Slimbridge travelled to Oakfields with hopes of avenging their 5-0 hammering by Melksham in the reverse fixture back in October. However Town were looking to make it back to back wins following a tough start to 2022, following last week’s 4-2 win over Cinderford.
A slow start to the game awaited the 400+ attending, however Town started to grow into the fixture and create a few chances; Malshanskyj, Tooze and Ballinger all had opportunities go begging, however it was the visitors who struck first, opening the scoring through Ben McLean in the 22nd minute to stun the hosts.
Town ramped up the pressure after conceding the opener, and Kyle Tooze even had the ball in the net, however the referee had blown for a foul on the ‘keeper as the forward tapped in. The intensity of the game was certainly increasing as Town kept in search of an equaliser; but an already uphill battle became a mountain to climb as Kyle Tooze recieved a controversial red card 5 minutes before half-time. The referee judged Tooze to have lashed out off the ball, after the forward was himself being manhandeled by a Slimbridge defender.
However, this seemed to bring life into this electric Town side, as Albie Hopkins danced through the Slimbridge defence before being brought down in the box, and the referee pointed straight at the spot for a Melksham penalty. Then a minute later, on the stroke of half-time, Jay MAlshanskyj broke away down the left, found the dangerous Albie Hopkins in the box who slammed the ball home to give Town the lead. Two goals in two minutes turned the game on its head and the Town faithful were loving it, but there was still another half of football to be played.
A gritty second half performance would be needed from ten-man-Town in order to come away with their second win of 2022, and luck wasn’t on their side when Dave Thompson was forced off with an injury early in the second-half, replaced by club hero Sayeed Ibrahim to fill in at the back.
Despite being a man down, Town continued to apply pressure up in the Slimbridge’s end of the pitch - thanks to the running of Luke Ballinger and Jay Malshanskyj doing everything they could to cover the extra man. The home side were also creating the better chances in the second half, with Jay Malshanksyj going close a couple of times, again thanks to some brilliant solo play by himself. More good news for Town was Sam Hendy coming getting some minutes towards the end, after being out with a shoulder injury. He helped Town see out the remainder of the game, turning out 2-1 winners and making it back to back wins for Rich Fey.
A long journey away to Plymouth awaits the squad this Saturday, and Town will be eyeing up the league double over the hosts, who saw their 3-0 lead overturned at Oakfields in a 4-3 thriller.