Thatcham Town 1-2 Slimbridge AFC
Wednesday 20th August
For the second time in four days, the Swans went into the last ten minutes of a game against Thatcham Town a goal behind and down to ten men. On Saturday, Jamie Hammond's strike saw Slimbridge's FA Cup rescue a replay, and last night,at Waterside Park, they completed the job in style - two Ben Tunnicliff goals in the last six minutes sent the Swans through to a Preliminary Round tie hosting Southern League Division One Central side Chalfont St Peter.
The dismissal of Paul Fahy on 81 minutes was probably an inevitable result of a bad tempered second half on both sides, but the two late goals sent the visiting fans and officials home in good spirits, narrowly avoiding Extra Time which was looming when Tunnicliff's second went in to the obvious delight of everyone associated with the club.
Slimbridge made a good start, with Jamie Martin's header from Freddy Ward's free kick testing Thatcham Keeper Chris Rackley early on, before, with 9 minutes on the clock, Dave Evans was forced into a good save at the other to keep out Josh Stockwell.
The home side had the best of the early chances on 15 minutes when Evans beat out a powerful drive from Chris Gerrard, and the Swans were only saved by Ward's desperate clearance to clear the ball before the incoming strikers reached the loose ball.
Thatcham continued to press, and Yashwa Romeo went close on 22 minutes, when his turn and shot edged just the wrong side of the Slimbridge post.
The first flashpoint in the game came after half an hour when Jamie Martin and Gareth Brown tangled, with both earning a yellow card from referee Matt Eva.
Romeo brought another good save from Evans before the break, while Slimbridge's best late effort saw Sean Lawson go close on 40 minutes, but the teams went into the break level.
It took 30 seconds following the restart for the home side to take the lead - Stockwell taking advantage of some sloppy ball control outside the Slimbridge box to drive Thatcham ahead.
Rather than press on and try and kill the game off, Thatcham began to sit back and invite pressure, with only a shot from Dave Stephens after neat interplay with Gerrard to force save from Evans.
As Swans began to press, the game became more bad tempered, with little flare ups beginning to take place all over the pitch, but despite a good shot from Adam Mace, and another good effort from Lawson, it looked as if it might be one of those nights for the Swans.
On 81 minutes, another flare up in front of the dugout saw Paul Fahy dismissed, and the Swans were again down to ten men.
It took only three minutes for the equaliser to finally arrive - Freddy Ward's free kick saw Rackley come but not claim the ball, and he was beaten by a Tunnicliff header which looped over the Thatcham Keeper into the back of the net.
As we moved into stoppage time, exactly the same move, this time triggered by Evans' free kick on the other side of the pitch, saw Tunnicliff net his send in an identical manner to his first, putting Slimbridge ahead for the first time in either game.
The addition of four minutes of stoppage time shredded the nerves, but the Swans held on for a well deserved victory.
Team: Evans, Turl, Mace, Richard Thwaite, Freeman, Ward, Parrott (Fahy 59), Twyman, Lawson, Hammond (Tunnicliff 72), Martin (Ryan Thwaite 66)
Goals: Tunnicliff 84, 90
Supporters Man of the Match: Sam Turl
New Date for Brislington game
Sunday 17th August
Our home game against Brislington, originally scheduled for tomorrow night has been moved to Tuesday, 21st October to accomodate our FA Cup replay at Thatcham Town.
Slimbridge 1-1 Thatcham Town
Saturday 16th August
There is no doubt that Thatcham will be the happier side at this result, which leaves the Swans facing a tricky trip to Berkshire on Tuesday night, for a replay that kicks off at 7.45pm. The scoreline, however, doesn't tell the true story, and Slimbridge battled back into a game playing with 10 men for the second half, following the dismissal of Keeper Dave Evans, in an incident that ultimately led to the visitors taking the lead.
With Jamie Martin taking over between the sticks, the home side were rewarded for their endeavours when Jamie Hammond tied things up with just over ten minutes to go. As a result, the Swans' home game on Tuesday when Brislington were due to visit will be rearranged.
The first half was almost devoid of incident as both sides cancelled each other out, and chances were at a premium - Jack Twyman brought a good block from Thatcham Keeper Chris Rackley on 25 minutes, and Paul Fahy went close a minute later. On the Half Hour, Sean Lawson tangled with Gareth Brown as the two were retreating following a goal kick, and the incident saw Lawson receive a harsh yellow card from Referee Daniel Lamport, for what was no more than a tangle of legs. Just before the break, Jamie Martin's flick on set up Fahy nicely, but his shot was deflected for a corner, leaving the sides level at the break.
