FOOTBALL is not all concerned by local rivalries but often about co-operation and, on Saturday, Slimbridge AFC managed to complete a task that helped one of their old rivals stage a top game.

The village club did themselves proud when they hosted a pre-season friendly between Gloucester City and a Bristol Rovers XI which finished as a 1-1 draw.

Nearly five hundred fans of both clubs, Slimbridge supporters and people from the village thronged into Thornhill Park to watch the first pre-season friendly of the summer at the ground.

Slimbridge kick-off their own pre-season on Tuesday when they travel to Gloucestershire County League side Stonehouse Town, but, last Saturday, the club was bouncing.

The Swans committee worked tirelessly to man the bar, move barriers around and clean up behind the fans who watched an entertaining clash between the National League South side and a team of reserves, trialists and trainees from the Memorial Stadium.

Slimbridge chairman Barry Gay was delighted by the day. He said: “I think it went absolutely superb. It has been great for the club to host the game. You would never, in your wildest dreams, believe we would have a club the size of Bristol Rovers playing on a little ground at Thornhill Park.

“So we are really pleased to hold this game and maybe look forward to having a link with them in the future.”

Gloucester City brought their banners to parade at one end of the stadium, but they were out-numbered by the Rovers fans who had travelled from all around Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire to support their team.

Links between local clubs are important, and helping out at this stage of the year by hosting a match, could lead to help later on should Slimbridge manager Freddy Ward find himself with an injury crisis during the Evo-Stik Southern League South, West season.

Gloucester City ground-share with Evesham and Gay explained how Slimbridge were able to secure Saturday’s top friendly for their ground.

“This match all came about with Tim Harris (Gloucester City’s manager) phoning Colin (Gay. Slimbridge secretary) basically saying they had a match with Bristol Rovers but they were unable to play it at Evesham because of a pre-arranged engagement and so could they use our facilities.

“The agreement was that it would be great if you could bring your side down to play us in a midweek friendly game.

“So that was the agreement and we look forward to seeing Gloucester City a week Tuesday down here.”

For the game itself, Gloucester City came within a few seconds of grabbing victory over Rovers. They scored in the 11th minute when Elliot Richards put the ball past new Rovers goalkeeping signing Sam Slocombe.

And with Rovers having few attempts on target at the Gloucester end, they levelled with barely seconds of the game to go when Ellis Harrison got on the end of a cross to thump the ball past City keeper Alex Harris.

It was a decent enough game between those goals, with Gloucester having several chances to take a bigger lead.

But, at the end, Slimbridge celebrated a top game between two good teams. Gay added: “Tim (Harris) is quite good friends with our manager Freddy Ward from playing days. So I have had a word with Tim and we are hoping to see one or two fringe players come our way through the season.”