Borough buried by Brown's hat-trick

Slough Town

Slough Town

Brown (1-1, 57, 3-1)
Harrow Borough

Harrow Borough

Johnson (12 pen)
League Jimmy Brown
Goal machine Jimmy Brown provided the perfect pick-me-up for Slough's ailing fortunes, bagging all three goals to lift them back to second place in the Vauxhall-Opel League. Less than a week after the Rebels' FA Cup exit at Bath Brown brought Saturday's dour Premier Division encounter to life with his sixth hat-trick since the start of last season.

Slough boss Alan Davies knew that victory was imperative to restore his side's confidence as the pace hots up at the top of the table. And after a bruising first 45 minutes which saw an uncompromising Harrow Borough snatch a 12th minute lead, that is just what Brown did.

It was just as well he did with arch rivals Windsor continuing their march up the table with victory over Wokingham and Bishop's Stortford overcoming the challenge of Barking. Davies was understandably relieved and said: "That's what we needed, that's what we got and everyone's happy.

"It was a hard game," he added. "Harrow have not been doing that well but have started to sneak a few results and were going to battle for all they got." That was certainly the case as the visitors came out intent on preventing the Rebels from playing any football.

Davies expected as much from Borough but, not for the first time this season, was disenchanted with the standard of refereeing. "I've told the players on many occasions not to talk back at officials, but today's referee had a lot to be desired. There were a couple of really dirty fouls and the referee did nothing to protect the players."

However, Slough rose above Harrow's intimidatory tactics and although the first period was a complete non-event in footballing terms, the Rebels were well worth their second half salvo. "I thought we played quite well at times,' said Davies. "We hit four good balls into their box during the second half and scored three good goals."

Saturday's contest showed the Rebels inconsistency with vastly differing performances either side of the interval. They appeared rattled by the hustle and bustle of Harrow and sorely missed the services of skipper Keith White serving the second of a two match suspension. Wayne Wanklyn was out with a knee injury and Neal Stanley was surprisingly omitted from the starting line-up with Jimmy Jacobs taking his place in the midfield. Tony Knight was back from suspension alongside Jeff Bateman against his former club but had an unhappy start. He clumsily conceded a penalty baulking Mark Adams as he ran into the area in the 12th minute.

The referee had no option but to point to the penalty spot and Robbie Johnson blasted into the extreme right hand corner.

Once Slough began to settle, they worked some promising moves through the midfield but they continually came to nothing either let down by the final ball or caught by the visitors' efficient offside trap. Stanley's relegation to the substitutes' bench appeared all the more strange with his ingenuity and fleet of foot conspicuous by its absence.

With Harrow conceding so many free-kicks, Slough had plenty of set pieces to work with, but with White still suspended, Des McMahon and Gary Woodcraft proved less than able deputies. Woodcraft's dead ball kicks were particularly wayward often failing to reach the penalty area at all. Harrow's Tim Houghton and Trevor How were fortunate to get away with some desperate fouls from behind during the early stages but the Rebels battled on.

Paul Waites looked as dangerous as ever when he received the ball at his feet and in the 24th minute made a fine turn and sent a delightful cross curling away from keeper Stuart Mackenzie who did exceptionally well to pluck it out of the air. The only time Slough managed to breach the defence was in the 34th minute when a volleyed clearance from Bateman set Waites in hot pursuit. The speedy striker accelerated away from How and Houghton only to be hauled to the deck as he approached the edge of the area and Houghton's name finally went into the referee's book.

How followed his team mate into the book for a push on Brown — the referee realising he had already spoken to the defender on more than one occasion. The Rebels continued to dominate but never looked like breaking through with appalling service to the forwards and the interval came with Slough still trailing.

However, the Rebels started the second period in dynamic fashion with Harrow surviving a calamitous goalmouth scramble before Woodcraft beat fullback Ray Duffy to send a fine near post cross for Brown to equalise with a header emphatically punched inside the upright from close range.

Then in the 57th minute, a well weighted ball from Woodcraft released Waites on the left. The tricky Waites wrong footed Duffy and crossed to the near post. Brown's presence pressured MacKenzie into dropping the ball but the keeper recovered just in time to snatch it off the toes of the advancing Gary Dodd.

Mackenzie had no such luck only seconds later when Waites latched onto a backpass, nipping in to steal it from the keeper's grasp. He was forced wide in doing so but delivered an immaculate cross over the solitary defender for Brown to head the Rebels in front.

Slough were firmly in the driving seat by now but Harrow almost grabbed an equaliser when Dennis Powell blocked a Steve Emmanuel volley at the post. Dodd was booked for a foul on Colin Payne in the 72nd minute and can consider himself a little hard done by considering the number of unpunished Harrow indiscretions.

But Slough had the last laugh putting an end to Harrow's challenge thanks to some splendid work from Kenny Wilson on the left touchline with his well measured cross met by the unmarked Brown who guided his third near post header across the keeper to nestle in the far corner.

Harrow Borough Lineup

Mackenzie, Duffy, Johnson, How, Houghton, Scott, Emmanuel, Holmes, Ripley, Morris, Adams, Subs: Payne (for Houghton 58 mins), Tate (for Ripley 84mins).


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