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Hendon
Dowie (59)
1 - 4
Slough Town
Dodd (40), Wanklyn (69), Brown (81), Wilson (1-4)
Keith White
Slough manager Alan Davies blew a hefty sigh of relief on Saturday after his side ended a worrying run of results by bouncing back against trouble torn Hendon.

However, the Rebels triumph was not as convincing as the scoreline indicates and it was not until the later stages that Slough really punished Hendon, whose manager Ted Hardy had walked out on the club only days earlier.

Hendon may consider themselves a little unfortunate to lose by three goals as Slough finally and unequivically cracked their hosts with three goals in the last 21 minutes. Until then, the Rebels looked set for their third draw in five outings, allowing Hendon to negate a slender one goal advantage secured by Gary Dodd in the 40th minute.


Nevertheless there were definite signs of encouragement for Davies' men. Last season the Rebels defence was the backbone of the side and it was their impressive record that provided the platform from which they launched themselves into third place.

This season, however, the back four has become decidedly leaky in comparison. That is until Saturday when Jeff Bateman and Tony Knight, who knitted together as the cornerstone of the Rebels rearguard last year, finally got their act together.

"The back four were much better as a unit and Jeff and Tony gave their best performance so far as a pair," said Davies. Unfortunately, the rest of the side were still far below their best.

Davies was quick to acknowledge the fact and said: "Obviously I'm glad of the three points but having said that we had three chances before we scored and didn't take them. When we got in the last third of the field we were not getting quality balls in the box. We only played how we know we can in the last 15 minutes."

Nevertheless, they did manage to carve open the home defence after 15 minutes when Jimmy Brown slipped the ball through for Kenny Wilson. The wingman rounded keeper John Jacobs but went too wide before shooting and allowed Phil Gridelet time to recover his ground and divert the shot over the bar.

Little more of note happened until the 32nd minute when former Slough favourite, Mick Kiely, sustained a badly cut eye in a challenge with Rebels skipper Keith White and had to go to hospital requiring stitches.

Neal Stanley's raking cross to Wilson was knocked back inside a packed area where Dodd arrived late to stab home from close range. Hendon introduced their second substitute, Steve Hurd, for Alan Campbell at the interval but it was Iain Dowie who almost levelled in the 46th minute who hooked a volley over the bar from Erskine Smart's centre.

Nine minutes later, Paul Waites showed that he is back near his best having returned from injury, and could have snatched Slough's second but for the agility of Jacobs. Waites nipped past Mark Furneaux to collect White's long free-kick and flicked goalwards from an acute angle only to see the keeper change direction to save in mid-flight.

Hendon were, steadily mounting in confidence and beginning to get on top of the visitors. Their industriousness brought its reward four minutes later when Dowie's near post diving header brought the perfect finish to a well constructed move.

The goal was just the boost Hendon needed to take the initiative. They started to dominate proceedings but came up against the Rebels' rejuvenated defence.

However, after 69 minutes, Neil Stanley decided to make an appearance after hiding relatively unnoticed for much of the contest. With great determination he chased what appeared to be a lost cause, pulling the ball back from the goal-line with Wayne Wanklyn and Waites queuing up at the near post. Wanklyn got to Stanley's cross first and headed into the gaping net from point blank range.

Slough were back in front and with renewed vigour they set about reducing the visitors to an unorganised rabble.

A clash of heads had left White feeling woozy, clearly suffering some after effects from the previous game's collision and was replaced by Gary Woodcraft in the 79th minute. Then with seven minutes remaining a flash of brilliance from Waites forced a fine save from Jacobs. The striker jinking his way past the bemused Paul Baxter and Alan Campbell before seeing his snap shot deflected for a corner.

A minute later, Hendon were reduced to 10 men when Furneaux was left reeling after another clash of heads. Slough acted swiftly and goal number three arrived courtesy of Brown and Stanley who combined well to tear through the Hendon defence. Their interchange left the left side of the defence in tatters and although Jacobs parried Brown's first shot, the league's top scorer followed up to knock in the rebound.

Then to add insult to injury a quick break from defence set Wilson free on the left flank and the striker finally managed to finish slotting the ball past Jacobs to complete the scoring.

Hendon Line up

Jacobs, Smart, Baxter, Furneaux, Campbell, Gridelet, Kiely, Benning, Dowie, Hardy, Keen. Subs: Henry (for Kiely 34mins.), Hurd (for Campbell 45mins.)

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