Owusu In Fabulous Four Goal Fantasy

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Slough Town

Owusu (20, 39, 51, 61), Abbott (36), West (81)

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Telford Utd

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Date: Saturday, October 19th 1996 | Competition: League | Attendance: 1002

Man Of Match: Lloyd Owusu

THE sweet bird of youth spread its wings at Wexham Park on Saturday when 19-year-old Lloyd Owusu marked his full Conference debut with four fabulous goals. And Owusu, who started the game in place of one of the Conference's most feared strikers, Mark West, could have had three more.

Owusu struck after 20, 36, 51 and 61 minutes to become the first player in the Conference this season to bag a quartet. Telford, robbed of their influential central defender Steve Foster who signed for Woking six days' earlier, suddenly saw their pride follow in his wake. Wayne Clarke's men had travelled to Slough on a mission to make their move above the Rebels in midweek a permanent one. The Shropshire side did the double over the Rebels last season and had only one league defeat in the previous seven outings behind them.

But no amount of homework could have prepared Clarke for Slough's secret weapon who burst the Telford bubble in such spectacular fashion. It hardly mattered that Telford, who were also without key forward Brian Gray, were reduced to 10 men when sub Martin Naylor went walkies in the 88th minute after his second bookable offence.

Owusu - one of a brood of four teenagers in manager Brian McDermott's cunningly constructed side - had wreaked his havoc long before then. He demonstrated that all roads no longer lead to Rome, but instead to Telford's goalmouth.

The brother of an international sprinter, Owusu powered through between two defenders in the 20th minute to score his first, thrusting his way into the box to tuck the ball under Telford keeper Steve Jones from 12 yards. Telford rallied briefly with Don Page forcing Ben Miles to palm a header to safety while Lee Robinson brought a goal-line clearance from Rob Smith before going oh so close with a clever chip shot. But there was going to be no stopping Owusu.

In the 36th minute he winged down the right past full back Lee Fowler and fired a shot which deflected to a hungry Abbott who, with only two goals from the previous nine league games, swivelled on the edge of the box and stylishly volleyed his 10th of the campaign. Three minutes later the hovering Owusu hammered Slough's third after Jones had dropped Simon Stapleton's 20-yard strike following a weak corner clearance.

Telford's trouble deepened despite a double substitution at the break. The new format failed to stop Owusu who, after just being denied his hat-trick by Jones' feet, completed it in the 51st when Telford's defence evaporated and he lured Jones off his line before lobbing the ball into an empty net.

Telford had one good chance in the 73rd minute to stop a whitewash, but Miles, having parried an initial shot by Page from the edge of the area, then punched it off the line as the striker stabbed again.

Slough's fifth came in the 81st when Gary Blackford charged down a clearance by Naylor on the right and delivered a fine bye-line cross which Owusu met with a flying header at the near post. Overcome, he lay lie momentarily like the proverbial dying swan, before rising like the fabled phoenix from the ashes of his childhood.

Telford's misery was complete when the immaculate West entered the game and scored his first goal in five Conference outings nine minutes from time. A perfectly executed angled chip after he had combined with Owusu on the left gave him his ninth Conference goal and provided a gentle reminder for the youngster.

But on a day when the young Slough player's learning curve leapt off the graph and headed for the stratosphere, he was quickly brought back down to earth. McDermott refused to let the radio commentators have their way with his newly-fledged star, then gave his young peacock some fatherly advice on how to handle the coming week.

Some preening is natural, but Owusu was left in no doubt that a player is only as good as his next performance. He went home, however, with the match ball as well as a string of priceless memories. The team exchanged places with Telford and prepared to move on to their coming FA Cup mission at Hayes.

FOR THE RECORD
• Lloyd Owusu became the first Conference player this season to score four goals in a match. Three other players have netted four times in the league in 1996 - Junior Hunter in January for Woking, David Leworthy for Dover in February; and Mark Crisp in April for Bromsgrove.
• Owusu became the first player to score four goals for Slough since Rowan Dodds on the early 80s. Mick Chadderton scored five on his debut for Slough in the 1972 after transferring from Maidenhead
• Slough 6-0 win against Telford was their biggest margin of victory in the Conference. Alan Davies' Rebels put seven past Altrincham on the same date five years ago, but conceded three as well. Earlier this season the Rebels netted five against Conference newcomers Rushden & Diamonds without reply.
• Slough have now scored 36 goals in the league, 29 of these at home - so far this season. Their tally is five more than any other club in the professional game. Nearest rivals are Nationwide Division two leaders Bolton.
• Gary Abbott - the Mail on Sunday goalscorer of the month for September - now has 10 goals to to his credit, one fewer than competition pacemaker Lee Hughes of Kidderminster. The home crowd has enjoyed every one of Abbott's contributions.




The Vanarama National League South

Tuesday, 17th July

vs Kingstonian

Won 3-1 (Home)

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1 Alan Inns
2 Jack Turner
3 George Wells
4 Manny Williams
5 Chris Flood
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