The Swans extended their unbeaten run to four games with this extra time win over Ilfracombe Town in the First Round of the Les Phillips Cup at Wisloe Road this afternoon.
The sides ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, with Liam Harding’s rocket being cancelled out by Ilfracombe’s Luke Evans’ strike in the first half, and, in extra time, the sides were 30 second away from penalties when Adam Mace forced home the winner to send the Swans through to the next round.
On a bitterly cold afternoon, and contending with a heavy pitch, it was probably no surprise that the game was scrappy throughout – Slimbridge had the best of the early exchanges though, and both Adam Hughes and Adam Mace skewed opportunities wide, before, on 12 minutes, Stan Paxton’s powerful run on goal was halted by a superb Leon Sterling tackle, winning the ball completely cleanly when any slight mistake could have been fatal for the home side.
It was 25 minutes before there was any real action of note, but when it came, it was worth the wait. Freddy Ward’s free kick was cleared to Liam Harding on the edge of the Ilfracombe box, and his volley left Keeper Kurtis Parkin clutching air, to put the Swans ahead.
The lead did not last long though – Paxton had already forced Dave Evans into a save under his cross bar, before his run down the left paid dividends. Paxton’s cross was met by Luke Evans, who drilled the ball home at the second attempt to level things up on 31 minutes.
Ilfracombe could have nicked a second just before the break after Carter was dispossessed, but Kane Drydon sliced his shot wide after more good work by Paxton.
The Second Half started in the same vein as the first – Paxton shot over for Ilfracombe, while, at the other end, Danny Chandler’s volley was also too high as both teams strived to break the deadlock.
Jamie Martin, back from a four match ban, nearly scored one of the goals of the season on 59 minutes, when he chanced his luck seeing Parkin off his line from near the halfway line, but his shot drifted just wide.
Martin then created another good opportunity for himself, his run taking him though on goal, but his weak shot was directed straight at Parkin, who gathered easily.
On 67 minutes, Carter and Mace combined well, but, again, Parkin was given an opportunity to gather the ball from Mace’s shot.
Slimbridge continued to press, and Dominique Njoya was the next to nearly break the deadlock when he turned his man on the Ilfracombe box, before seeing his shot run across the goal with no-one on hand to poke it home.
The home side should have settled the game on 84 minutes, when Joe Kinnear flung himself at a cross in front of an open goal, but saw his close range effort somehow find it’s way over the Ilfracombe bar with the goal gaping in front of him.
Ilfracombe had one last chance themselves to nick it, and it took a goal line clearance from Will Wellon and Freddy Ward to deny them a minute into stoppage time.
Extra time failed to separate the two sides – Harding had two efforts just wide as he tried to recreate his earlier goal, and Mace scuffed his shot wide in the first period, while Ilfracombe’s best effort came from Mark Clune, who shot high when well placed.
In the second period of Extra time, Mace’s volley brought a good save from Parkin, while a shot from Ross Middleton at the other end saw a frantic scramble from the Swans defence to keep the ball out.
With everyone in the ground now gearing up for penalties, the Swans nicked it with 30 seconds remaining, when Mace swept home a cross to put Slimbridge through to the next round.
The Swans travel to Fairford Town for a GFA Challenge Trophy Tie on Tuesday (7.45pm), before making the trip to Sherborne next Saturday (3.00pm)
Team: Evans, Ward, Njoya, Sterling, Wellon, Hughes, Turner, Harding, Chandler (Martin 55), Carter (Kinnear 69), Mace
Supporters Man of the Match; Liam Harding