Winchester 4 Slimbridge 0
Winchester made a welcome return to winning ways when they recorded their second 4-0 win over Slimbridge this season and completed their first double of the campaign. Slimbridge are in the lower half of the table, but they came into this match having won their last two league matches by 3-0 margins and have also won away to AFC Totton and Evesham United this season.
For Winchester OLi Bailey and Craig Feeney were both unavailable and with Ty Mitford injured the substitutes bench included Graeme Purdy for the first time this season, new signing Pip Nolan and Joe Hayward who was returning after being unavailable for several weeks. However the only change to the starting line-up from Tuesday saw Simba Mlambo come in for Feeney which meant that the team was Philpott, McCormick, King, Griggs, Walder, Douglas, Smith, Barron, Mlambo, Balmer and Grange substitutes Callaghan, Flooks, Purdy, Hayward and Nolan.
In the unavailability of Feeney and Bailey Simba Mlambo became Winchester's main striker and although the first half hour was fairly even the home team did not really create any chances of note in that period In fact the nearest we came to a goal during these opening exchanges Slimbridge came the closest to scoring when Charlie Philpott had to save from Slimbridge captain Jamie Martin and also from Marley Thomas, with on the latter occasion thankfully no Slimbridge player being on hand to follow up.
However Winchester took the lead in the 34th minute when a free kick on the right hand side was played into the box and when the ball was not cleared Mlambo was on hand to put away the loose ball. You could see the effect that goal had on a team that had only obtained one point and scored just one goal in their last three games and they had very much the better of the remainder of the half and scored a second in the 41st minute when following a good team move with Mlambo following up after Adam Grange's initial shot was saved.
Two goals at the interval Winchester looked the more likely to score again in the second half with Simba Mlambo whose pace up front was always a threat to Slimbridge having chances to complete his hat-trick, Adam Grange also coming close and Dan Walster'd effort following a corner kick was only noarrowly off target. However while Winchester were only two goals ahead one sensed that if Slimbridge could pull a goal back it could be a tense finale for Winchester.
However in the 85th minute Liam Callaghan who had replaced Ollie Griggs was on hand to score a third after Mlambo's initial shot was saved. Winchester who had also introduced Hayward and debutant Nolan as substitutes were now very much on top and scored a fourth when the Slimbridge goalkeeper's clearance fell into the path of Max Smith who chased the ball down and with virtually an open goal was able to put the ball away.
Manager Craig Davis was pleasedd with some of the football served up on an afternoon when some players were unavailable. With respect to Slimbridge they are a friendly club and had several supporters who made the journey from Gloucestershire.