VENUE: Thornhill Park, Wisloe Road, Cambridge, Gloucestershite GL2 7AF
To book your ticket on the Coach, call Adi on 0754 012 4719. Match entry tickets are not included - buy those on the gate at the venue.
THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIV.1 SOUTH’S most in-form side meets the team with the most wretched recent record, when AFC Totton travel to Gloucestershire for their encounter with bottom-of-the-table Slimbridge AFC at Thornhill Park on Saturday.
The Stags have strung six consecutive league victories together over the last five weeks, responding to the narrow defeat to title rivals Sholing in early-February by taking maximum points from all their games since. The Swans, meanwhile, have lost all six of their most recent half-dozen league matches, as part of a longer run of just one win from their last 16. That’s despite the 14-goal contribution of young striker Ethan Dunbar, who currently sits sixth in the division’s list of top goalscorers.
Slimbridge, who finished 14th last season with 11 wins and 38 points from 36 games, have struggled since the very beginning of the 2022/23 campaign. Sholing beat them on their own ground on the opening day of the season and local rivals Cinderford Town, the team currently occupying the other automatic relegation slot, compounded their misery by beating them 2-1 at the Causeway Ground in their second outing.
Bashley were the first team to lose to The Swans in mid-September, and a 2-0 away win at Willand Rovers followed a week later. But since then, only Lymington Town in early-November and fellow strugglers Bristol Manor Farm, just after the turn of the year, have failed to take at least a point from the side now propping up the division with a total of 19 points from 29 games, which leaves them nine points adrift of The Farmy Army – and Step 4 safety – in 18th place.
Totton and Slimbridge have already played each other twice this season, with both matches taking place at the Snows Stadium. A penalty shoot-out was required for The Stags to overcome their visitors after a 1-1 draw in the Isuzu FA Trophy tie in September. A month later, a much more confident AFC Totton helped themselves to a comprehensive victory in the league. Goals from Scott Rendell and Brett Williams had The Stags two-up within 20 minutes of the kick-off. Rendell added another from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time, for a 3-0 win.
GREAT SCOTT: AFC Totton's Sunburnt Assassin Scott Rendell sweeps the ball home from the penalty spot during the league meeting at Snows Stadium in October.
According to an online report from the Stroud Times, The Swans parted company with manager Tom Speers at the end of February with previous assistant managers Adam Coyle and Tom Deakin taking the helm for the immediate future. The new management duo is yet to put a point on the board, though, losing their last game 2-3 in a relegation six-pointer at home in the return match with Cinderford on Tuesday 07 March.
Their 3-0 home win earlier this season nudged AFC Totton in front in the head-to-head historical record between these two teams. Of 14 meetings, The Stags have won seven, while Slimbridge have won six times; that FA Trophy tie in September has been the only draw to date (the penalty shoot-out notwithstanding).
By Ben Rochey-Adams and Malcolm Tombs, Club Historian
Image courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography