Fairford Town have reduced the gap to Hellenic Premier leaders Westfields to just two points after Connor Thompson’s first half double put them on their way to a 3-1 win over local rivals Lydney Town, on Tuesday night.
With a decent crowd at Cinder Lane on a chilly Tuesday night, Fairford made a bright start and settled into their rhythm.
On 11 minutes the Robins broke the deadlock with their first meaningful attack of the night when captain Dan Bailey carried the ball through to the edge of the box and after the ball ricocheted off Bailey’s shin, forward Connor Thompson walked onto the ball to make it 1-0.
Lydney then lost Finnan Hamblett to an injury after a 50/50 challenge and he was duly replaced by Declan Morley-Lyne.
From there the game became a much more even contest and the visitors levelled just before the half hour mark. After Fairford’s Robbie James was dispossessed in his own half, the ball was played through to Lewis Thompson who slotted past Harrison Ellis to score his fourth goal of the season.
The scores weren’t level for long though and it was that man again Connor Thompson who restored his side’s lead. After picking the ball up on the right hand side of the box, the former Gloucester City man skipped past two or three Lydney defenders before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.
Fairford went into the half time break in front and it seemed like they hadn’t really got out of first gear, but credit to Lydney, after going behind early on they were still in the contest.
The second half start with possession for Lydney, as the visitors tried to get the ball to Sammie Hicks, Ross Gabriel and Declan Morley-Lyne as their forward line fed off scraps for most of the first half.
But after failing to force Ellis into any saves the away side started to lose their discipline, with Gabriel being given a 10 minute sinbin for dissent after fouling Christian Turner-Williams.
Fairford came close to sealing the three points right at the end of the 10 minutes, when Mason Thompson fired over from about 15 yards – after some great build up play between Callum Preece, Harvey Scholes and Connor Thompson down the right.
Assistant Manager Jamie Reid, who was filling in as manager for the second game in a row whilst First Team Manager Jody Bevan was away, brought on Ben Lodge with just under 15 minutes to go to freshen up the front line and try to kill the game.
His decision nearly worked within minutes when Lodge played a one two on the edge of the box before firing wide from just inside the box.
But Lodge would play a major role in the killer moment for the Robins with three minutes left, as Harvey Scholes’ free kick was met by Lodge at the back post. Lodge’s effort went back across goal and whilst the club’s social media credited Lodge with the goal, Lydney defender Sam Elliott may have got the final touch to seal the points for the hosts.
The win sees Fairford close the gap to Westfields at the top of the league, with the leaders in action against Fairford’s Gloucestershire rivals Longlevens on Wednesday evening.
Fairford move onto the FA Vase on Saturday, as they head to Bitton looking to advance into the Third Round for the first time in their history.
For Lydney, they are scheduled to face Ardley United at the Rec, but after last week’s rain saw their pitch covered in water the fixture is unlikely to take place.
Severn Sport Man of the Match – Connor Thompson (Fairford Town)