Sholing 2-1 Slimbridge

Scorers : Claudio Herbert 49, Rob Nicholls 51  /  Liam Harper 81

Date: Saturday 25 September 2021, 3pm – Pitching In Southern League South Division One

Venue:  Mackoy Stadium

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett, Brad Targett, Charlie Wagstaffe (Stu Green 70), Mitch Byrne, Rob Nicholls, Claudio Herbert, Byron Mason ©, Dan Mason, Joe Adams, Jake Cope (Conor Whiteley 79).  Unused subs : Dan Miller, Martin Buckland, Luke Deacon

Yellow Card : Rob Nicholls

Slimbridge: Lewis Adams, Ben Deakin (Toby Lawrence 64), Ben Prictor, Ben McLean, Nathan Dennis, Ben Hands, Edjidja Mbunga, Michael Ford, William Hawes © (Jamie Martin 64), Adam Price (Liam Harper 61), Marley Thomas.  Unused subs : Myron Turner

Yellow Card:

Referee: Brian White   Assistants : Stephen Liddiard & John Painter

Attendance: 153

Man of the Match :  Claudio Herbert

Boatmen went top of the table with our 6th win out of 7 league games this season. A blitz at the start of the second half saw Sholing open up Slimbridge and score through Claudio Herbert & a thunderous shot from Rob Nicholls.  The visitors made it an interesting last 10 minutes, getting a goal back late on and Gosney had to tip over a shot to ensure Sholing claimed all 3 points.

Team News : Marv missed out through injury and Dan Miller wasn't risked either, so Brad Targett made a quicker than expected return to the team after injury, slotting in at left back.  Was also welcome returns to the squad to Stu Green & Conor Whiteley.  Slimbridge were full of confidence after their impressive win at AFC Totton last week. One little noteworthy stat, they started the game with four players called Ben in their side.

In light drizzle the first half got underway and never really got going.  There was plenty of endeavour and some nice build up play by both sides, but little goalmouth action to speak of.  Slimbridge had the first effort, a cross from the left found the head of a forward, but his effort was straight at Gosney.   Dan Mason had a couple of openings quickly snuffed out by blocks and it took until the 36th minute for either keeper to be called into serious action.  It was Adams in the Slimbridge goal who thwarted his Sholing namesake, getting down to a low shot by Joe and push it away, with Sholing keeping the ball alive, but Cluett firing well over.   Slimbridge were probably the happier at the break, having limited the attacking threat of the home side.  HT 0-0

It was either the teamtalk from Dave & Marc Diaper, or something in the half time tea, but Sholing came roaring out after the restart, looking a different side from the first half.  The tempo & intensity was at a much higher level and within 4 minutes the Boatmen took the lead.  The ability to glide forward and pick out the perfect pass, was once again evident from Joe Adams, as he slid the ball into the path of CLAUDIO HERBERT who scored with a composed finish for his 4th goal of the season.

Immediately from the restart, Dan Mason stung the palms of the keeper, but a minute later, Lewis Adams was picking the ball out the net after being beaten by an amazing strike.  ROB NICHOLLS won the ball in midfield, advanced a few yards and unleashed a thunderous shot from 25 yards that beat the keeper all ends up for his first goal for Sholing.  Another fantastic goal to add to the list of worldies already scored by Boatmen players this season.

Sholing were rampant now, Dan Mason went close again, as did Jake Cope.  Slimbridge couldn't cope with the pace & movement as the Boatmen poured forward and another good chance came when Claudio sped past some challenges to return the favour from his goal to Joe Adams, but his shot was well saved.   The shots continued to rain in on the Slimbridge goal, Jake Cope cut in from the left and saw his well struck shot ping off the base of the post and across the face of the goal.   A lovely threaded pass by Brad Targett found Copey on the edge of the box, this time he shot wide.  The manic 20 minutes of non-stop pressure then saw Dan Mason receive the ball inside the area with his back to goal and every Sholing fan knew what was coming as he spun and got away a goalbound shot, that drew a fantastic save by Adams.

It was breathless stuff and not surprising that the game then calmed down into the final 20 minutes. Stu Green replaced Charlie Wagstaffe with Joe Adams dropping deep and Conor Whiteley returned to action as well, replacing Jake Cope.   Just to prove the point that you can't drop your concentration for a moment at this level, Slimbridge grabbed a goal back when Sholing stood off making a challenge, allowing Liam Harper to be set up in the box for a reversed shot past Gosney on 81 minutes.  The Swans had their tails (wings?) up now, a 22 yard shot on the run wasn't far off target and as we approached 90 minutes, a shot from the left side of the area forced Ryan Gosney into a superb tip-over the crossbar. The now standard 5 mins of added time saw a few balls into the Boatmen box, but the defence held firm.

A great start to the season has been rewarded by moving into the top spot, but it's very early days and no one will be getting carried away.  However, it's clear that we have a terrific squad of talented players and a good mix of youth & experience. And as demonstrated by the start of the second half, we can play some incisive high tempo attacking football and score superb goals.  FT 2-1

Next Game :  Cirencester Town v Sholing - Southern League - Tuesday 7:45pm

Photos courtesy of HR Media (swipe to view pics)