Swans go bottom with defeat

Another disappointing afternoon for the Swans saw them slump to another defeat which consigned them to the bottom of the Toolstation Western Premier League.

In gale force conditions, Slimbridge were unable to capitalise on playing with the wind in the first half, and were punished playing against it in the second half when two sloppy pieces of defending saw Heath take advantage and collect the points.

In an entertaining first period, despite the conditions, both teams had opportunities to get on the scoresheet. Paul Carter’s shot went wide with two minutes on the clock, and Carter then played a neat ball to Elliott Kennedy on the Slimbridge right flank, but Kennedy’s cross was held up in the wind, and Jamie Martin was unable to take advantage of a good move.

At the other end, Longwell Green went close, as Fabian McCarthy’s cross forced a good saving header from Leon Sterling, resulting in a corner which saw a good save from Dave Evans from James Pockock’s header, before Dan Hunt saw his effort blocked after a surging run from midfield.

On 15 minutes, the conditions contributed to Longwell Green Keeper Dan Jackson fumbling Martin’s long rage effort, and, as the Swans’ pressed, Kennedy and Carter combined for a cross which no-one was in a position to take advantage of.

Both teams were playing good football given the conditions, and the home side fashioned a good opportunity when McCarthy and Hunt combined well to set up Kris Lee, but Evans was alert and made a good save with his feet to prevent Longwell Green taking the lead.

With just under 30 minutes on the clock, Longwell Green had another good opportunity, when Hunt header just wide after a good run and cross from James Gardner.

As the game flowed from end to end, Martin was very close with an effort on 35 minutes which just shaved the wrong side of the post, while Lee and Charlie Stevens were both just off target with their efforts for Longwell Green.

Slimbridge had probably their best opportunity when Carter played in Martin with five minutes remaining in the first period, but Martin’s effort hit the top of the Longwell Green bar and went over for a goal kick, leaving the game goalless at the half.

With the wind behind them in the second period, Longwell Green began to up the tempo, and Stevens and Mark Summers both forced saves from Evans before what appeared to be the turning point in the match happened on 56 minutes.

An altercation between Jamie Coombes and Carter saw the Slimbridge man apparently taking a stamp from his opponent, and Referee Glen Barter, after a long delay, booked both players, Carter for allegedly pushing his opponent in response to the original offence.

The Slimbridge protests saw Captain Dave Evans go into the book along with Carter for his protests, and, at the restart, the Swans’ concentration went missing – Stuart Gates’ underhit backpass to Evans was never going to reach his Keeper, and Longwell Green seized upon the error, as Evans was rounded, and the ball worked across the Slimbridge box for Stevens to gleefully slot home, and put the home side ahead.

As Longwell Green pressed, Hunt again went close with another good effort, before, on the hour mark, Mark Knapman’s free kick brought another save from Evans.

Slimbridge tried to exert pressure playing against the wind, but Dan Robinson’s good work in setting up Kennedy resulted in another simple save for Jackson as the visitors struggled to make any impact.

With 20 minutes remaining, Knapman shot high when well placed, before Hunt latched onto a through ball to round Evans, only to be foiled buy a superb tackle from Will Wellon to prevent Longwell Green getting their second.

With 12 minutes remaining, the Swans’ defence was breached again – Steven was left in a acres of room to convert from a corner to double the home side’s advantage.

On 80 minutes, Carter’s free kick set up Dean Turner for another effort that was blazed over, while at the other end, Stevens and Coombes went close for Longwell Green, before Wellon made another telling intervention, this time blocking Simon Dew’s effort after good work from Hunt, but it was too late to prevent another defeat.

The Swans now have two home games on the bounce – next Saturday when Odd Down (Bath) come to Wisloe Road (3.00pm), and then the folllowing Tuesday when Cadbury Heath are the visitors (7.45pm)

Team: Evans, Robinson, Cole, Sterling, Wellon, Harding (Hughes 73), Kennedy (Kinnear 78), Twyman, Martin (Turner 64), Carter, Gates