Puritans bounce back to winning ways at Slimbridge
The Division One South & West leaders won 3-1 at Slimbridge on Saturday to put the heavy midweek defeat at Taunton Town firmly behind them.
Manager Mike Ford made a number of changes from the side that lost heavily at Taunton. Ollie Stanbridge came in for the unwell Duran Martin and, with Jack Westbrook, Barcelos and Zac McEachran having to be satisfied with places on the bench, there were starts for Charlie Wise, Howards and Mark Bell.
It was a very uneventful opening half an hour to the game on what was a very difficult and uneven pitch. There were a couple of long range shots from Sean Lawson and Dean Turner but neither caused problems for Jack Harding.
Though United had not looked particularly threatening they did take the lead in the 37th minute when some good play down the left ended with Darius Browne releasing the overlapping Michael Hopkins and his cross was struck into the roof of the net from eight yards by Johnson.
Five minutes later a surging run down the right by Mark Bell saw him cross into the centre where the ball went through to Browne on the far side of the area, his shot was saved by George Burton but the loose ball fell to Howards who knocked it home from close range.
United finished the half well on top and a corner from Bell was headed just over by Johnson from eight yards.
Slimbridge started the second half the better of the two sides and in the 56th minute they pulled a goal back through a superb 20 yard strike from Adam Mace.
Midway through the half United again started to look very threatening with Slimbridge leaving more space at the back as they pushed forward looking for the equaliser.
A great shot from McEachran from 20 yards saw an excellent save from Burton with the keeper doing equally well to block the follow up shot from Johnson.
A cross from the right was headed down by Johnson to Barcelos with two defenders doing really well to close down the United striker and block his shot. Seconds later and a Miles Welch-Hayes cross-cum-shot from a narrow angle hit the underside of the bar before being cleared.
A third goal for United looked as though it was coming and it duly did in the 84th minute when McEachran showed his quality by feeding an excellent ball through to Barcelos with the Brazilian making no mistake firing the ball home past Burton from 12 yards to seal the three points.