Sam’s Section: “It’s in our hands to be up there” Deakin says as Swans’ youth production shines to keep playoff hopes alive 


It’s Thursday and time for a slightly different take on my section this week as following last night’s comprehensive win over Brimscombe & Thrupp I caught up with Slimbridge co-manager Tom Deakin. 

The Swans ran out 6-2 winners following an inspired end to the first half and opening ten minutes of the second period. 

This reaction was needed as it was a nightmare start for the Swans who gifted Thrupp a penalty within the first 30 seconds which didn’t impress Deakin too much. 

“We had to change a couple of things for one reason or another, whether that be illness or work commitments. 

“I wasn’t happy with the first thirty seconds because we were very slow out of the blocks,” Deakin said. 

But the Swans finally found their way into game after half an hour thanks to a poachers finish by Jack Smith and an unbelievable long ranged free kick attempt by Rudi McKinnon. 

Those goals sent Deakin’s side into the break with a lead that didn’t look as if it was coming for most of the first period, but the co-manager felt the lead was warranted for their inspired ending. 

“Once we got ourselves into the game, I thought we were better on the ball, we moved it a lot quicker, created some good chances and rightly deserved to go in ahead at half time,” he said. 

It was a run-away game then for the Swans in second period as before the hour mark, they had opened up a 5-1 lead on their local rivals with two more goals from Smith and a well struck effort from George Neill. 

“The second half we started so quick scoring so many goals in the space of six or seven minutes and that just killed the game really,” Deakin said. 

Two players who helped inspire this thumping victory were McKinnon who notched up three assists and goal during the game, but the praises were sung for under 18’s graduate Smith. 

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Smith helped himself to his second hat-trick of the season taking his overall tally to 19 goals, level with McKinnon and one ahead of Neill. 

“I’m pleased with how he reacted in the second period because he has come out and taken his other two goals very, very well. 

“We had a couple of words with Jack at half time as there was moments in the first period where he was playing with his back to goal and in front of the wrong player.  

“The next thing you know he’s turning the right man and Jack went from naught to one hundred in about thirty seconds,” Deakin praised. 

Integration of under 18 players into the first team is something the Swans pride themselves on with talents this season of Smith and Theo Clayson breaking through. 

But Wednesday night saw three more young prospects added to the team when, following on from their Slimbridge u18s win over Tuffley u18s, Devon Morgan, Will Tainton and Kieran Bennett made deserved appearances. 

Morgan and Tainton were handed their debuts for the first team and Tainton marked his maiden appearance with a well taken goal to complete the Swans scoring. 

“All three lads that have come into the side today have really stepped up for us and especially after playing a game the night before, they’ve been superb. 

“The impact Devon [Morgan] had as soon as he entered the pitch was brilliant as he was energetic. 

“Kieran [Morgan] came on and replicated that and [Will] Tainton got himself a goal that he actually created as he started the move and then finished it,”  Deakin said. 

Following the Swans thrashing of Thrupp Deakin’s side moved up to 4th in the Hellenic League Premier with just two games left to play. 

Over their shoulder is playoff chasers Cinderford Town and Highworth Town who both still have five games remaining and are the only teams that could drop the Swans out of playoff contention. 

But Deakin and his side are up for this late fight and know that it is only themselves who can affect the outcome of their season as they fight for an instant bounce back to the Southern League Div One South. 

“Whatever happens elsewhere, as long as we do our part well, it’s in our hands because if we get those six points, we know we’re right in there,” he said 

Slimbridge return to action next Wednesday for their penultimate Hellenic League Premier game against Mangotsfield United at Thornhill Park, kick off 19:45

Follow Sam Yapp on Twitter (X) @SJY_Journo for more

READ MORE: Check out the full list of fixtures in and around Gloucestershire this Saturday right here

READ MORE: Check out the list of Women’s fixtures in and around Gloucestershire this Sunday right here

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