Football: Jamie Martin strikes as Slimbridge secure first away point at Bridport
12:31pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in Gloucestershire Sport
Toolstation Western League
Bridport 1 Slimbridge 1
SLIMBRIDGE returned home from Dorset with their first away point of the season after a hard fought battle with Bridport.
A 25-yard strike from Jamie Martin was cancelled out by a gifted Matt Condliffe goal after a mix-up in the Swans defence.
Early Bridport pressure saw Chris Luke set up Dan Wise, who shot inches over Dave Evans' crossbar.
Ryan Dovell was next to go close when his shot went just around the post.
As the tempo of the game started to rise, Martin found himself in referee Simon Shaw's notebook after he retaliated to a late challenge by Ryan Hayter, who went unpunished – one of several decisions by the Bristol official that upset the travelling supporters.
The Swans had their best spell of the game midway through the first half and a good cross by Liam Harding was knocked back by Jack Twyman to Paul Carter but his volley was blocked by a home defender.
On 31 minutes the Swans took a deserved lead when Martin controlled the ball from 25 yards out, turned and let fly with a dipping volley which left Bridport goalkeeper Sam Filkins with no chance as it flew into the top corner of the net.
The home side immediately responded and put pressure on the visitors' defence. Wise brought a good save from Evans with a low drive and then left wing cross by Tom Richardson was headed just over by Dovell.
The second half started in controversy when Dylan Ford's mazy run into the Bridport penalty area was ended with a trip, but to the amazement of everyone in the ground referee Shaw waved play on.
Bridport broke almost immediately and Richardson hit the woodwork with a fierce shot which would have been rough justice on the Swans if it had of gone in.
Play was switching from end to end in what was turning out to be an entertaining encounter.
Stuart Gates was next to go close for the Swans when he ran at the hosts defence and let fly with a good shot which was well held by Filkins.
It was Bridport's turn to be annoyed with referee Shaw when, in the 73rd minute, Dan Robinson appeared to control the ball with his arm in the penalty area but the official evened things up by ignoring their appeals.
On 77 minutes the home side were level after a dreadful mix-up between player-manager Leon Sterling and keeper Evans left Condliffe the simplest of chances to slot the ball into an empty net.
Bridport had their tails up as they pushed for the winner but the Swans defence held firm as the game ended all square, probably a fair result on the day and a performance that the Swans can take heart from in their effort to climb away from the relegation zone.
Slimbridge are at home to Warminster Town in the Les Phillips Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday (3pm).
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