Wings Down Rebels

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Abbott (76)

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Welling United

Copley (43) Hanlon (80)

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Date: Wednesday, September 10th 1997 | Competition: League | Attendance: 385

Man Of Match: Gary Abbott

What will surely be Slough's lowest attendance of the season witnessed the Rebels' indifferent home form continue with a 2-1 defeat by Welling United on Wednesday night.

The clash with England's World Cup qualifier meant that just 385 came to Wexham Park, and the dour 90 minutes that followed was scant reward for their commitment.

Paul Copley opened the scoring just before the break, and while substitute Gary Abbott equalised with a quarter of an hour to go, Welling's winner through Ritchie Hanlon came just a couple of minutes later. To complete Slough's misery, Paul Hardyman was sent off three minutes from time.

Sunday's villain Abbott had been relegated to the subs bench in favour of the hero at Southport, Lloyd Owusu, while Tony Nolan stepped in for the injured Terry Angus. However, Owusu's inclusion seemed to be the excuse for some bland kick-and-rush tactics which failed to reap any rewards all night, with Welling choosing the similar route to exploit the pace of their front two, Sam Appiah and Mark Watson.

The first half was set to end scoreless until Welling won a Corner in the 43rd minute and Copley rose unchallenged to head home Tony Dolby's kick.

Welling, one of the Conference's less fashionable clubs, now had the lead they sought and would call upon the survival instincts that have served them so well in 11 seasons at this level to preserve it. Kevin Hales put as many bodies behind the ball as possible after the break, and challenged Slough to find a way through. And for the first 25 minutes of the second half it worked, as Slough's unimaginative play continued and Brian McDermott's call from the bench - 'Pass the ball, we've got to pass it' - fell on deaf ears.

Eventually Abbott was summoned to redeem himself for Sunday's blemish, and the three-man frontline - now under pressure of a different kind with news that Mark West should be playing some part in a game this month - began to make inroads.

Gary Brazil's header from Abbott's 71st minute cross was tipped over the bar, but five minutes later Slough did find the net as Garry Smart's free-kick was cleared to Danny Bailey.

An awkward bounce meant that Bailey couldn't try a shot and instead scooped the ball over the onrushing defence to where Abbott had somehow managed to stay onside. Two touches later, Slough were level.

But almost immediately the momentum was taken out of the Rebels' comeback, and it was Hanlon, one of the youngsters who featured in Channel 4's documentary on life in Chelsea's youth side, who dealt the killer blow. Hanlon was unmarked on the edge of the box as the ball deflected kindly for him from Watson's cross, and the moment he flicked the ball up to hit it on the volley, it was inevitable that the ball would end up in the back of the net.

Slough rallied bravely as Danny Bolt rattled the Welling crossbar from 20 yards, but their disappointment was complete when Hardyman, barely 20 minutes into his comeback from injury, was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The result means that Slough have won just two of their last 15 home matches in the Conference in a run dating back to October. It's a statistic that Brian McDermott will be sick of by now, but more performances like this won't see it go away.




The Vanarama National League South Vanarama Motorama

Tuesday, 14th August

vs Weston-super-Mare

Won 2-1 (Home)

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Pos Name Goals
1 Ben Harris 1
2 Lee Togwell 1
3 Chris Flood 1
4 Perry Coles 1
5 Warren Harris 1
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