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Deakin dishes out high praise after Slimbridge victory

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Hellenic Premier

Slimbridge 2 Wantage Town 0

Slimbridge joint-manager Tom Deakin hailed the performance of his side as ‘a good shift from everybody’, as they saw off Wantage Town at Thornhill Park to record their second League victory on the bounce, writes Tim Blake.

A strong start from Slimbridge was nearly derailed when they conceded a penalty after half an hour, but Kyle Chester’s effort was saved by Ellis Parker, and late goals in each half – firstly Will Hawes in the first, and then Rudi McKinnon in the second saw the Swans home. 

Deakin felt that the game could have been to bed earlier: “If we were clinical earlier on it would have ended up a lot more comfortable. We started strong and finished strong, and we take the positives and move on now to the next one. 

“After the Bassett game, mentality wise the guys have been switched on and we have played to the end – we had those four goals in twelve minutes on Friday night (against Thornbury Town), and we just keep on working. We dig in. The lads fight for every ball.  Across the park it was a good shift from everybody tonight.”

The entire Slimbridge organisation was boosted before the game when striker George Neill, who suffered concussion and a perforated eardrum during the game against Thornbury last Friday, felt well enough to attend the game and support his teammates. 

On the pitch, the Swans made a good start, with McKinnon getting on the end of a couple of good opportunities – firstly a good cross from Theo Clayson found him in space, and then Will Hawes set him up, but on both occasions, Wantage Keeper Mitchell Larman was up to the task and made good stops. 

On 16 minutes the visitors had their first effort, but Guy Wooley and then Jack Badger were both off target as the game turned scrappy. 

After Hawes had another effort blocked, with half an hour on the clock, Wantage had a golden opportunity to take the lead – Ben Hands was penalised for a foul as Wantage went forward, and Referee Liam Beames awarded a penalty to the away side. 

Parker guessed right at the spot kick,  and held on to Kyle Chester’s rather weak effort to keep the scores level. 

With a minute to go before the break, the deadlock was broken – Clayson’s cross saw Larman and his defenders in a scramble in the Wantage goalmouth, and Hawes was on hand to poke the ball home and put Slimbridge ahead at the half. 

The second period was more open -Badger saw an effort saved by Ellis while at the other end, Jack Smith, and Nathan Dennis (twice) were unable to convert chances. 

With 17 minutes remaining, Dale Evans’ cross saw McKinnon just unable to get his head on the opportunity. 

In the third minute of stoppage time, Slimbridge finally put the game to bed – a sweeping move saw Kieran Bennett, who at 16 years of age was making his second appearance in the Senior side, cross the ball for McKinnon, who drilled the ball past Larman to secure the win. 

Deakin was pleased with the resilience his team showed in the game overall, and explained the team huddle that the management team called on the pitch at the final whistle: “At the minute there are still little mistakes here and there, but we’re good enough to recover from it and we move on.

“We’ve decided as a group that from the first minute to the last minute we’re in together – whether you’re starting or on the bench, everybody has a part to play and that what’s we say at the start and the end of the game – it’s a brilliant group to be involved with, and we need to keep that togetherness. It’s good for the players to walk off tonight with that reception from our fans, and they deserved it.”

Slimbridge: Parker, Hunt, Clayson (Evans 70), Hands (Turner 82), Dennis, Hitchings, McKinnon, Blackie, Hawes (Bennett 82), Smith (Mbunga 70),  Thomas 

Goals: Hawes 44, McKinnon 90+3

Supporters’ Man of the Match: Charlie Hitchings

Next up

Slimbridge host Lydney Town in their first FA Vase fixture since they were promoted into the Southern League on Saturday, 3pm before travelling to Brimscombe & Thrupp on Bank Holiday Monday, 3pm.

The Under 18 side have seen their FA Youth Cup tie at home to Street Under 18s moved to September 6th from the 5th, to avoid cashing with the first team. They were defeated 3-1 at Brimscombe and Thrupp on Tuesday evening in their next pre-season friendly. 

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