The Swans returned from the long trip to The Gore with three priceless points this afternoon. After a goalless first half which saw Slimbridge top scorer Paul Fahy see his penalty saved, Fahy made up for it with a peach of a strike to finish a well worked team attack on 56 minutes, and Jamie Martin chased down Adam Mace’s pinpoint through ball fifteen minutes later to notch the second.
It was not all plain sailing though – in the fifteen minutes after the penalty save, Swans Stopper George Burton made two superb stops to deny the home side, who had all the momentum for the rest of the first period, and for whom the half time whistle came at completely the wrong time.
The win moves Slimbridge up to fifteenth in the table, but more importantly, establishes a fifteen point cushion between the Swans and the bottom two. With five of the six teams below them that played losing, it was a very good day for Slimbridge as they can begin to look to consolidate their position in the League table rather than looking over their shoulders downwards.
On a ploughed field of a pitch, the game was never going to be pretty, and with the hosts looking to disrupt Slimbridge’s momentum at every opportunity, Fahy was on the end of two very industrial tackles early on as he started causing problems for Burnham full Back Charlie Barton. Both Free Kicks were in dangerous positions, but the Swans were unable to capitalise as firstly Dean Turner, and then Mace were off target.
On the half hour, Freddy Ward lofted a free kick into the Burnham box, and Swans Skipper Alex Hoyle was felled as he went in for a header, with Referee Marcus Carmichael awarding a spot kick to the visitors. Fahy placed his effort too close to Burnham Keeper David Lyons, who beat the ball away, and it was cleared for a corner.
Burnham took the initiative, and had a much better spell when they should have scored themselves, but George Burton was on hand firstly to deny Danny Pilcher – the ball coming back out to Marcus Green, who was well off target with his effort. On the stroke of half time, Burton made an even better stop from a Ricky Oboagye volley, after he latched on to a lovely lofted pass from Michal Gorniak. The half time whistle came as a relief to the visitors, giving them the chance to regroup for the second period.
The Second half started a lot more evenly – Fahy headed wide after good work and a dangerous cross from Mace, while at the other end, a mix up between Hoyle and Burton saw Burton dive to take the ball off the feet of Green as he shaped to shoot.
On 56 minutes, the deadlock was broken – Mace, Ward and Sean Lawson combined well to set up Fahy, and he drilled the ball home to put the Swans into the lead.
Ten minutes later, Slimbridge thought they had scored a second, but Jamie Martin’s effort was ruled out for handball, perhaps unluckily for the striker.
Five minutes later though, Martin’s determination to get on the end of a superb pass from Mace in the left back position saw him reach the ball the same time as Burnham Keeper Lyons. As the ball broke loose between them, Martin reacted quickest, to walk the ball into the empty net, and double the advantage.
Slimbridge could have got a third as the game entered stoppage time after Fahy was fouled just outside the Burnham box, but a mix up between Ward, Mace and Martin saw the opportunity lost as they messed up the free kick routine. In the end though, it was three well deserved points for the visitors, ahead of the visit of Third Placed Swindon Supermarine to Wisloe Road next Saturday (3.00pm). Marine will be looking for revenge after Slimbridge beat them in Swindon earlier in the season.
Team: Burton, Turl, Mace, Hoyle, Rich Thwaite, Ward, Turner, Ry Thwaite (Twyman 70), Fahy, Lawson (Brown 72), Martin
Supporters Man of the Match: George Burton