Rebels Slip Up

Slough Town

Slough Town

Bishop's Stortford

Bishop's Stortford

League Trevor Bunting
A lacklustre performance from Slough saw them lose ground on table topping Farnborough, slipping up with a goalless draw against an uncompromising Bishop's Stortford.

The heavy handed style of the visitors' game ensured the Rebels were never allowed to settle and failed to reproduce anything near the incisive football that had given them a stylish midweek victory over Farnborough.

Slough were forced to battle hard for their share of the spoils on Saturday while Farnborough stretched their lead at the top with a 4-0 win against Leytonstone-Ilford. Meanwhile, Bognor took advantage and leapfrogged into second place with a 2-1 triumph at home to Yeovil.

Even so, the Rebels can consider themselves fortunate to have gained anything at all having escaped punishment when Tony Knight handled in his own area.

Manager Alan Davies took some consolation from this let-off and said: "I thought we did just enough to win and had more chances than them. We were fortunate with Knight's handball and their shot against the crossbar but one goal was always going to be enough. If we'd had a bit more luck we would have won. It was two points dropped, but having said that, they are a physical side and over the season they will be difficult to beat for a lot of teams," added Davies.

Another more encouraging point for the Rebels' boss was the showing of new signing Gary Dodd who made his first appearance for the club coming on as substitute for Kenny Wilson. Although he only had 25 minutes to make his mark, the former Kingstonian midfielder showed a sureness of touch and quickness of mind that will prove valuable to the Rebels in the months ahead.

Davies was pleased with Dodd's brief display and explained: "He showed good touch on the ball and was among things in the midfield straight away. Also, with the size of our midfield, the extra height is an obvious benefit."

Indeed, the early stages saw the visitors assert themselves by winning most of the possession in the middle of the park and taking the game to the Rebels.

However, their early superiority failed to create any chances against the Rebels' determined defence, and the physical nature of the contest brought a booking for Colin Hull after clattering into Jimmy Brown from behind after 18 minutes.

The first opening fell to Slough when Des MacMahon picked out Jeff Bateman with a free-kick from the left flank. Bateman flicked the ball on for Neal Stanley at the near post and Stanley nipped behind the static Stortford defence to nod goalwards. Unfortunately for Slough, keeper Martin Taylor was well placed to collect on his line.

Kenny Wilson never really got involved but almost carved an opening for skipper Keith White with a low cross that was turned behind for a corner in the 28th minute. Carl Hoddle, younger brother of England star Glenn, sent a fine 20-yard drive goalwards in the 31st minute but it was straight at Trevor Bunting and the Slough keeper had no difficulty saving.

The first of the few indications of Slough's latent ability came eight minutes later with a well constructed move between Wayne Wanklyn and White culminating in a pass to MacMahon who, with plenty of time and space, sent his shot woefully wide from 25 yards.

However, just three minutes later the Rebels were almost caught cold themselves when Devon Gayle and Carl Zachau cut through the defence with ease. Zachau raced on to the final through ball but Bunting was off his line at speed to save at the striker's feet.

Another good save, this time from Stortford's Taylor, prevented Jimmy Brown from breaking the deadlock with a fierce 25-yard drive in the 52nd minute.

Six minutes later, Bunting went one better making a double save from Andy Weddell, blocking the first close range effort at the near post and saving the second.

However, the keeper had a narrow escape on the hour when Weddell unleashed a splendid shot from 25 yards rebounding to safety from the crossbar with Bunting well beaten.

Brown was booked for elbowing Hull but Stanley almost struck with the opening goal from a well worked free-kick in the 73rd minute. Everyone was waiting for White to blast goalwards or sending a cross to the far post. However, MacMahon chipped the ball to the right as Stanley peeled off the wall and sent his shot inches wide of the far post with the defence in disarray.

Wanklyn shot just over from 30 yards in the following minute and Bateman headed wide after rising well to meet White's corner in the 82nd minute.

However, with only six minutes remaining, Knight could have sacrificed the points when he handled amid a goalmouth scramble. Fortunately for Slough, Stortford's appeals fell on deaf ears.

Bishop's Stortford Lineup

Taylor, Nunn, Goodchild, Hull, Hopkins, Cassidy, Weddell, Noddle, Gayle, Zachau, Smith. Subs: Wood and McCayna (not used).


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