George Callinan’s first half penalty was enough to see his Slimbridge U18s side beat his former club Tuffley Rovers U18s in the GFA U18s County Shield 2-1, at Glevum Park.
The Young Swans took the lead inside the first five minutes, just like they did in the league win against Tuffley a couple of weeks ago, this time through captain Liam Harper who flicked home a header from a free kick.
Harper, who started particularly well, nearly made in 2-0 moments later – but his 20 yard strike was well saved by Rovers keeper Kane Hyett.
Tuffley struggled in the early exchanges but nearly pinched an equaliser with their first real opportunity. Niall Priday spun on the edge of the box before hitting the post and from there Tuffley grew into the contest.
Just before the quarter of an hour mark both sides had the ball in the back of the net within seconds of each other. Firstly Slimbridge saw a header chalked off for a push in the back as the corner was floated in and from there Tuffley broke forward and that man Priday held off two Swans defenders before rifling the ball home to level the contest.
Slimbridge continued to attack from the restart and forward Ethan Dunbar forced Hyett into a terrific double save, with the Tuffley keeper showing great agility to react to the initial save to make the second block. Swans defender Owen Giles then sent a great volley over the bar.
With a quarter of the game gone Slimbridge were given an opportunity to go back in front when Ethan Ravenhill brought down his man in the box and up stepped George Callinan to fire the ball into the corner to make it 2-1.
Joe Wright was called into action as Tuffley pressed for a leveller. After Niall Priday rounded the Slimbridge keeper, his effort was blocked by the out stretched leg of Wright who reacted well.
Wright was tested further on a couple of occasions before the break, with Priday and former Swans striker Adam Bloomfield both seeing goalbound shots blocked.
Tuffley flew out of the blocks into the second half and nearly levelled within the first two minutes. After Charlie Holliday worked a yard of space on the left hand side, the resulting cross looped up off a deflection and Rudi Mckinnon could only head onto the post from about 10 yards.
Hyett was called into action for the first time in the half when Romaine Campbell was slipped in one on one. Once again Hyett stood tall until the very end and stuck out a left boot the keep the ball out.
From there Tuffley countered with pace and Holliday once against worked a yard of space before firing the ball across goal and wide.
As the game ticked past the hour mark Slimbridge would have been asking how they weren’t any further in front. A deep cross from the right was turned just wide from inside his own six yard box by Jack Docks, with a thundering header ricocheting off the post from the resulting corner.
The game became very intense and with 25 minutes left on the clock Jacob Waddington was dismissed for a second yellow card. As the Slimbridge full back was walking off Tuffley winger Jez Idowu was sent to the sin bin for asking the referee to show Waddington a second yellow.
Tuffley failed to make the most of the red card and just after Idowu re-joined the game, centre half Ethan Ravenhill was dismissed for a second yellow after a challenge on the impressive Lewis Phelps.
From there Slimbridge looked comfortable and should have extended the lead with Leighton Tuodolo marching through two defenders before seeing his effort saved by Hyett, the follow up was then somehow smothered behind for a corner kick.
Niall Priday had the final effort of a pulsating game after he was found on the edge of the box. The Tuffley man was forced too far wide and couldn’t keep his shot on target.
At full time the Slimbridge players, fans and bench began celebrating a hard night’s work but they continue to have Tuffley’s number.
Tuffley Rovers U18s: Hyett, Docks, Kent, Sudley, Ayomide, Bell, Watkins, Priday, McKinnon, Idowu, Bloomfield
Subs: Wiltshire, Cook, Holliday, Bird, Ravenhill
Slimbridge U18s: Wright, Woodman, Waddington, Harper, Giles, Callinan, Phelps, Connor, Dunbar, Campbell, Tuodolo
Subs: Gardiner, Clift
Severn Sport Man of the Match – Liam Harper (Slimbridge U18s)