Hellenic Premier Division
Royal Wootton Bassett 2 Slimbridge 1
Slimbridge co-manager Adam Coyle insists his side need to learn to play with more consistency and discipline after relinquishing a half-time lead, writes Tim Blake.
After a positive first period which saw the visitors ahead at the break through George Neill, Bassett pulled a goal back early in the second period, but the game turned on a ten minute spell on 70 minutes, when Slimbridge lost Ben Hands for ten minutes as he was ‘sin binned’ for dissent, conceded a penalty which put the hosts ahead, and lost Ben Prictor for a second yellow card, which led to the side playing with nine men for a period.
Reflecting after the game, Coyle said: “We literally just hit self-destruct and it all went wrong. It was just a car crash after that, and we’ve got some serious learning to come out of it.
“With no disrespect to Bassett – they deserve credit for turning the game around – but we lost that game yesterday. We beat ourselves. If you get a sin bin, then get a red card within the sin bin, and give away a penalty, you’ve lost the game yourself.”
Coyle said that the backroom staff had discussed sin bins with the side prior to the season: “We’re learning, and we’ve realised how important it is now not to get sin binned. We’ve realised that you can’t say anything to referees. “It affected us, and that’s something you have to learn from.
“We tried to get the lads into the mentality during pre-season that there will be sin bins, but now they’re in the game, and last season we didn’t have it, and now we do. But we have to learn – our discipline has to be better across the board.
“We spoke about it after the game, and it can’t happen again, because it cost us.
“We need more consistency in our performance – we can’t have these spells when we’re brilliant, and then ten minutes when we completely switch off. We’ve got to learn, we’ve got to get better, and we’ve got to get that consistency.”
Simbrdge started the game well, and Rudi McKinnon and Jack Smith both had early chances, before Charlie Hitchings was penalised for a push as a Bassett corner came over with 13 minutes on the clock, and the hosts were awarded a penalty by referee Robert Herrett.
But the Swans had a let off, as Matthew Jones drilled his kick off the Slimbridge post, and the resulting ball was cleared.
On 25 minutes, a superb move involving Marley Thomas, McKinnon, and Sam Blackie saw George Neill beat Bassett Keeper Harry Pickering with a precision strike to put Slimbridge ahead.
Neill nearly added to his tally a minute later with a backheeled effort, but Pickering made a stop.
Ten minutes before the half, Neill has two further close efforts as Slimbridge sought that elusive second goal, but went in at the break just a single goal to the good.
The second half started a much more open affair – Jones was too high for Bassett while Smith went close for the Swans, but it was the home side that struck first on 55 minutes – a Bassett cross wasn’t dealt with properly by the Slimbridge back line, and Tom Ouldrige found the space to head the ball past Ellis Parker to level things up.
The home side gained momentum from the equaliser and Louis Spalding brought a good save from Parker, before Bailey Gallagher had an effort blocked as the pressure on the visitors grew.
On 70 minutes, Ben Hands was sin binned for a remark made to the Referee, and two minutes later, with the Swans down to ten men, a foul by Nathan Dennis on Gallagher saw Bassett awarded their second penalty of the afternoon. This time, Jones made no mistake to put the home side ahead.
It went from bad to worse for the Swans a couple of minutes later, when Ben Prictor picked up his second yellow card and was dismissed, leaving Slimbridge playing with nine men until Hands was allowed back onto the field of play.
Bassett had a two good chances to increase their lead in stoppage time, with Jack Hobson McVeigh bringing a superb save from Parker, and a Gallagher break coming to nothing thanks to a good saving tackle from Sam Blackie.
Slimbridge return to Thornhill Park for two home games this week – on Tuesday, they host Roman Glass St. George (7.45pm), and on Friday, Thornbury Town are the visitors in a rearrangement of the game that was postponed last weekend.
The Under 18s have a big game on Thursday, when they travel to Cinderford Town in an FA Youth Cup tie, a game which kicks off at 7.30pm.
Slimbridge: Parker, Turner, Prictor, Hands (Hawes 83), Dennis, Hitchings, McKinnon (Jaggers 64), Blackie, Neill, Smith (Evans 64), Thomas (Clayson 60)
Goalscorer: George Neill 25
Supporters’ Man Of The Match: Jack Smith