Football: Slimbridge stun Larkhall in game full of drama

Conditions at Wisloe Road just before the enforced break in the first half

Conditions at Wisloe Road just before the enforced break in the first half

First published in Gloucestershire Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor covering the Thornbury, Dursley and Yate areas

Slimbridge 3 Larkhall Athletic 1

THIS game had a little bit of everything – four goals, four penalties, two of which were missed, and a 22-minute break as a thunderstorm emptied the skies over Wisloe Road and nearly caused the match to be called off in the first half.

It would have been hard to predict the drama to come after half an hour – with the Southern League new boys just on top, both sides were cancelling each other out, and goal chances were proving very scarce.

Then, a thunderstorm moved over the ground, and the heavens opened. As the rain and hailstones became torrential and tropical, the players and officials were forced to make a run for the dugouts, as conditions became impossible.

As the rain eventually eased, there was still a considerable amount of surface water in one penalty box.

Granted ten minutes to try and clear the water by the referee, an army of Swans players, officials and fans worked to clear the surface water to allow the ball to roll, and eventually the officials and both mangers were satisfied that the game could continue.

Last season Tyler Sibbick was Slimbridge's nemesis in the games between the two sides, and it seemed as if it was going to be business as usual a couple of minutes after play resumed, when Larkhall were awarded the first penalty of the afternoon.

Although Sibbick's shot hit the post and was cleared by Dave Evans, two minutes later, the same player went on a mazy run and finished well to put the visitors ahead.

The lead was only to last two minutes though – a neat break from Jamie Hammond saw him round the keeper, only to see his goalbound shot punched off the line by a Larkhall defender, and we had our second spot kick of the game. Jamie Martin netted to tie things up.

The second period was dominated by the home side and after Jack Twyman had gone close Slimbridge took a deserved lead on the hour mark. Hammond's run saw him find space and he converted well.

When Sean Lawson's dangerous run into the Larkhall box was halted by a mistimed tackle from the Larkhall keeper, the referee awarded the third spot kick of the afternoon.

This time Hammond, hitting the same post as Sibbick had in the first half, spurned the chance to put the Swans further into the lead.

The game was finally wrapped up five minutes from time, when Paul Fahy's impressive run was halted by yet another foul in the Larkhall box, and Fahy picked himself up to convert the spot kick to finish off an entertaining afternoon that will stick in the memory of all those who were there.

Slimbridge play their final pre-season game on Tuesday (7.30pm) when Brimscombe & Thrupp make the short trip to Wisloe Road, and the season kicks off in earnest on Saturday when Gillingham Town are the visitors for the first league game of the season (3pm).

Slimbridge: Evans, Turl, Ryan Thwaite, Freeman, Tunnicliff, Ward, Turner, Twyman, Martin, Hammond, Fahy. Subs used: Lawson, Rich Thwaite, Parrott.

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