Southern League South West Division

Shortwood United 3

Swindon Supermarine 1

Another typical Shortwood performance produced a second win in four days, as a much-improved second half, coupled with clinical finishing, was enough to overcome playoff-chasing Swindon Supermarine, writes Harry Ash

Boss Paul Meredith reflected: “A good defensive performance tonight which kept us in the game, especially in the second half, which in turn gave us the opportunity to create some chances. Again, as in previous weeks, we were a different side in each half. It’s been a good week for us in terms of points, considering the reorganisation we seem to have to be doing.”

It quickly became apparent that Supermarine were the dominant force in the opening stages, with Ryan Wood poking a Thompson free-kick over the bar with six minutes played. Wood did well to hold the visitors at arm’s length for the next twenty minutes or so, but a neat chested lay-off from Hooper found Parsons on the edge of the box just before the half hour, and his first time effort whistled just wide.

Two minutes later, Supermarine scored an opener which had looked likely since the first whistle; Ryan Thwaite headed back into his own box, straight to Hooper, who finished coolly past Burton.

The goal was given by the referee, despite the linesman flagging for offside, and the ball had clearly come off of a Shortwood head. Selman headed a Thompson cross just wide ten minutes before the break, and a minute later Burton was almost caught out by Diaz-Benitez’s in-swinging cross, which bobbled in the goalmouth, but Wood’s ‘keeper recovered well to gather relatively comfortably.

Amazingly, it was Shortwood who scored the next goal, thanks to an astonishing few moments of fortune.

Firstly, Thwaite put in a good tackle on the left touchline, and the ball, seemingly rolling out for a throw-in, instead drifted behind for a corner. Liam Meredith’s in-swinging cross was fumbled over the line by Hill, and the linesman gave a goal, much to the shock of just about everyone at Meadowbank.

Marine very nearly took a lead into half time, as Thompson tested Burton low down to his right, before he recovered superbly to deny Parsons on the rebound.

Shortwood’s customary second half recovery limited Marine after the restart, but they will feel they should have taken the lead with just over twenty minutes to play.

Gerrish’s cross found Thompson at the far post, but his header was somehow kept out by a combination of Burton and Ryan Meredith on the line.

Six minutes later, Shortwood took the lead; a fine switch of play by Aliu found Humphreys unmarked just inside the box, who then, without needing to control the high ball, deftly lifted a volley over the advancing Hill and into the net. That made it two in two for Humphreys, with both goals coming from fast switches of play out to the left.

Marine appeared to have legitimate claims for a penalty turned down with a little under ten minutes remaining, as Thwaite appeared to bring down Gerrish as he surged into the box.

As Marine pushed for an equaliser, chances were created by both sides in the closing stages: in the third minute of stoppage time, Parsons appeared to be bound to score after he was found unmarked by Bennett’s cross, but the forward volleyed wide from six yards. From the resulting goal kick, Morris added Shortwood’s third, as the bounce deceived a Marine defender, and Morris was able to take the ball past Hill and guide into an empty net from the edge of the box.

SHORTWOOD: George Burton, Bakare Aliu, Tristan Haswell, Ryan Meredith, Ryan Thwaite, Alex Kibble, Jack Freeman, Joe White (Joe Noakes 90’), Nick Humphreys, Liam Meredith (C), Jordan Morris