REPORT: Winchester 2-1 Slimbridge

Two Scrappy goals from play off hopefuls Winchester City was enough to earn them the three points although they can consider themselves to be very fortunate as Slimbridge pushed them all the way in this Good Friday contest at the Denplan City Stadium.
Bright sunshine greeted the Swans on their arrival and a healthy crowd of 235 looked set for an afternoon of exciting football, unfortunately though Referee Mark Lucie seemed determined to spoil the occasion with some wayward decisions which mostly went against the Swans.
Slimbridge started well and surprised their hosts with some neat football but disaster struck in the tenth minute when Adam Mace’s attempted clearance rebounded from Warren Bentley, Swans keeper George Burton pushed the ball onto the post but the League’s top goal scorer tapped the rebound in from 5 yards out to give Bentley probably the easiest goal he has scored this season.
Just five minutes later and the Swans nearly drew level when home keeper Brendon’s Norris made a right hash of a long through ball from Freddy Ward as he completely mis kicked his attempted clearance, Liam Orchard gained posession of the ball and seemed certain to score but Norris recovered to block his shot and the ball went out for a corner.
The Swans good start was rewarded in the 18th minute when Paul Fahy was fouled and Adam Mace delivered a pin point free kick to the head of Centre Back Richard Thwaite who leapt like a salmon to head past the helpless Norris.
Two minutes later and the first of a series of controversial decisions from the referee occurred when Fahy was through on goal and as he attempted to go around Norris the keeper just threw himself and felled the pacy striker just inside the penalty area but to the astonishment of everyone in the ground no decision was given.
Winchester rallied and some good defending by skipper Ward who twice blocked efforts from Adam Roberts and Bentley kept the Swans in the game.
On the half hour a corner to Winchester on the right was well headed away by Thwaite, who was having a excellent game, and the resulting volley from Jamie Barrow went just over.
Just before the break an excellent move involving Mace and Fahy saw the latter run the entire length of the pitch with the ball but Jake Newton stopped Fahy with a timely tackle and the ball went out for a corner.
Wards corner kick found the head of Thwaite once again but his goal bound effort was cleared off the line.
There was still time for the swans to try and gain the lead before the half time as Fahy delivered an excellent cross from the right, Adam Mahmoods attempted shot was cleared to Orchard who made a right hash of his attempted shot from 10 yards out, completely missing the ball as the teams went into the break all level.
On 50 minutes Fahy was felled for the umpteenth time which was starting to annoy the visiting players and supporters as referee Lucie was determined to keep his cards in his pocket, Ward’s kick was headed just over by Fahy.
Up the other end Burton had to be quick off of his line to deny Howard Newton as the game upped tempo.
After 68 minutes the Swans were dealt the cruelest of blows when a corner was well punched away by Burton but the ball was pumped back into the six yard box where a game of ping pong ensued, Newton getting a final touch to poke home what resulted to be the winning goal for the home side.
Winchester had a penalty appeal ignored themselves when Burton and Bentley both jumped for the ball and Bentley seemed to come worse off but nothing was given.
The referees bad day at the office was summed up late on when Jack Twyman raced clear on goal only for play to be brought back and a free kick awarded to Slimbridge for an off side back in their own half.
Further chances fell to the Swans in the final minutes as they tested the Winchester defence and efforts from Dean Turner, Twyman and Mahmood went unrewarded.
Winchester looked a relieved side at the final whistle but the Swans can take heart from their spirited performance as they look to Wednesday evenings Glos Senior Cup Quarter Final at home to Cheltenham Town, 7.30 kick off.
Team: Burton Turl Mace( Hill 80) Brown Rich Thwaite Ward Turner Twyman Fahy Orchard( Prothero 66) Mahmood.
Supporters man of the match: Richard Thwaite.
ATT: 235