Lymington Town defeat Slimbridge AFC 2-0 to avoid relegation on final day of the season

Already relegated Slimbridge AFC were beaten 2-0 at the Sports Ground on the final day of the season as they travelled to Lymington Town.

Despite early control from Slimbridge, the home side opened the scoring after just 12 minutes when Jireh Oyebamiji clipped the ball past Ronnie Newbery in goal.

The second half saw Lymington double their lead when Harrison Cable pounced on a cross 20 minutes from time. 

The full-time celebrations began once the news filtered in that a win meant that Lymington would stay in the Southern League, but for Slimbridge their fate was decided weeks before.

Tom Deakin and Adam Coyle took charge of Slimbridge following the departure of Tom Speers in February and the co-manager said the battle they faced was ‘tough’.

“It’s tough from where we’ve come in and to take it on from what we’ve done. It was always an uphill battle to get out of where we were, unfortunately we’ve not done that.

“We can’t fault the lads for their effort this season, the work rate, commitment to what we’ve done and the training, they’ve given us everything over the last ten games as well to try and get out of where we are and now, we’ve got to look at next season and go into it being positive.” 

Slimbridge started the brighter side and threatened with two early chances, Edji Mbunga headed off target from a Dale Evans corner before Levi Francis’ clever ball to Theo Clayson was headed just wide.

With their Southern League status riding on this game, the home players, managers and fans showed early nerves before a fortunate goal fell their way.

Swans keeper, Newbery, looked to have collected a floating ball target towards Oyebamiji, however the forward flew into the challenge, nicking a touch past Newbery and the oncoming defenders.

Clayson, who made his first start for the first team against Lymington, had a golden opportunity to equalise when Ben Hands lofted the ball beautifully into his path, allowing the winger to attempt a chip over Amadeusz Skrzyniarz in the Lymington goal, although the shot sailed over the bar.

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One goal separated the two sides at the break, but with the Linnets in control, chances came few and far in the second half as the Swans looked to send their opponents into a relegation play-off match.

Centre backs Toby Lawrence and Ben Prictor were kept busy as both defenders put their bodies in the way of close-range shots before their solidity was broken by a second Lymington goal.

Oyebamiji showed his pace beating Francis before delivering a ball into Cable who fended off a challenge from Lawrence and scored past Newbery to send the home fans into delight. 

Slimbridge came close to creating a nervous ending as James Sunley squared the ball to Ethan Dunbar, the young forward’s shot skimmed the wrong side of the post and went out for a Lymington goal kick. 

As the full-time whistle blew the initial celebrations sounded before confirmation came through that the win kept them above the relegation play-off places and into safety.

On the other hand, with relegation already confirmed, the loss meant the end of a disappointing season for Slimbridge who finished bottom of the Southern League Division One South.

After the game, Deakin said the chances his side created were typical of how Slimbridge play. 

“The move we had in the last kick of the game, from back to front, was typical of how well we’ve done in terms of how we play and what we do. Just hit the outside of the post instead of the inside.

“We didn’t test the keeper enough, but we did create two or three tidy chances in and around the box.” Deakin added.

Clayson has been a mainstay in the clubs under-18 side, but Deakin praised the forwards full first team debut.

“Theo was unlucky with his lob, a good debut from him, positive. Just unfortunate his touch pushed it wide of the post. But, to get himself in that position was good.”

A game that followed the story of their torrid season, confirmation of which league Slimbridge will find themselves in next season is due soon.

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