Football: Slimbridge make long journey to Ilfracombe worthwhile

Gazette Series: Danny Chandler sealed Slimbridge's win. Picture by Kyle Bradley Danny Chandler sealed Slimbridge's win. Picture by Kyle Bradley

Toolstation Western League Premier Division

Ilfracombe 0 Slimbridge 3

TWO goals in four minutes either side of half-time saw Slimbridge bring back the points from their longest trip of the season.

After taking a while to settle on a heavy and sloping pitch and Ifracombe missing a series of good chances, things changed just before the break when Harry Fenner put the visitors in the lead.

Two minutes into the second period, Jack Twyman doubled the advantage, and Danny Chandler's third ten minutes from time sealed the victory, despite the Swans finishing the game with ten men after injury forced Dylan Ford off the pitch with no substitutes remaining.

Assistant manager Freddy Ward said: "It was a great team performance. Our two centre halves were outstanding.

"Up front, Harry Fenner and Danny Chandler worked well together, and the timing of the goals was crucial.

"The first came at an ideal time, and the second really killed the game. The third goal was a bonus, but I was very pleased all round."

All the early chances went to the home side – Mark Clunie blasted over after good work from Ross Middleton and Steve Holland had set him up in space, while Edward Yeo forced a save from Dave Evans.

At the other end, Liam Harding's free kick was headed back across goal by Twyman and it took a magnificent challenge from Dejan Maric to clear the ball from under Jamie Martin's feet as the striker sought to convert the chance in front of goal.

Just before the break, Slimbridge took the lead when James Mayne was dispossessed by Fenner, and the striker held off his man to slide the ball neatly past keeper Kurtis Parkin.

Three minutes into the second half, the Swans scored again. Adam Mace put a superb back post cross in from the left flank, and Twyman's header back across the goal gave Parkin no chance.

The game was held up for over ten minutes when an accidental collision between Dylan Ford, who had only been on the pitch for three minutes as a Slimbridge substitute, and Ilfracombe's Kevin Darch saw both sustain nasty looking leg injuries.

As Slimbridge had used both their available substitutes, they were forced to play the last 13 minutes with ten men.

With ten minutes left, it took a goal line header from Dan Robinson to keep the home side out, before Chandler put the seal on the performance with the third Slimbridge goal. A free kick was lofted towards Chandler, who ducked under it, playing keepy-uppy with his back for a while, and saw the ball then fall at his feet beyond the last defender, drilling it past Parkin to put the game to bed.

Ilfracombe should have got themselves on the scoresheet in the last minute, when Clunie's superb effort beat Evans and bounced back into play off the post, but the visitors held on for a clean sheet and three very important points.

Slimbridge travel to Bath on Tuesday night (7.45pm) to meet Odd Down, before entertaining Buckland Athletic at Wisloe Road on Saturday (3pm) in two league encounters.

Slimbridge: Evans, Stevenson (Ward 56), Robinson, Thornton, Tunnicliffe, Twyman, Martin, Harding, Chandler, Fenner (Ford 74), Mace

Goals: Fenner 45, Twyman 48, Chandler 81.

Star man: Ben Tunnicliffe.

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