Slimbridge U18s came from behind to win a thrilling local derby with Tuffley Rovers U18s on Wednesday night, scoring two late goals to turn a potential 2-1 defeat into a 3-2 win.
Romaine Campbell’s looping header and a late Ethan Dunbar winner saw the Young Swans run out winners having trailed 2-1 at half time.
The visitors had the perfect start in front of a packed Glevum Park crowd when former Rovers man Tom Connor stroked the ball into the top corner after a pull back from Romaine Campbell on 4 minutes.
Campbell was put through minutes later and after knocking the ball past the rushing Kane Hyett in the Tuffley goal, his effort was smothered away.
From there Tuffley grew into the game and were soon level. After good link up play on the left hand side, the ball in fell to Niall Priday who calmly slotted the ball past Joe Wright to level the score.
Within two minutes Rovers lead as they broke with pace and Rudi McKinnon was slipped in on the left side of the box and with everyone expecting him to square for the open Priday, the forward calmly dispatched his effort into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
Niall Priday missed a glorious opportunity to make it 3-1 after a clearance rebounded off a Slimbridge defender and the ball fell to the Rovers forward who could only fire wide from close range.
Just before the break Josh Bird was sent to the sin bin for talking out of turn after loud cries for a penalty were turned away by the referee. The cross into the box ricocheted around the Swans’ box and Bird and the Tuffley players believed it struck a hand. No penalty given.
At the start of the second half Adam Coyle sent for his reinforcements with all of Adam Bloomfield, Theo Maye, Leighton Tuodolo, Jacob Waddington and Ethan Dunbar entering the field of play and from there Slimbridge looked more balanced and threatening.
Kane Hyett denied Tuodolo with a spectacular right handed save after the Slimbridge man had danced his way through on the edge of the box.
Kyle Gibbs clipped the Slimbridge bar from 18 yards before Hyett produced a sensational double save to keep his side in front.
Dunbar worked his way through to being one on one with the keeper, but after initially blocking the shot, Hyett was able to get up and claw away a goal bound strike from Tuodolo. Terrific goalkeeping.
Niall Priday skipped past George Callinan into the Slimbridge box before firing wide, as the second half became end-to-end.
Hyett made another big save for his side as we approached the final 15 minutes. This time it was Adam Bloomfield who beat the offside trap, as the forward charged in on goal he opened his body up, only to see his shot saved by the outstretched foot of Hyett.
From a corner four minutes later Hyett was beaten though. Romaine Campbell, who worked tirelessly all night, got his rewards for a solid display when his looping header from a corner ended up in the back of the net to restore parity.
With just nine minutes left the comeback was complete for Coyle’s men when Ethan Dunbar went on a mazy run on the corner of the box before slotting past a helpless Hyett to give the Swans all three points.
Cue celebrations on the bench and in the stands, as former Tuffley defender George Callinan sprinted a good 40 yards to celebrate with the Slimbridge faithful.
Overall, it was great game of football and a great advert for U18s football in the area.
Slimbridge travel to Bath City U18s in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup on Monday 14th October
Tuffley Rovers U18s: Hyett, Kent, Docksey, Bell, Cook, Holliday, Watkins, Gibbs, Bird, Priday, McKinnon
Subs: Sowley, Wiltshire, Ravenhill, Ayomide
Slimbridge U18s: Wright, Woodman, Clift, Parnell, Harper, Callinan, Phelps, Giles, Campbell, Connor, Gardiner
Subs: Bloomfield, Tuodolo, Maye, Dunbar, Waddington
Severn Sport Man of the Match – Kane Hyett (Tuffley Rovers U18s)