A match report by Swindon Supermarine correspondent Aleck Everard
Swindon Supermarine were on the road again just a few days after their trip to Poole as they took on the Rams of Beaconsfield Town on Saturday afternoon.
With injuries and absences piling up it was a debut for on loan Bristol Rovers defender Malik Sesay, and Conor McDonagh replaced top scorer Harry Williams struggling with a knock.
Brad Hooper was away for personal reasons, meaning his joined the list of absences which included Ty Duffus (eye) George Dowling and Tom Sharpe (hamstring) and Lewis Hall (knee), with Leon Morrison only fit enough for the bench as an emergency option.
Swindon were fast out of the blocks, applying a ton of early pressure by passing the ball well on the artificial surface. It was no shock on six minutes when, after having earned an early corner a clever training ground routine saw Zack Kotwica get on the end of a low corner from Tumelty to slide the ball home past keeper Kie Plumley.
That was nine for the season from the forward on his 50th start for the club.
The hosts responded well and Josh Gould was down with a good block almost straight away. But Marine kept on attacking, earning a free kick on the edge of the box.
Henry Spalding’s kick was blocked (ironically by McDonagh) but broke back to Joe Tumelty who placed it into the corner of the net for the perfect start for the visitors – and in the process breaking his duck for Supermarine. 11 minutes in and 2-0 ahead.
It now became a very open half with chances at both ends. Captain Mat Liddiard was defending well with some excellent blocks but Marine were dangerous up front. Tumelty had another close-in effort blocked off the line and Kotwica was hauled down on 25 minutes by Henry Hawkins and rightly went into the book.
Josh Gould was keeping busy too, with a good follow-up save after losing the ball from a cross but it should have been three seconda later when Ryan Campbell’s flick header came off the bar and went over.
This looked like a turning point as from the next attack the Rams struck back. With 27 minutes on the clock, full back Callum Webb found some space 30 yards out and walloped a worldly into the top corner. The hosts were back in it!
The action continued with Tumelty coming close again with a good effort just wide, and Josh Gould having to block well after racing out of goal.
Injury woe continued for Swindon, however, with the half drawing to a close. Will Tunnicliff appeared to pull up with a hamstring strain, and this meant a reshuffle with James Harding moving up top, Ryan Campbell dropping to full back and Kotwica over to the wing. It didn’t stop Campbell from raiding down the left and he was the next to have an effort saved on the line by the home keeper.
That was the last chance of an action-packed first period but with the game so end to end more goals seemed inevitable.
The second period began with an early shout for a spot kick from the Rams but it was waved away by the officials but Marine were looking the likelier at the start of the half. A long throw from Campbell just eluded Harding at the back stick before he actually did put the ball in the net – only to see his joy short-lived by a linesman flag.
Beaconsfield were having their chances still, as both sides were playing some good football on the pacy surface. Nathan Minhas found some space just before the hour but somehow put his header wide of goal, and then Gould pulled out another great save, flying across the line to keep the lead intact.
Spalding had a chance blocked on the line by the keeper who was gaining in confidence, and Harding pulled off a great flick header only to see it just go over the bar.
And then the leveller arrived. A good team move saw Nathan Minhas get clear of the defence and drive the effort into the net, giving Gould no chance.
The Rams scented blood and pushed hard for the winner but by doing so were giving Swindon excellent chances on the break. Kotwica and McDonagh being denied by keeper Plumley.
Then with time running out and after a further Rams attack Swindon struck. The best team move of the game initiated by man of the match Joe Tumelty (who ran the show for large periods in midfield) saw Kotwica cross to Spalding, whose brave header across the box was met by poacher supreme James Harding to send the fans into raptures.
It was Harding’s eighth goal in 16 starts and his first since a back injury that ruled him out for a few months. Despite a bit of injury time there were no scares and a well deserved three points was in the bag.
With so many players out it was always going to be tough and without the 100 percent effort that all showed nothing would have been gained.
Best performance of the season without a doubt, and fully exorcised the ghosts of a 5-1 defeat here last season, not to mention the first win at Holloway Park for Supermarine.
The play off-push continues – now just four points outside the line with a game in hand. Next up, Hartley Wintney at home on Wednesday night before a trip to London to tackle Harrow Borough.
Up the Marine!
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