Greens back up to 5th after first win in 4 games
83rd minute Burrell winner completes comeback, after early lead is wasted
After falling to Longlevens (FA Cup), and Tuffley Rovers, who had both faced long journeys from Gloucester to Watchet Lane, The Greens finally chalked up three points in such a match at the third attempt. But it was a close game which Holmer finally edged in the last ten minutes. Having missed the last two recent defeats, I ascertained from Manager Chris Allen that this was indeed an improved performance.
With Dean Munday sunning himself on the golf course somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula, Dan Hunt came back to partner Jamie Britnell at centre-back. Both Shrivenham goals found the pairing’s lack of wavelength-sharing a profitable route to success. But in general the true pitch deserved better or more accurate passing from both teams, in what became an open game. Kicking into the rain and wind The Greens took the lead on 22 minutes. Matt Wooster found Pawel Kotwica, returning from injury, with a precise through ball. “Pav” scored his first goal of the season, calmly putting the ball beyond Gibson. After Tom Fifield had received a yellow card for an unnecessary tackle in midfield Shrivvy regained parity. Horsell, who had looked their most dangerous forward by some measure, found space on the left goal-line and pulled the ball back accurately. The Greens had plenty of players back, but no one had picked up McKeown who slotted the ball under Aaron Brown from ten yards. Holmer were prevented from regaining the lead before the break thanks to Gibson. He denied the lively Lewis Workman his first goal of the season with a great save, following a one-two which had opened up the away defence. HT 1-1
Although having the advantage of the wind after the break, Holmer found themselves chasing the game on 49 minutes. Again a simple run was not picked up, and Morse put the visitors in front. But like The Greens in the first half, they too failed to push on. Within five minutes a Curtis Stone corner was met cleanly by Gary Lines ten yards out from the near post. His effort had the right pace, and accuracy, to avoid the bodies on the line for the leveller. A wayward back-pass was then short of Brown. Morse rounded the home ‘keeper, but put his shot right across the empty goal. To their credit the home defence was noticeably tighter, after this fortunate escape, for the rest of the game. On 58 minutes Holmer came agonisingly close to going ahead again. A low Lines’ cross just evaded the onrushing Kotwica and Wooster, with no defender daring to intercept being fearful of an own goal. Both teams made substitutions in an attempt to gain the win. On 78 minutes Britnell succumbed to an injury, being replaced by Michael Duffy. Five minutes later, the winning goal arrived. Zach Crawford combined with Adam Riley on the right, and the former got in a high cross which drew Gibson to his near post. Workman managed to get in front of the Shrivvy ‘keeper. His header went past the custodian, but would have passed along the goal-line. However James Burrell who had pushed up as part of the Duffy reshuffle, read the situation well and tucked the ball in at the far post. A Duffy caution was the price for seeing out the remainder of the match which included six extra minutes. The welcome result sends The Greens back up to fifth place. Higher even than in October 2015, the season that they eventually finished seventh. But there is still a long way to go, with many long-distance games to come. Starting at Fairford next week.
Team: Brown, Crawford, Burrell, Lines ©, Hunt, Britnell, Fifield, Stone, Kotwica, Workman, Wooster.
Substitutes Used: Riley, Jonathan Cox, and Duffy.