Wood get out of Jail
Wood 2 Swans 2 - report in the snow by Harry Ash - pictures as ever superbly taken by Brian Rossiter
Shortwood snatched a point, despite a poor performance, from their game against Slimbridge in difficult conditions on Tuesday night, with significant snowfall throughout the first half. Paul Meredith said, “We turned in one of our worst performances of the season tonight, the ten outfield players were shadows of themselves. Two bad goals were given away, and the game should have been put to bed by them in the first half. We could have stolen it at the death, but at the end of the night we got out of jail.”
Slimbridge dominated the opening ten minutes, with Josh Twyman curling a thirty yard effort wide
in the second minute, before, two minutes later, the visitors took the lead. An under hit back pass from Ben Prictor led to indecision between Ryan Thwaite and Harry Pickering, which allowed Sean Lawson to pounce, blocking Pickering’s attempted clearance, resulting in the ball bouncing into an empty net. A nervous start from Shortwood appeared to have been forgotten when, thirteen minutes in, after an Alex Kibble pass was headed down by Korey Pring, Will Hawes struck a low shot from the edge of the box, and the ball squirmed underneath Oliver Hall to make it 1-1. Two minutes later, Hawes appeared to have lost control of the ball after slipping in the area, but he recovered well to beat a defender before his right-footed shot was deflected wide. A succession of corners eventually led to Nick Humphreys thumping a volley against the crossbar from twenty yards out, after the ball had been partially cleared by Slimbridge.
The pattern of the rest of the game seemed to be set in the following ten minutes or so, as Slimbridge (who were forced into a substitution after twenty-six minutes, with their captain Josh Twyman being stretchered off) looked to sit deep and catch Shortwood on the break with the pace of Lawson and Marley Thomas, and Shortwood attempted to pass their way up the pitch, but a lack of coherent movement off the ball hindered their progression in many instances. Hawes may feel he should have done better after he was found by a low Kibble free kick half an hour in, as he mishit his effort and it was deflected wide. Three minutes later, Shortwood felt they could have had a penalty after Hawes was pushed to the ground by Tom Hoskins as they challenged for a high ball, but the referee was not interested. Just two minutes after that, Slimbridge scored a second, once again through the opportunistic Lawson. A Slimbridge corner was poorly cleared, and some statuesque defending led to the ball being fed wide to Joe Stokes, who played a low cross into the area, and, as Marley Thomas challenged Pickering, Bakare Aliu presented the ball to Lawson, who once again stole in to score into an empty net.
Slimbridge really should have extended their lead in the five minutes approaching half time as Shortwood endured a nightmarish close to the first period; first, Stokes played a through ball to Thomas, whose shot on the bounce from just inside the box was well saved by the onrushing Pickering, before Lawson’s follow-up effort was blocked by Ryan Meredith a few yards from his goal line. Two minutes before the end of normal time in the first half, a one-two between Stokes and Thomas led to the latter pulling a cross back to the former, but his toe-poked finish was saved by Pickering. A minute later, Dean Turner played a through ball in behind Thwaite for Thomas, but he mishit his cross and it was easily cleared. In the second minute of added time, Adam Mace found Thomas in what looked to be an offside position, but play continued, and Thomas ran all of forty yards with the ball before lifting his finish over from a tight angle.
The second half produced fewer chances for both sides, and the performance of both sides was not helped by the worsening conditions, as the snow began to melt and the pitch became noticeably slicker. Having said that, Freeman curled a shot just wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the box in the opening minute of the second half, following a square ball by Prictor. In the fifty-fifth minute, Slimbridge created their only notable chance of the second half as Stokes and Thomas combined once again, but Pickering was off his line quickly to prevent Thomas from getting a clean contact on his shot. Shortwood were short of urgency for the majority of the half, and there were numerous occasions when the ball was lost in a dangerous area and Slimbridge were able to break. The game appeared to be drifting away from the home side until the final few minutes. A very unlikely equaliser came from Morris in the eighty-eighth minute, as he collected a clearance from a Harry Burns free kick, before placing the bouncing ball into the bottom left-hand corner. That goal produced a reaction from Shortwood, who suddenly started creating chances, despite being almost completely docile for the entire second half. A long ball from Humphreys found Hawes in the first minute of stoppage time, but his shot was blocked by Pring, before Liam Meredith nodded a header into the grateful clutches of Adam Thomas following a Humphreys cross.
Shortwood: Harry Pickering, Bakare Aliu (Harry Burns 66’), Ben Prictor, Ryan Meredith, Ryan Thwaite, Alex Kibble (Samyan Ismael 79’), Jack Freeman, Joe White (Liam Meredith 73’), Jordan Morris, Nick Humphreys, Will Hawes (yellow card 78’)
Slimbridge: Oliver Hall (Adam Thomas 46’), Sam Turl (yellow card 51’), Adam Mace, Korey Pring, Tom Hoskins, Kirk Layton, Jack Twyman (C) (Alex Hoyle 26’), Dean Turner, Sean Lawson (Kai Mahon 83’), Joe Stokes, Marley Thomas