to see the ball drift agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
With four minutes left before the break, Willand doubled their advantage - the ball fell to Western on the right side of the Swans' penalty box, and his first time volley gave Evans no chance.
Manager Leon Sterling was forced into a change on 42 minutes, when Andy Dawson had to come off with a shoulder injury, and he was replaced by Joe Kinnear.
Willand could have effectively wrapped the game up on 45 minutes, but James Clampin's header cannoned back into play off the Slimbridge crossbar, and the home side went in two goals to the good at the interval.
The start of the second half saw Slimbridge struggle to hold the ball up with any conviction, and for the early period of the half, they remained under pressure - David Steele brought a good save from Evans, while at the other end, in a rare attack, Harding volleyed over after a good cross from Callum Brown set him up.
On 57 minutes though, the momentum of the game changed - Brown's cross was cleared to Harding on the edge of the Willand box, and he caught his volley perfectly, leaving Gibbins clutching at air to drag the Swans back into the contest.
With the visitors visibly gaining in belief, Willand were forced onto the back foot, and had as much trouble clearing their lines as Slimbridge had encountered in the first period.
With 70 minutes on the clock the deserved equaliser came. Njoya made another darting run through the Willand defence, and saw his first effort well saved by Gibbins. Unfortunately for the Willand Keeper, the ball rebounded straight back to Njoya who chipped the ball home to level the scores up.
Willand, clearly stung by losing their advantage, again began to press hard to try and notch a winner, but, as was the case at Wisloe Road last week, the Swans' back four, with Dan Robinson and Leon Sterling leading the line, held firm under pressure in the final quarter of the game - Josh Wadham, Veal, and Western were all thwarted by good saves from Dave Evans, but the visitors stayed strong to gain a valuable away point.
The Swans entertain Bitton on Tuesday in a Premier League fixture (7.45pm), before Ilfracombe Town come to Wisloe Road on Saturday (3.00pm) for a Les Phillips Cup tie.
Team: Evans, Brown, Njoya, Sterling, Robinson, Ward, Twyman, Harding, Dawson (Kinnear 42), Carter, Turner (Hughes 61)
Supporters Man of the Match: Jack Twyman
Slimbridge 1-0 Cadbury Heath
Tuesday 12th November
The Swans moved off the bottom of the table as they toppled high flying Cadbury Heath with one of their performances of the season at Wisloe Road.
Playing a quick passing game with a high tempo. the visitors were never allowed to settle . A bright start for the Swans saw Danny Chandler, Liam Harding and Adam Mace all go close, before the home side took the lead just after the half hour. Andy Dawson's dangerous run saw him draw two Cadbury Heath defenders, before sliding the ball to Adam Mace, who drilled the ball past Dammian Freeman into the far corner of the Heath net.
Chandler had two more good chances in the second period, but was unable to take advantage, and a furious final 15 minutes saw the Slimbridge defence, superbly marshalled by Manager Leon Sterling repel all the Heath advances, and record their first three League point haul since early September.
The Swans will be looking to build on this result when they travel to Willand Rovers on saturday (3.00pm) before entertaining Bitton next Tuesday (19th, 7.45pm)
Team: Evans, Robinson, Brown, Sterling, Wellon, Harding, Turner (Ward 72), Twyman, Dawson, Chandler (Carter 62), Mace
Supporters Man of the Match: Leon Sterling
Slimbridge 1-2 Odd Down (Bath)
Monday 11th November
It was a much improved performance by Leon Sterling's men, against an opponent who look destined for the top six of the Western league on their second half showing, but ultimately, another three points lost at home for the Swans. Leading by Liam Harding's early header, an inspired triple substitution from Odd Down Manager Terry Moore turned the game on it's head, with Kye Simpson notching a brace to ultimately swing the game the visitors' way. The dismissal of Jack Twyman just after the equaliser capped off another disappointing afternoon for Slimbridge, who remain at the bottom of the table.
After Leon Sterling's rallying cry this week, his side started at a good pace, and took the lead on seven minutes, when Twyman's cross was headed home by Harding, who found himself in space in the Odd Down box.
Odd Down served notice they were not going to lie down easily though, and two minutes later, Slimbridge had a let off when Korg Kay played in Lee Bridson, who saw his effort cannon back into play off Dave Evans' crossbar. The ball fell to Dean Griffiths, but he sliced his effort wide.
As the game settled down in very heavy conditions, both sides were playing some attractive football, but neither were able to make too many dangerous inroads on goal - Harding went close just before the half hour with another header, this time from Adam Mace's corner, while at the other end, Evans had to be alert to keep out a long range effort from Ben White.
As the game approached the half, Odd Down had two other chances, but firstly Rich Dauncey, and them Twaine Plummer failed to get their efforts on target and the Swans went in ahead at the break.
Odd Down came out of the blocks at a much higher tempo in the second half, and soon began to create further chances for themselves - Kay shot wide on two occasions, while at the other end, Dominique Njoya saw his effort rebound for a goal kick from the outside of the Odd Down post. The game was evenly poised when a triple substitution from Odd Down changed the game.
After Kye Simpson had created a good chance for namesake Troy Simpson having only been on the pitch a couple of minutes, Simpson himself went on a mazy run at the Swans' back line, which saw him beat three men and drill home the equaliser.
The home side's frustration boiled over from the kick off, although Twyman's challenge which saw Referee Dumitru Ravel-Cheosiaua brandish a red card didn't particularly seem any worse than any other tackle in the conditions, but Slimbridge were now up against the wall. Ten minutes later, on 73 minutes, Odd Down grabbed a second when Simpson found himself with space in the Slimbridge box, and beat Evans to put the visitors ahead for the first time in the game.
Slimbridge pressed valiantly, but Odd Down continued to dominate the play in the last 15 minutes of the game, and played out time to secure a victory which sees them sitting at fifth place in the table.
The Swans are at home tomorrow night (Tuesday 12th) when Cadbury Heath come to Wisloe Road, before another Devon trek, this time to Willand Rovers on Saturday. They then return to Wisloe Road on Tuesday 19th, when Bitton are the visitors.
Team: Evans, Brown, Njoya, Robinson, Wellon, Ward (Turner 76), Twyman, Harding, Gates (Cole 71), Carter (Dawson 62), Mace
Supporters' Man of the Match: Freddy Ward