Slick Slough win thriller

Slough Town

Slough Town

Young (20, 40), Russell (75)
Sutton United

Sutton United

Rogers (35), Raines (81)
League Dave Russell
THE only thing which spoilt this superb Slough Town performance at Wexham Park on Tuesday evening was the news that their main rivals for the title, Enfield, had also won.

This means the Rebels will almost certainly have to face Sutton United in the return match on Thursday requiring a victory if they are to bring the Berger Isthmian League Premier Division championship back to Wexham Park for the first time ever.

It would have been fitting if the Rebels could have clinched the championship before another 1,000 plus crowd who witnessed almost certainly the finest match seen at Wexham Park for many seasons. But Enfield's 2-0 win at Carshalton Athletic ruled out any championship celebrations. Nevertheless, Slough can feel proud of their performance in a pulsating match which had the Rebels' supporters on tenterhooks until the final whistle.

It was a match that had everything and would surely have graced any top Football League ground. There was some superb football from both sides and one of the best goals scored at Wexham Park this season. For Slough it was vital that they win this match and it was also Sutton United's, the FA Trophy finalists, last chance to maintain their remote interest in the championship race.

The game started at a cracking pace and within the opening minutes we were given an indication of what was to follow as both sides went close and produced some delightful football. It was in the 20th minute that the match really burst into life when the Rebels scored the goal they so badly wanted. A corner from Barry Friend on the right was swung into the near post, and once again the giant figure of Eric Young emerged to head the ball home.

Slough were now really on song and made deep inroads into the Sutton defence with some fine football on both flanks. Minutes later Dave Russell went close with a cheeky overhead kick which was headed off the line by Bobby Green.

Sutton suffered a major blow to their hopes when they lost their leading goalscorer Micky Joyce with a bad leg injury after 29 minutes - which must also make him doubtful for their Trophy final at Wembley on May 16. However within six minutes the Surrey side were back in the match when they scored a bizarre equaliser.

Full back Steve Rogers took a free kick from all of 50 yards and the Slough players watched in amazement as Richard Teale, named Sportsman of the Year by the supporters for the second successive season before the match, completely misjudged the kick and saw it sail over his head into the top left-hand corner of the net.

But Slough, showing more commitment and determination than on any other occasion this season, stormed back and within five minutes were back in front.

Once again the damage was inflicted by the head of Young. A corner from Friend, again on the right, found the central defender at the far post and his goalbound header was helped into the net by the chest of Micky Kiely. After the match both players were claiming the goal, but the most important factor was that the Rebels went into the interval ahead.

The second half proved to be just as good as the first 45 minutes with both sides matching each other move for move and play switching rapidly from one end to the other in a barrage of nonstop action. After 55 minutes a fine ball from Kiely sent Keith White through. He slipped the ball under the body of goalkeeper Dave Collyer, but just inches from the line Rogers hacked it clear.

Another goal-line clearance, this time from Tony Raines, then foiled Kiely as he latched on to a poor back pass and pushed the ball past Collyer. And then with 15 minutes remaining, Russell, a revelation in recent matches, scored the all-important third goal - and what a goal it was. He picked up the ball inside the Sutton half and when nothing seemed on suddenly let fly with a superb left-foot shot from 25 yards which dipped and swirled past Collyer into the net.

But that was not the end of the excitement. A minute later John Beyer, who performed superbly in the heart of the defence, limped off to be replaced by Micky O'Sullivan. And with five minutes remaining Sutton suddenly got back into the match when they scored again. A free kick from Green caused a moment's hesitation in the Rebels' defence. The ball was knocked back across the face of the goal, Mark Golley headed against the crossbar and Tony Raines knocked the rebound into an empty net.

Immediately the Rebels broke at the other end and after fine work by Kiely on the left the ball fell to Bishop two yards out and in front of an open goal. But somehow he blasted his shot against the crossbar and the ball rebounded back into play.

That proved to be the final action of a memorable match and every Slough player was a hero in a superb performance - which has not been bettered this season and was the perfect way to end the season at Wexham Park.

Sutton United Lineup


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