Two minutes into the second half, the defining incident of the game occurred - Rich Thwaite miscued a back pass to Dave Evans, and Alex Oakman beat the Swans Keeper to the ball, nudging the ball past him before being clipped by Evans and going down. Although the Free Kick was correctly placed outside the box, the inevitable red card followed for the Slimbridge stopper, with Jamie Martin taking over in goal. Barry Elmore's initial free kick was blocked by the Slimbridge wall, but then the referee awarded another free kick for handball as a follow up shot came in. This time, Elmore's shot took a deflection on the way on to put the visitors ahead.
Chances continued to be scarce - Thatcham Skipper Paul Taplin blasted high and wide after Sam Turl was caught in possession, while Martin was called into action on 63 minutes, making a save following a break from Josh Stockwell.
Eventually the game turned on a four minute period in the last 15 minutes - Oakman made a dangerous run resulting in a shot which Martin did superbly to push behind on 75 minutes, and Slimbridge were rewarded for their efforts on 79 minutes, when Jamie Hammond, chasing down a misplaced defensive header, lobbed Rackley to level things up, and ultimately secure the draw for the home side.
Following Tuesday's replay, Slimbridge make the trip to Melksham Town next Saturday (3.00pm) to visit another of the Western Premier League's pacesetters.
Team: Evans, Turl (Mace 61), Ryan Thwaite, Rich Thwaite, Tunnicliff, Ward, Turner (Parrott 70), Twyman, Lawson, Martin, Fahy (Hammond 61)
Supporters Man of the Match: Jamie Martin
Odd Down (Bath) 0-3 Slimbridge AFC
Wednesday 13th August
The Swans came away from a bruising encounter in Bath with their second win of the campaign that sits them on top of the Toolstation Western Premier League after two games. After a good start, Odd Down put the visitors under pressure during the first period, but it was Slimbridge who took the lead through Sean Lawson with virtually the last kick of the half. Second half goals from Ben Tunnicliff and Rich Thwaite rounded off a battling display, send the visitors home with a well deserved three point haul.
Slimbridge made a bright start to the game, and Jamie Hammond went close with less than a minute on the clock, chasing down a Dave Evans long clearance.
Odd Down hit back, using a very high tempo, and Evans was called into action to collect a shot from Twaine Plummer which took a deflection on the way to him.
The home side were encouraged by their chances, and firstly Cory Simpson, and then Plummer again looked dangerous on the break.
The best early chance went to the hosts, when Troy Simeon played in Simpson, and Evans made a brave stop at the strikers feet to keep the ball out.
On 16 minutes Odd Down Keeper Ray Johnson miscued a clearance, and Jack Twyman played in Paul Fahy, whose shot was wide, but the Swans began to edge their way back into the game.
Slimbridge went close two minutes later, when Adam Mace just failed to convert an effort at the back post from Hammond's cross, while at the other end, Plummer and Ashley Scott were both off target with their efforts.
Another good chance came for the visitors on 39 minutes, but Fahy's acrobatic diving header failed to connect with Mace's dangerous ball into the Odd Down box.
Slimbridge had two good chances in the last minute of the first half - after Hammond had managed to find the side netting from Fahy's cross, Fahy's next ball into the box saw Sean Lawson pounce to score from close range to put the Swans a goal to the good going into the break.
Odd Down nearly pulled things level three minutes into the second period, but Troy Simeon's shot drifted across the face of the goal in one of the home side's best moves of the game.
Mace was continuing to be involved in many of the Swans best moves, and it was another of his passes that saw Hammond shoot just wide after a mix up in the Odd Down Back Line on 53 minutes.
Slimbridge doubled their advantage two minutes later, when Mace's corner was met with a powerful near post header from Ben Tunnicliff, which rocketed into the net despite the efforts of Johnson to keep the ball out.
The home side's frustration threatened to boil over as a series of crunching tackles dominated play, but the Swans were comfortably control the play.
Tunnicliff nearly notched his second with another header from a corner on 63 minutes, this time swung over by Freddy Ward, but his header hit the Odd Down bar and went over.
Dave Evans made what will be a candidate for save of the season, when he palmed an acrobatic overhead kick from Plummer over the bar, and that was to provide the impetus for the third goal which finished the game off.
Mace claimed his second assist of the game when his mishit shot found it's way to Rich Thwaite in the Odd Down box, and his neat turn and shot beat Johnson to seal the victory.
