Nalgo Sports play at the Nalgo Sports & Leisure Club to the North-East of Swindon town centre, which is a multi-sport complex hosting rugby, cricket and tennis as well as football. The facility is run by a team of volunteers with a remit to help local teams and clubs within the Swindon area. There is parking available outside the club house or on a grassed area just off the service road that leads into the ground. The main football pitch is directly in front of the clubhouse and car park. As with the vast majority of grounds at this level, there are no covered spectator areas. The pitch itself slopes a little from the car park end down towards the opposite goal.
At the time of the shutdown Swindon AFC were unbeaten and seven points clear at the top of Division One, so could easily have been looking at playing in the same division as Nalgo from August onwards. Nalgo were sitting in the bottom half of the premier League so, although there is officially a division between the teams, in actuality it is only a matter of 5 league places.
The game this evening was a Group F fixture in the Cricklade Supreme Trophy & Shield. Both sides come into the game having lost their opening games, Nalgo going down 4-2 to group leaders Redhouse and Swindon losing 3-1 to Step 7 outfit Purton. Consequently, the game was a must win for both sides.
Arriving at the ground, the first person I saw was referee Andrew Lincoln who I had had a conversation with at half-time during the last game I was at, Chesterton v Jovial Monk. Two cup games in week and the same referee for both. As I jokingly said to Andrew, "Is there only one referee in Swindon?".
The game kicked off with the home side kicking down the slope and immediately on the offensive. However, we were only 5 minutes in when their attacking formation left them exposed. Swindon interrupted a Nalgo attack and quickly launched a counter, setting Sam Bradfield free down the right. He drove towards the by-line before cutting the ball across the box to an unmarked Tom Whitman who had the simplest of finishes to make it 0-1. Classic counter attacking football well executed.
There was almost an immediate response from Nalgo who forced a corner and then saw Louis Freegard's header cleared off the line and away for another corner which came to nothing.
Just short of the half-hour mark, Swindon once a gain exploited some space on the right flank but this time Diyalou, under pressure from a defender, lifted his effort just over the bar. He was then made to rue the miss when Nalgo forced a corner on their left. When the ball was not cleared properly, Sean Broomfield was on hand to stab the ball home and make it 1-1. This raised the spirits of the home side and within 5 minutes they completely turned the game around after the referee awarded a penalty for a trip in the area. Luke Murphy stepped up and, despite Will Miller going the right way, scored low to the keeper's right. 2-1
HT Nalgo Sports 2 Swindon AFC 1. A good response from Nalgo after going behind so early on. After that, they had the lion's share of possession and probably deserved their half-time lead. Having said that, there was not a ,lot to choose between the sides and everything was to play for in the second half.
On 52 minutes, with no real danger apparent, James Relen lofted a superb dipping effort over the keeper from all of 25 yards out to make it 3-1. Thirteen minutes later, not to be outdone, substitute Joel Ofori went one better, absolutely hammering a volley over the helpless keeper from at least 30 yards. 4-1.
You had to feel sorry for Miller in the Swindon goal. Beaten from way out twice but absolutely nothing he could have done about either goal. Two fantastic strikes.
At this point it really looked as if it was just a case of how many Nalgo would score. Swindon looked a bit shell-shocked and there were a few words being had between their players. However, against the odds, the away side rallied well, and after 70 minutes were awarded a penalty of their own giving Whitham the opportunity to get his second of the night, which he duly took. 4-2.
Just four minutes later Diyalou got a toe in front of his marked from a left-wing corner and diverted the ball past O'Reilly to make it 4-3. Could the fightback be well and truly on? Suddenly it was the away side who had a spring in their step and a new found belief.
They huffed and puffed but couldn't find the equaliser and then, on 79 minutes, the killer blow was applied. Nalgo substitute Jimmy Horwood was given a sight of goal from around 12 yards out and he duly obliged by rifling an unstoppable effort high into the roof of the net. An excellent strike of the ball to make it 5-3.
Coming back from two goals down with 10 minutes left looked like it was beyond Swindon but someone forgot to tell their players. They didn't give the game up and with a minute remaining scored a fantastic goal of their own. Sub Alex Street broke two tackles on the left wing before placing a perfect shot past the keeper into the far top corner. 5-4.
Despite the near heroics, it was jut too little, too late for Swindon and referee Andrew Lincoln blew the final whistle.
FT Nalgo Sports 5 Swindon AFC 4. Some great finishes from both teams and a wonderfully entertaining game from a neutral perspective, well worth every minute of the 2 hour round trip. Best wishes to both sides for the remainder of the competition.
Nalgo Sports: O'Reilly, Osborne, Fitzsimons, Endicott(c), Crisp, Relen, Jones, Freegard, Wilkinson, Broomfield, Murphy. Subs: Ofori, Purvis, Horwood
Swindon AFC: Miller, Carter, Buckingham, Reece Cass, Good, Diyaolu, Smith, R.Sawyer, Bradfield, Regan Cass, Whitham. Subs: Fisher, J.Sawyer, Street, Wells
Ground Number: 257