Football: Swans turn tables on Gillingham to make flying start

(9131528)

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

Western League Premier Division

Slimbridge 3 Gillingham Town 0

ON THE opening weekend of last season, Slimbridge made the trip to Gillingham Town for their first ever game in the Toolstation Western Premier League and came away on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline to a team that eventually ended up in third place in the table.

This time, though, the tables were turned as the Swans raced into a two-goal lead in the first six minutes and never really looked like relinquishing their advantage after a display that continued the momentum that the side has built up during pre-season.

Sean Lawson and then Jamie Hammond did the early damage, and Lawson's second just before the end sealed a confident victory at Wisloe Road for the home side, who restricted their opponents to only a single decent chance during the 90 minutes.

The Swans made a sensational start to their new season. With four minutes on the clock, Lawson picked the ball up on the edge of the Gillingham box, and his low drilled shot gave Gillingham keeper Shaun Martin no chance and put the hosts one up.

Two minutes later it was two. Jack Twyman's neat ball found Hammond, who produced another good finish to double the advantage.

As the game settled down, Slimbridge were still on top. Good work from Twyman and Lawson set up Jamie Martin on 12 minutes but his shot was too high.

Slimbridge had an optimistic shout for a penalty with 20 minutes gone when Martin set up Hammond, whose drive cannoned back off the hand of a Gillingham defender, but referee Stephen Oakey, who had an impressive game, declined the appeals.

Gillingham went straight down the other end and nearly pulled a goal back but Dave Evans was up to the task, pushing away Williams Pike's piledriver in what turned out to be the visitors' best opportunity of the game.

Slimbridge should have increased their lead on the half-hour when Lawson sent Hammond through on a one-on-one with Martin but the keeper made a good stop to deny the striker.

Hammond went close after 72 minutes when good work from Alex Parrott put him through, but his lob managed to clear both keeper Martin and the Gillingham bar.

The game was wrapped up in the 87th minute when Lawson broke down the left flank and saw another good shot beat Martin.

There was still time for Hammond to force another good save from Martin in the 93rd minute, before the final whistle sounded on a job well done for the home side.

The Swans travel to Odd Down on Tuesday (7.45pm) for another league encounter, before they return to Wisloe Road on Saturday (3pm) for an FA Cup extra preliminary round tie against Thatcham Town.

Slimbridge: Evans, Turl, Ryan Thwaite, Freeman (Tunnicliff 82), Rich Thwaite, Parrott, (Ward 75) Turner, Twyman, Lawson, Martin (Mace 69), Hammond

Goals: Lawson 4, 87, Hammond 6.

Star man: Sean Lawson.

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