There was still time for Jamie Martin to steer the ball past Johnson chasing a through ball, only to see his effort roll agonisingly the wrong side of the post, but the Swans saw out time for an impressive victory, and a morale booster ahead of this weekend FA Cup tie which sees Thatcham Town come to Wisloe Road (3.00pm) The Swans then entertain the other team currently standing with maximum points, Brislington,on Tuesday (7.30pm)
Team: Evans, Turl, Ryan Thwaite, Tunnicliff, Rich Thwaite, Ward, Fahy, Twyman (Parrott 72), Lawson, Hammond (Martin 65), Mace (Turner 70)
Supporters Man Of The Match: Sam Turl
Slimbridge 3-0 Gillingham Town
Saturday 9th August
On the opening weekend of last season, Slimbridge made the trip to Gillingham Town for their first ever game in the Toolstation Western Premier League and came away on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline, to a team that eventually ended up in third place in the table. This time, though, the tables were turned as the Swans raced into a two goal lead in the first six minutes, and never really looked like relinquishing their advantage after a display that continued the momentum that the side has built up during pre-season.
Sean Lawson and then Jamie Hammond did the early damage, and Lawson's second just before the end sealed a confident victory at Wisloe Road for the home side, who restricted their opponents to only a single decent chance during the 90 minutes.
The Swans made a sensational start to their new season - with four minutes on the clock, Sean Lawson picked the ball up on the edge of the Gillingham box, and his low drilled shot gave Gillingham Keeper Shaun Martin no chance and put the hosts one up. Two minutes later, it was two - Jack Twyman's neat ball to Jamie Hammond saw Hammond with another good finish to double the advantage.
As the game settled down, Slimbridge were still on top - Good work from Twyman and Lawson set up Jamie Martin on 12 minutes, but his shot was too high.
Slimbridge felt they may have had an optimistic shout for a penalty with 20 minutes gone, when Martin set up Hammond, whose drive cannoned back off the hand of a Gillingham defender, but Referee Stephen Oakey, who had an impressive game, declined the appeals.
Gillingham went straight down the other end, and nearly pulled a goal back, but Dave Evans was up to the task, pushing away Williams Pike's piledriver in what turned out to be the visitors' best opportunity of the game.
Slimbridge should have increased their lead on the half hour, when Lawson sent Hammond through on a one on one with Gills Keeper Martin, but the Keeper made a good stop to deny the striker.
The second half started with Gillingham having brought on the dangerous looking Taoufik Ben-Salem, who raised the tempo of Gillingham's game and could have nicked a goal back early on, but Ryan Thwaite, part of a very solid and impressive Swans back four, put in a good tackle to deny him in the first minute of the second period.
Slimbridge continued to create chances, and Hammond and Dean Turner both had decent opportunities, but failed to take advantage of the opportunities.
Hammond went close after 72 minutes when good work from Alex Parrott put him through, but his lob managed to clear both Keeper Martin and the Gillingham bar.
The game was wrapped up in the 87th minute, when Lawson broke down the left flank, and saw another good shot beat Martin to notch the third goal for the home side. There was still time for Hammond to force another good save from Martin in the 93rd minute, before the final whistle sounded on a job well done for the home side.
The Swans travel to Odd Down on Tuesday (7.45pm) for another League encounter, before they return to Wisloe Road next Saturday (3.00pm) for an FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round tie, when Thatcham Town are the visitors.
Team: Evans, Turl, Ryan Thwaite, Freeman (Tunnicliff 82), Rich Thwaite, Parrott, (Ward 75) Turner, Twyman, Lawson, Martin (Mace 69), Hammond
Goals: Lawson 4, 87, Hammond 6
Supporters Man Of The Match: Sean Lawson
Slimbridge 1-3 Brimscombe & Thrupp
Thursday 7th August
Slimbridge's final pre season game ended in a 3-1 defeat to near neighbours Brimscombe and Thrupp.
The visitors took an early lead when Dave Evans attempted clearance rebounded back off Ben Tunnicliffe's head and into the net after only 8 minutes.
Brimscombe nearly increased their lead 5 minutes later when a thunderous shot by Ben Deakin from 25 yards bounced back off the post.
Just two minutes later and the Swans were level, a good run and cross by Jamie Hammond found Sean Lawson free and his neat shot from 8 yards out left Sparrow in the visitors goal little chance.
A fierce drive from former Slimbridge player Dan Holloway nearly regained the lead for Brimscombe but Evans punched the effort round for a corner.
Brimscombe had a good shout for a penalty on 40 mins when another former player, Aaron Nash tumbled in the area but referee Darren Mcmillan ruled Sam Turl's challenge a good one.
Lawson should have sent the Swans into the lead shortly before the break but his shot when one on one with Sparrow was well pushed round by the keeper.
