Winchester 3 Slimbridge 0
Winchester returned to winning ways with a 3-0 home victory against Slimbridge. Slimbridge had beaten Winchester 2-0 at home earlier in the season, but had been finding results hard to come by in recent weeks and in form bottom club Bishops Cleeve are now within touching distance of them, but at this stage of the season teams at the wrong end of the table are fighting for every point as Winchester have noticed in recent weeks.
Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up from the Hampshire Senior Cup semi final with Blackfield and Langley with Dan Williamson and Joe Hayward replacing Adam Tomasso and Simba Mlambo, with the last named on the bench. There was a welcomed return to the bench for Liam Gilbert who has been out injured for several weeks.
The crowd of 84 was one of the lowest of the season, but with Eastleigh and Basingstoke both being at home to well supported former football league clubs and the bitterly cold weather contributing towards this.
There was a strong wind which had an influence on the game and it was Winchester who had the wind advantage in the first half and the visitors in the second.
Early on Joe Hayward made an important interception, but Winchester took the lead in the 6th minute when a free kick was awarded for a foul on Oli Bailey. Jamie Barron dummied and allowed player manager Craig Davis to strike a shot which was sufficiently well struck to prevent the outstretched left hand of Slimbridge goalkeeper Oliver Hall keeping the ball out of the net.
It was almost 2-0 when Pat Cox set up Rob Carr. but Hall made an excellent save, tipping Carr's effort over the bar for a corner, with Winchester hitting the underside of the bar from the resulting corner. Hall also made a good save from Cox, and again from the corner that followed Winchester hit the woodwork.
It was not all one way traffic with Ryan Pryce in the home goal having to save from Marley Thomas and Jamie Martin. Winchester however scored a second in the 27th minute when Joe Hayward played the ball into the box from the right hand side with the cross eventually resulting in the ball beuing deflected past his own goalkeeper by Henry Brrkett.
Before half time Hall made a further good save this time from Josh Harfield. Generally the first half was Winchester's, although Slimbridge were still a threat on the break and ready to capitalise on any misplaced passes.
With the wind advantage in the second half Slimbridge began theb half strongly and Pryce had to save from Joe Wilton and also make another save, while at the other end Hall had to make a routine save from a Pat Cox header from a Williamson cross. Slimbridge however had an excellent chance to get a goal back when they were awarded a penalty for a foul which could be considered a bit harsh, but Pryce saved Thomas's spot kick.
Winchester however took full advantage of that let off and made the game safe in the 77th minute when Pat Cox headed home a cross from Ollie Griggs and they had the better chances to score further goals in the remainder of the game. In the second half Winchester introduced Mlambo, Josh McCormick and Joe Sowden as substitutes and all three helped them consolidate their lead.
On Saturday Winchester are away to Evesham , while the cup final between Winchester City's under 16 team and their Totton and Eling counterparts was postponed due to the weather.