Slimbridge 2-3 Didcot Town
Saturday 5th November
Didcot Town twice came back for being behind to nick the points at Thornhill Park after an entertaining afternoon where most of the action was compressed into the first half. The Swans took the lead after 24 minutes through Lee Smith, before three goals in a five minute spell - Adam Mace for Slimbridge, Ben Whitehead and James Organ for Didcot- saw the sides go in level at the break. In a much more subdued second period, Didcot’s third goal 15 minutes from time by Declan Benjamin ultimately decided the outcome.
Didcot created the best of the early chances, with Louis Joyce first seeing his lob over Swans Keeper Adrian Kowalski drift just wide, with his effort a minute later, coming back into play off Kowalski’s post. On 15 minutes, Joyce saw another effort cannon back into play off the post, and the Swans luck with woodwork from Tuesday night at Taunton seemed to be holding.
Ten minutes later, Slimbridge were ahead - a mazy run from Adam Mace saw his pinpoint cross headed home by Lee Smith. The lead only lasted seven minutes though, as Ben Whitehead was allowed too much space in the Swans’ box to turn and place a neat shot past Kowalski to even things up on 31 minutes.
Slimbridge went straight up the other and, after good work from Archie Haskayne, Sam Turl’s cross was blocked by a Didcot hand, and Mace stepped up confidently to dispatch the penalty awarded by Referee Richard Price.
Three minutes later, Didcot’s woodwork woes continued as Whitehead saw his effort again denied by the post, but a minute later, James Organ played a neat 1-2 in the Slimbridge box and levelled things up for a second time.
In the last five minutes of the half, Jordan Graham saw his effort rebound back into play from the Swans’ crossbar before, amazingly Whitehead and Joyce both managed to hit the bar with headers in the same passage of play, leaving the teams level at the break.
It was always going to be difficult for the second half to match the incident quota of the first, and thus it proved - Joyce headed over four minutes into the second period after good work from Didcot’s Graham. At the other end, Nick Grimes was too high with his effort. As the Swans began to apply more pressure, Smith went close on two occasions, before James Harding, making his debut for the Swans’ saw his effort cleared off the Didcot line.
The game was settled in the 76th minute, when Slimbridge again allowed too much space, and Declan Benjamin took advantage to drill the ball past Kowalski, and Didcot comfortably saw out time to take the points back to Oxfordshire.
Results elsewhere mean the Swans’ remain in 16th place in the League Table, and they travel to Paulton Rovers next Saturday (3.00) for another League encounter.
Team: Kowalski, Low, Turl, Grimes, Rich Thwaite, Twyman, Stokes, Haskayne (Ward 67), Smith, Mace (Harding 60), Thomas
Supporters Man of the Match: Marley Thomas
Taunton Town 0-0 Slimbridge
Wednesday 2nd November
Slimbridge arrived at The Viridor Stadium to be greeted by the BBC who were there to do some filming ahead of Taunton Towns big FA Cup tie with Barrow on Sunday.
However, the limelight was slightly taken away from the home side as the Swans returned home with a surprise draw and another precious point in their bid to stay clear of the relegation zone.
Take nothing away from the home side, they certainly looked like a team who will be there or there abouts come next April but they came up against a very stubborn Swans defence and an incredible goalkeeping display from Adrian Kowalski who time and time again denied the Taunton Strikeforce with a string of fine saves.
Add to that the fact that the Peacocks managed to rattle Kowalski's woodwork on no fewer than six occasions then you can appreciate why it was the Swans who were the most pleased to hear referee Sean Rothwells final Whistle rather than the home side.
Slimbridge started with Forest Green Rovers loanee Joe Stokes on the bench and with Chairman Barry Gay and assistant manager Freddy Ward in charge in the absence of Leon Sterling who became a Dad earlier in the day.
Archie Haskayne was penalised for a foul 18 yards out after 15 minutes and Kowalksi's bar was shaken for the first time from the resulting free kick, but that was just the start of things to come.
Slimbridge had chances of their own during the first period, Lee Smith's delightful cross found Jamie Martin alone six yards out but he somehow failed to make contact with the ball when it looked easier to score.
Swans Full back Nick Grimes,made a superb tackle on Callum Martindale who broke clear after 25 mins and five minutes later a vicious volley from Matt Wright once again rattled the visitors crossbar.
A great run up the left on 30 minutes by Marley Thomas ended with Martins cross being headed inches wide by Smith.
Smith himself rolled back the years by leaving the Taunton defence for dead but his final shot went too high.
Just before half time Slimbridge's Post was shaken by a good shot from Matt Wright as an exciting half came to an end.
The second half was just one minute old when astonishingly Wright hit the post yet again with a neat strike from 18yards.
Kowalski then made a series of fine saves, the best being when he dived low to his right to push round what looked like a certain goal from Ollie Chamberlain.
Taunton upped the pace now and a series of corner kicks were all well defended by a dogged swans defence.
On 65 minutes the home side should have been in front when Adam Mace made a rash challenge in the penalty area but Shane Whites resulting penalty was beaten away by Kowalski.
The Swans were now defending for their lives as Taunton pushed forward and substitute Freddy Ward made a couple of good goal line clearances as more corners were won by the home side and Kowalski made further reflex saves from Wright and Craig Veal.
With just a couple of minutes left the home fans could not believe it when their full back Pierce Mitchell once again struck the woodwork with a cross stroke shot and then Kowalski made another stunning one hand save as Craig Duff powered a rasping drive at him.
Three minutes into stoppage time Marley Thomas went down in the penalty area after a challenge by former Swan Alex Hoyle but it would have taken a brave decision by any referee to give that one, considering the dominance that Taunton had showed in the second half.
The final whistle was greeted with jubilant enthusiasm from the Swans faithful and as Slimbridge now turn their attentions to an important home league fixture with Didcot Town on Saturday they would like to wish Taunton Town good luck with their FA Cup Tie on Sunday.
Team.Kowalkski,Grimes (61) Mace, Ryan Thwaite, Rich Thwaite, Turner (Mason 76) Twyman, Haskayne (Stokes 65) Smith, Martin, Thomas.
Man of the match...Adrian Kowalski.
Joe Stokes joins Swans on loan from Forest Green Rovers
Tuesday 1st November
The Swans have today announced that Joe Stokes will be joining the club today for a month’s loan from National League side Forest Green Rovers. Joe will go straight into the squad for tonight’s trip to Taunton Town.
Joe is a central midfielder who has made one first team appearance for FGR, and who is currently on a one year contract at The New Lawn.
SAFC would like to welcome Joe to Thornhill Park and wish him all the best during his time with us.
No Predict the Score winners this week...
Sunday 30th October
...so the Jackpot rolls over to £450 for this week's competition....
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.