Slimbridge 0 Winchester City 4
By Malcolm Clarke
Winchester returned to winning ways with a 4-0 at Slimbridge in a rearranged fixture after the original fixture had to be abandoned due to floodlight failure in the second half with the score 1-1. However with both teams out of the F A Cup on a day where first qualifying round ties in the competition where being played.
Winchester had won on this ground on their two previous two visits, but prior to that Thornhill Park had not been a happy hunting ground for them. Winchester had welcomed Craig Feeney back into the fold from AFC Totton and the move was clearly designed to increase their attacking options.
Probably Feeney's most memorable contribution in a Winchester shirt had been scoring four goals in a 7-0 home win against Slimbridge which represents Winchester's biggest ever league win since returning to the Southern League, so it is perhaps ironic that Craig returned for this fixture.
With goalkeeper Charlie Philpott injured Harry Birchnall son of Assistant Manager Sean took his place in goal and there were also returns to the starting line-up for Robbie Flooks and Max Smith against a Slimbridge team that had lost 2 and drawn 1 of their previous three league games. Flooks though was to have a mixed afternoon, for after scoring Winchester's all important second goal in the first half he was sent off in the second.
Slimbridge though started off the brighter of the two teams with Adam Price putting in a dangerous cross, Johan Flo shooting wide and Birchnall having to make a routine save. However after the home team had a good first 20 minutes it was Winchester who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Oli Bailey set up Ollie Balmer to score. Four minutes later it was 2-0 when Balmer turned provider when Robbie Flooks headed home his free kick. It could easily have been 3-0 soon afterwards when Bailey again set up Balmer, but this time his effort was saved by Lewis Adams in the home goal at the expense of a corner.
Slimbridge came close to scoring on one occasion, but generally Winchester were very much in the ascendancy djuring the remainder of the first half. However the home team started the second half brightly and Birchnall had to save from Myron Turner and make an excellent save in tipping an effort from Johan Flo over the bar. Annear also had a couple of off target efforts, but on the hour Winchester were reduced to 10 men when Flooks was sent off for a foul on Flo.
Shortly after the sending off Winchester bought on Simba Mlambo for Oli Bailey, but any hope Slimbridge had of using the extra man advantage to get back in the game were virtually ended when Max Smith scored with a great strike from 30 yards. Soon afterwards Smith was replaced by Adam Grange and a few minutes later Greg Peel came on for CFeeney.
Slimbridge were trying hard to score at least a consolation goal, but Peel broke clear of the home defence, and after his effort hit the post and in the follow up Slimbridge goalkeeper Adams was adjudged to have fouled Peel who took the resulting penalty kick himself and made no mistake.T
There was no real action of note in the final five minutes as Winchester collected a valuable three points in their quest to climb the league table.
After Wednesday's league cup game at oosport Borough which is now definitely on following Gosport Borough progressing in the F A Cup without the need for a replay, they are at home to Barnstaple in the league on Saturday. However Frome's F A Cup victory means that Winchester will not be travelling there on 18th September.