The Swans gained revenge for their defeat at Marlow last September with a crucial victory at Wisloe Road this afternoon. Although the win only lifts Slimbridge a single place to 16th, it was another three points gained away from the battle at the wrong end of the table, and allows Slimbridge to start looking up the table rather than down it.
After a dire first half, Paul Fahy broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, and Sean Lawson’s 90th minute header was a well earned reward for another tireless afternoon of work from the Swans’ front man.
On a very heavy pitch, the game was never likely to win any awards in a beauty contest, and the first half was instantly forgettable – after Allen Bossman had driven the ball yards wide on 18 minutes, and Lawson had missed after playing a neat 1-2 with Fahy 8 minutes later, chances were at a premium.
A Marlow breakaway on the half hour saw Jordace Holder-Spooner try to beat George Burton in the Swans goal from distance, only to see his effort land well wide, and after a Lawson effort was blocked, two more off target efforts from the visitors – Holder-Spooner again and then Richie Whittingham were the sum total of opportunities as both sides battled with the conditions.
The game livened up after the break – the home side started with a much brighter tempo, and in the first five minutes of the half, Fahy was twice through on goal and twice denied by two superb stops from Marlow Keeper Simon Grant, who was battling an injury himself picked up in the first half, which was restricting his movement.
Just before the hour mark, the breakthrough came – Fahy was played in again one on one by Lawson, and this time it was third time lucky as he drilled the ball past Grant to open the scoring.
Marlow continued to create chances, but Devon Tae Romeo’s good work was tidied up by a good block from Alex Hoyle as he shaped to shoot, and the Swans’ back four, marshalled superbly by Ciaran Greening and Captain Hoyle held firm, with George Burton in goal having another solid afternoon when Marlow created opportunities.
Fahy and Lawson, now joined by Sam Babatunde, who made an impressive cameo after coming on as a substitute for Jamie Martin, were continuing to cause problems for the Marlow defence as the game entered it’s final stages. Babatunde’s 1-2 with Fahy on 74 minutes saw Babatunde’s effort edge the wrong side of the post, while, three minutes later, Lawson dragged his shot wide, after good work from Fahy had set him up.
Marlow had their best chance to equalise with six minutes remaining, but from about ten yards out, Chris Ovenden blazed the ball over after a good cross had reached him in space in the Slimbridge box.
With two minutes remaining, Babatunde set up Lawson who was denied by yet another great stop from Grant, but Lawson was finally rewarded on the stroke of 90 minutes, rising high to head home a pinpoint Babatunde cross, much to the delight of his teammates and the Swans’ faithful to seal the win.
Weather permitting, Slimbridge travel to Bridgwater Town on Tuesday (7.45pm) before returning to Wisloe Road next Saturday when leaders Cinderford Town will provide a tough test (3.00pm).
Team: Burton, Turl, Brown, Hoyle, Greening, Turner, Lawson, Twyman, Fahy (Rich Thwaite 77), Martin (Babatunde 57), Mace (Ry Thwaite 65)
Supporters Man of the Match: Ciaran Greening