Longlevens hoodoo continues for Fairford after narrow defeat


Cam Thomson’s unfortunate own goal was enough for Longlevens to edge past play-off chasing Fairford Town, winning 1-0, at Saw Mills.

A typically closely fought encounter between the two sides was settled by Levens’ breakthrough in first half stoppage time, with the ball ricocheting off Thomson and trickling into his own net.

The result stretches the run of dominance that Michael Palmer and Craig Martin’s side have had in the fixture, with Levens now having won seven of the last eight league meetings – with Fairford’s previous win coming during the 2019/20 season.

Both sides couldn’t have gone into the game with anymore contrasting form, with Fairford heading to Saw Mills off the back of a 3-1 win against Hereford Pegasus in midweek – and having won their last four in all competitions.

Longlevens had lost five of their last six, including a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Slimbridge on Wednesday night.

The hosts were able to welcome Luke Hitchman back into defence after a suspension and included new signings Josh Barlow and Marshall Hopkins – who had previously been at Longlevens for a short while last season.

Fairford were able to include Tom Chamberlain as he continues his return following injury, but were without Harrison Edwards and Will Davidson.

Longlevens started well, with a number of dangerous Luke Finch set pieces causing all sorts of trouble, although the attackers couldn’t force much in the way of goalbound efforts.

Joe Shutt and Danny Way fired over and had an effort saved in the opening 20 minutes, before Shutt and Longlevens forward, Joey Haswell, were both harshly booked for challenges.

After a quiet start, Fairford grew into the game, but Longlevens nearly went ahead just before the half hour mark, but Jack Beardsell couldn’t squeeze the ball home from the right byline.

Alfie Taylor was on the end of a nice, neat move from Fairford just before the break, but he was denied by Matty Wieczorek from close range.

And then in stoppage time, after Shiyak Sutherland skipped beyond Dan Hill, his ball across goal was saved by Ben Mitchell’s feet, only for the ball to hit Thomson and roll into the net.

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The second half start much scrappier, with Fairford looking to try and change their fortunes – but finding the Longlevens back four an impenetrable force.

Fairford did find space on the counter just before the hour mark, but Alfie Taylor got an awkward bobble and shanked his effort wide.

The second half saw a number of changes from both sides, with Longlevens defending well and doing a great job at keeping the ball forward – without sending any efforts in towards Mitchell.

But it felt like Fairford would get a big chance to level and in the end they had two!

First, Jamal Lawrence managed to get beyond Luke Hitchman for the first time in the match, but with those in attendance expecting the net to ripple, the forward opened up his body and slid his effort across goal and wide.

Then, with five minutes to go, Danny Way was brought down on the edge of the box by Jack Beardsell and Way stepped up to curl his effort back off Wieczorek’s right hand upright.

The full time whistle brought a roar of approval from the Longlevens players and bench, whilst Fairford were left pondering when they will next get the better of their hosts.

Longlevens will be delighted with their performance, particularly after Wednesday’s defeat and with the fact they kept only their second home clean sheet of the season.

Jamie Reid’s Fairford side will know that they will need to respond in the right way against Lydney Town in midweek – but will know it is an opportunity missed, with all of Royal Wootton Bassett Town, Slimbridge, Pershore Town and Roman Glass St George suffering defeats.

The result leaves Fairford in 5th place, in the play-offs on goal difference, whilst Longlevens move to 16th place and 17 points ahead of bottom place Wantage Town – with two games in hand.

Next up for Levens is a home fixture with Mangotsfield United on Tuesday night.

Longlevens: Wieczorek, McLean, Barnett, Long, Hitchman, Barlow, Finch, O’Connor, Beardsell, J Haswell, Sutherland

Subs: Parker, Hopkins, Davies, Aldridge, Timbrell

Fairford Town: Mitchell, Hill, T Haswell, Way, Thomson, Rawlings, Shutt, Wilkie, Lawrence, Taylor, McCrae

Subs: McSharry, Lodge, Mahon, Blacker, Chamberlain

C Martin Roofing Man of the Match – Ollie Long (Longlevens)

READ MORE: Check out the list of Saturday’s results in and around Gloucestershire right here

Cover photo taken by and copyright to Brian Rossiter. Check out his Flickr account for all of his pictures by clicking here

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