Nathan Freeman went close early in the second half when his header from Freddy Ward's corner went just wide.
Brimscombe went back in front in the 52nd minute when Tunnicliffe received the ball from Evans but his attempted clearance went straight to Aaron Nash who fired past the home keeper.
Lawson was next to hit the woodwork in the 61st minute as the Swans tried to level things up and just two minutes later Tunnicliffe's header went disappointingly wide when it looked easier to score.
Brimscombe upped the pace now and looked the better footballing side and it was yet another former Swan, Karl Nash who threaded a neat ball through to his brother Aaron who finished in fine style.
Karl Nash nearly made it 4-1 when his header cannoned back from the upright but in what was a good work out for both sides it was Brimscombe who went home the happier side as both clubs will now look forward to Saturday when things start for real.
Slimbridge: Evans, Turl, Mace, Tunnicliffe, Freeman, Ward, Parrott, Twyman, Martin, Hammond, Lawson.
Subs used, Fahy, Kinnear, Ryan Thwaite, Dan Irvine.
Slimbridge 3-1 Larkhall Athletic
Saturday 2nd August
This game had a little bit of everything - four goals, four penalties, two of which were missed, and a 22 minute break as a thunderstorm emptied the skies over Wisloe Road and nearly caused the match to be called off in the first half. Certainly, no-one could complain about not getting their money's worth of incident.
It would have been hard to predict the drama to come after half an hour - with the visitors possibly just on top, both sides were cancelling each other out, and goal chances were proving very scarce.
Then, a thunderstorm moved over the ground, and the heavens opened. As the rain and hailstones became torrential and tropical, the players and officials were forced to make a run for the dugouts, as conditions became impossible. As the rain eventually eased, there was still a considerable amount of surface water in one penalty box, and it looked as if the game may need to be abandoned.
Granted ten minutes to try and clear the water by the Referee, an army of Swans players, officials and fans worked to clear the surface water to allow the ball to roll, and eventually, after a 22 minute break, the officials and both Mangers were satisfied that the game could continue.
Last Season, Tyler Sibbick was Slimbridge's nemesis in the games between the two sides, and it seemed as if it was going to be business as usual a couple of minutes after play resumed, when Larkhall were awarded the first penalty of the afternoon. Although Sibbick's shot hit the post and was cleared by Dave Evans, two minutes later, the same player went on a mazy run and finished well to put the visitors ahead.
The lead was only to last two minutes though - a neat break from Jamie Hammond saw him round the Keeper, only to see his goalbound shot punched off the line by a Larkhall defender, and we had our second spot kick of the game. Jamie Martin netted to tie things up as we eventually reached half time.
The second period was dominated by the home side, and after Jack Twyman had gone close, Slimbridge took a deserved lead on the hour mark. Jamie Hammond's run saw him find space and he converted well to put the home side ahead.
After Hammond again and Sean Lawson had both gone close, Lawson's dangerous run into the Larkhall box was halted by a mistimed tackle from the Larkhall Keeper, and we were onto our third spot kick of the afternoon. This time Hammond, hitting the same post as Sibbick had in the first half, spurned the chance to put the Swans further into the lead.
The game was finally wrapped up five minutes from time, when Paul Fahy's impressive run was halted by yet another foul in the Larkhall box, and Fahy picked himself up to convert the spot kick to finish off an entertaining afternoon that will stick in the memory of all those who were there.
Slimbridge play their final pre-season game on Tuesday (7.30pm) when Brimscombe & Thrupp make the short trip to Wisloe Road, and the season kicks off in earnest a week today, when Gillingham Town are the visitors for the first League game of the season (3.00pm)
Team: Evans, Turl, Ryan Thwaite, Freeman, Tunnicliff, Ward, Turner, Twyman, Martin, Hammond, Fahy Subs used: Lawson, Rich Thwaite, Parrott
Frampton United 2-3 Slimbridge
Friday 1st August
A brace of first half goals from Jamie Martin and a second half penalty from Paul Fahy saw a much changed Swans side see off their hosts at Frampton United last night.
Martin scored in the first minute of the game, and it looked as if that would be the only goal of the first period, however Frampton pulled a goal back just before halftime, only to see Martin strike again before the break to send the visitors back into the lead.
Paul Fahy increased the lead with a penalty on the hour mark, before Frampton pulled another goal back with ten minutes remaining.
Team: Evans, Preece, Ryan Thwaite, Sterling, Freeman, Mills, Turl, Parrott, Martin, Kinnear, Blockley Subs used: Ward, McDonald, Fahy, Rich Thwaite