Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division: Thame United 1 Slimbridge 2

First published in Gloucestershire Sport

AN OWN goal and a hotly disputed penalty secured three more important points for Slimbridge to keep them firmly in second place.

Thame, who had previously only lost one home game at the impressive ASM Stadium, nearly took a second minute lead when Ben Gray’s shot was cleared off the line by Shane Anson following a corner.

Five minutes later Swans Keeper Adam Clatworthy had to be quick off his line to deny Gray a second opportunity.

As the Swans settled, the first controversial incident of the afternoon arose when Thame skipper Adam West slipped in the centre circle and was dispossesed of the ball by Liam Harding, who seemed to be clear, but referee Simon Parbery amazingly awarded a free kick against him.

However, the Swans went in front on 20 minutes. Fred Ward’s free kick into the Thame penalty area was headed on by Marvyn Roberts and then by Tom Speers, and as the unfortunate Nick Rhodes stuck his leg out the ball shot off his knee and past the helpless Lee Farrow in the home goal.

Slimbridge finished the half well as Stuart Gates’ corner was headed against the crossbar by Speers.

Thame came out fighting straight from the start of the second period and Ben Connelly’s impressive strike from 18 yards rebounded back from the crossbar.

They got the reward for all their pressure and equalised in the 66th minute when Ben Gray shot high into the net from six yards following a corner.

Five minutes later the Swans regained the lead when Gates ran into the penalty area and was adjudged to have been tripped by Matt Willett by referee Parberry, a decision which was furiously contested by Thame’s players and officials. Gates kept his cool and got back on his feet to smash the spot kick low past Farrow.

As the game went into stoppage time Thame really should have equalised when substitute Matt Johnston was faced with an open goal but he somehow managed to head the ball over the bar.

Slimbridge are at home to Hallen in the GFA Challenge Trophy on Wednesday night (7.45pm).

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