Barnstaple Town 3 Slimbridge 2
By Tim Blake
Slimbridge returned from their third trip to Devon in a fortnight with another defeat, this time at the hands of Barnstaple Town.
After taking the lead through Will Hawes, three goals from the home side put them in control, and Nathan Dennis’ late effort was merely a consolation.
It was the visitors who made the better start on a very poor condition pitch, with Myron Turner and Will Hawes both having early chances, while at the other end, Lewis Adams made a good double save from Owen Howe with 12 minutes on the clock. It was still the Swans who were making the running though, and Marley Thomas was unlucky not to get on the end of a couple of scrambles in the Barnstaple box as the visitors pushed for an opener.
On 22 minutes, Myron Turner was fouled on the edge of the Barnstaple box, but Hawes’ free-kick was wide of the target.
Two minutes later though, the deadlock was broken – Thomas’ cross from the right flank was met by Hawes, who guided it past Barnstaple Keeper Lloyd Irish to put the Swans ahead.
Barnstaple replied almost immediately – a mix-up at the back as the ball was played into the box saw Howe collide with Lewis Adams, and the referee awarded a spot-kick to the home side. Howe picked himself up to convert and level the scores.
Despite the setback, Slimbridge continued to make the better chances – Thomas forced another save from Irish before Ben McLean saw his effort saved when one on one with the keeper.
There was still time for Thomas to go close with another effort, but the teams went in level at the half.
Barnstaple came out firing at the start of the second period, and took the lead four minutes into the half – After Adams had made a good save from Harry Baker, from the resulting corner, Brodie Montague was allowed far too much space in the box to convert the ball as it came across.
With 52 minutes on the clock, a neat move involving Turner and Hawes saw an effort from Rio Tomlin go close, but three minutes later, Owen Howe picked up his second goal of the match with a drive from outside the box to put the hosts two goals to the good.
Slimbridge continued to create chances with McLean, Nathan Dennis and Hawes all having efforts on goal, but Barnstaple were content to sit back and playout time.
With two minutes remaining, Dennis pulled a goal back for the Swans, heading home from a corner, but it was too little too late.
Slimbridge entertain Evesham United at Thornhill Park on Wednesday (February 2nd, 7.45pm) before travelling to Melksham Town next Saturday (February 5th, 3.00pm). Also on Wednesday, The Under 18s travel to Lydney Town Under 18’s for a League game which kicks off at 7.30pm.
Slimbridge: Adams, Spark, O’Boyle (Yeo 60), Ford (Ogbeifun 73), Dennis, Lawrence, Tomlin (Mbunga 60), Turner, Hawes, McLean, Thomas
Goals: Hawes 24, Dennis 88
Supporters’ Man Of The Match: Ben McLean