They absorbed all the Berkshire side could throw at them and then snatched all three points with a superbly-taken Colin Newstead goal, ten minutes from the end. But they had lived dangerously and only some great defensive work, in which ’keeper Dai Mason was again outstanding, kept them in the game as the powerful, hard-hitting visitors moved in for what they hoped would be the kill.
Corner after corner was beaten away, especially in the first half when Slough had the advantage of the slope, and they thoroughly deserved their vital bit of luck when skipper Reardon hooked a first half penalty-kick wide.
It came as Mason failed to hold a difficult ball in the eleventh minute, and he grabbed inside-left Brown’s leg as he was making for the open goal. The left-winger sent Mason the wrong way but hooked the shot inches wide in his attempt to make sure.
Just previously seventeen year old centre-forward Lane headed against the angle of the bar, though Steve Cosham had been knocked off his shot by left-back O’Sullivan as he prepared to hammer in a Bailey through-ball in the second minute.
Tricky left-winger Anthony was Slough’s potential match-winner and Mason had to show all his remarkable agility to punch over a ball that was sneaking under the bar, early in the second half.
At the other end Newstead was the terror of the Slough defence. With Bailey doing some invaluable work in space, and tackling back when the occasion demanded with gusto, a goal was always on for the Hornets and Newstead nearly fashioned one when he slipped the ball to Cosham, who put Bailey away on the left. As Bailey crossed he slipped through the defence, robbed the ’keeper, and narrowly failed to control the ball before it ran dead.
Cosham wasted a clear goal chance when he charged at the defence but failed to see Bailey in space in a two versus one situation and, as they began to lose heart, Slough resorted to “up and over” tactics to try to force the home defence into error. But, with skipper Bobby Adam sweeping up in great form, the attacks were usually beaten off. And when they did threaten to break through Mason was always ready to race off his line to make a last-ditch save. He had to do so when Adam made his only bad error of judgment to present Lane with what, to a more experienced player, would have been a gift goal.
But Horsham could have taken the lead when Barry Steer’s close-range header, from Peter Medhurst’s free-kick, was kicked off the line and Gary Cross was only just wide from the second corner. Almost immediately, though, Newstead scored what proved to be the winner to the biggest shout heard at Queen Street for many a day.
With Bailey making a blind side run that attracted the attention of two defenders, Cosham was stopped as he tried to bustle his way through but the ball went to Cross before being hammered into the roof of the net on the far post by the jubilant Newstead. Steer should then have made certain when he misjudged an unhindered header a few yards out from Medhurst’s measured free- kick, and the ball went high over the ‘bar.
Horsham Line up
Dai Mason, Glyn Garfield, Andy Tasker, Bobby Adam, Gary Cross, Steve Ibbitson, Peter Medhurst, Colin Newstead, Steve Cosham, Malcolm Bailey, Barry Steer. Subs: Graham Langford