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Slimbridge chasing place in end-of-season Hellenic League Premier Division play-offs

All Areas > Sport > Football

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 8th April 2024, 15:00

Slimbridge host Mangotsfield United on Wednesday and Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Saturday Slimbridge host Mangotsfield United on Wednesday and Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Saturday

There have been plenty of smiles around Slimbridge AFC this season and those smiles could be even wider by the end of the week.

That’s because the Hellenic League Premier Division club are closing in on a place in the end-of-season play-offs after a fantastic run of form since the turn of the year.

They’ve won 10 and drawn two of their 14 league games in 2024, a run that has catapulted them into the top four in the 20-strong division.

“We’ve been superb since the start of the year,” joint manager Adam Coyle told The Local Answer ahead of their final two games of the regular league season.

They host mid-table Mangotsfield United on Wednesday before entertaining third-placed Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Saturday.

Wootton Bassett have all but secured their place in the play-offs and with second-placed Corsham having already booked their spot, it’s two from Slimbridge, fifth-placed Highworth Town and seventh-placed Cinderford Town for the final places.

Slimbridge are three points ahead of Highworth and four ahead of Cinderford, who are at home to runaway leaders Worcester City in their final game on Monday 22nd April.

Both Highworth and Cinderford have four games to play but one – or both – will drop points when they play each other at Highworth on Friday.

It’s all to play for but 35-year-old Coyle, who is joint manager with Tom Deakin, is certainly not looking too far ahead.

“Our full focus is on Mangotsfield,” he said. “We’re hoping to set up Saturday’s game as a cup final and a possible warm-up for a play-off semi-final, but Mangotsfield are a good side.

“Ultimately we’ve just got to worry about us.”  

Second hosts fifth and third entertains fourth in one-off games in the play-offs and whatever happens Coyle is determined that the players, the fans and everyone at the club enjoys the next few days.

The club finished bottom of Division One South of the Southern League at the end of last season – Coyle and Deakin took charge in February 2023 – and Coyle said: “We were told to prepare for this season as we were obviously going to be relegated.

“But my vision was to get a better feeling about the club, I didn’t want to just win games, I wanted people to start smiling again.

“I wanted everyone to enjoy their football and I want everyone to enjoy this week.”

The club’s supporters have certainly had plenty to shout about this season because Slimbridge are the second highest scorers in the division, with 79 goals in 36 games behind Worcester City, who are certain to win the title and with it the one automatic promotion spot.

“We play good football,” continued Coyle. “We play front-foot football and we’ve got a few goalscorers in the side. We want people to come and watch us play.”

And those people who do head to Thornhill Park this week will certainly have a big role to play.

“Yes, they will,” said Coyle. “Coming off a relegation, it was tough. It was difficult at the start of the season but our run this year has put us in contention.”

Slimbridge spent seven years in the Southern League before dropping out last season, so know all about the challenges they will face should they go all the way and win promotion.

“I keep saying it’s like having your first child," said Coyle, a dad of two. "You’re never really prepared for it but when it happens you just deal with it!”

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