SLIMBRIDGE AFC 1 - 4 PAULTON ROVERS
PAULTON TAKE ALL 3 POINTS WITH EMPHATIC WIN AT SLIMBRIDGE.
Paulton jumped to 16th in the Southern League West thanks to a dominant display away at Slimbridge. For Rovers, there was a return in goal for long term absentee Andrew Hannah whilst Dale Evans returned to the starting 11 in centre midfield. Kyle Knott recovered in time from a recent injury to take up a central defensive role with Joe Chandler slotting in at left fullback.
On a pitch that looked in good condition for the time of the year, Rovers first chance came as early as the first minute when Hillard released Jack Ball down the left flank who's back post cross found an unmarked Harvey who just couldn’t direct his header on goal.
After some neat passing in the build up, Paulton deservedly took the lead on the 11th minute as the ball was worked into Jack Ball on the edge of the Slimbridge 18 yard box. Ball then took it on himself to weave through no less than 3 Slimbridge defenders and rifle a low shot into the bottom right hand corner. It was an excellent solo effort good enough to grace any league.
With Slimbridge offering little on the attacking front, confidence in the Rovers side was visibly growing especially in the front men of Jack Ball and Josh-Morgan Williams who were running riot against a nervy Slimbridge defence. A quick passing move between the two strikers put an onrushing Camen Harvery through down the right channel but on this occasion the speedy full-back blazed his shot over the bar.
In the 22nd minute, Rovers made their dominance count as Dale Evans picked up the ball 20 yards out, skipped past a sliding challenge and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner leaving the keeper with no chance.
6 minutes later Jack Ball could have got his second and Paulton's third thanks to an inch perfect through ball by Morgan-Williams into the left edge of penalty area which Ball ran on too, opened up his body well but the right foot curler just didn't have enough bend to trouble the goal.
The home side briefly threantened in a 5 minute period starting on the half hour when firstly striker Jack Twyman dragged a shot wide and then with two corners in quick sucession; the first narrowly deflected wide and the second cleared off the Paulton goal line. Despite being rarely troubled this was enough evidence that the Rovers back line still had to be on their guard.
Half-time: Slimbridge AFC 0 - 2 Paulton Rovers
The opening stages of the second half contained little goal mouth action and with Slimbridge making some attacking changes from the bench they did carve out one good chance in the 51st minute when an unmarked Twyman fired his shot well over from 12 yards out. Whilst this chance was sure to give Slimbridge encouragement, their hopes of a comeback looked to be over in the 63rd minute when a Dale Evans long range free-kick beat the keeper all ends up, crashed against the underside of the bar and looked to bounce close to the goal line. Thankfully goal-line technology was not needed as with the bar still shaking, Joe Hillard was following up and smashed the ball home to give Paulton a three goal lead.
With 20 minutes remaining Slimbridge gave themselves a faint hope of a come-back when Mike Bryant fired home, but Paulton proceeded to manage the game out well and the final nail in the coffin for Slimbridge came in the 85th minute when Jack Ball grabbed his second and Paulton’s 4th after latching onto a long ball, out muscled the defender and finished well past the despairing Ollie Hall.
With the 3 points in the bag, it gave Manager John Rendell the perfect opportunity to introduce Development Centre product Lewis Bond-Kendall replacing Dale Evans. A great moment for Lewis and rich reward for the Development Centre staff showing that there is a realistic pathway for youth team players to the 1st team.
Full Time: Slimbdrige AFC 1 - 4 Paulton Rovers
Entertainment Value: 4 out of 5.
Star man of the match: Jack Ball
|PAULTON ROVERS||SLIMBRIDGE AFC|
|16||ATTEMPTS ON GOAL||7|
|10||SHOTS ON TARGET||2|
Paulton are back in action on Boxing Day when they welcome high flyers Taunton Town to Winterfield Road with an earlier kick-off time of 1pm. Unders 12's with a paying adult can see the game for free followed by a free family disco in the Francis Suite along with plenty of live sport showing on the many screens in the bar. Make a day of it!