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Sat Jul 1

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Burnham (A)
Sat Jul 1 17:30
The Vanarama National League South


| League
Slough Town
0 - 0
Trevor Bunting
If there is anyone who has wondered what is meant by "the will to win" a trip to Wexham Park Stadium on Tuesday evening would have cleared things up in no uncertain terms. Hendon had it and Slough did not. That is the reason for the Rebels being held to a goalless draw by a Hendon side that was reduced to 10 men for the last 28 minutes, after Phil Gridelet had been sent off for elbowing Jimmy Brown in the face.

Over simplified perhaps, but the sad truth of the matter was that despite the Rebels' advantage in numbers, they never looked like overcoming their spirited visitors. Hendon may not have actually taken all the Vauxhall-Opel League Premier Division points on offer, but they certainly deserved to.

It was not easy to play football on the rock hard surface, but the visitors adapted well and their tremendous workrate hurried the home side into a catalogue of miscued and misdirected passes. Slough did mange to carve a handful of chances, but were too slow of thought and foot to make them pay, and it was only a couple of fine saves from Rebels' keeper Trevor Bunting that earned Slough a share of the spoils.

More frustrating is the fact that victory would have closed the gap on championship favourites Bromley and Yeovil, who both dropped valuable points in their midweek matches. There can be very few people who actually believe Slough can still win the league, but the leaders have been returning some strange results, and if the pressure is maintained, Slough still have an outside chance, albeit a very slim one.

The only satisfaction to be gained for the home side is that the point lifts them above local rivals Windsor, on goal difference. "At the end of the day, I think I must be the only person who believes we can still win the league," said Rebels' boss Alan Davies. "This was the second time in two games that we have played against 10 men. Everyone in football knows that can be more difficult than when you play on equal terms, but having said that, I was very disappointed with the whole game. All credit to Hendon, they shut us down quickly and didn't allow us to play, but you can't expect the ball to come to you, you've got to make it happen. In our last few home games we haven't done ourselves or the supporters justice," added Davies.

Things may have proved very different had Slough made better use of their early superiority. However, the chances went begging and Slough were soon unsettled by the visitors fast and determined style of play.

The first opportunity fell for Neal Stanley inside three minutes. Kenny Wilson made a splendid run along the flank, but his near post cross came to nothing as Stanley headed over. Stanley twisted his knee in a goal-mouth scramble after 17 minutes and was replaced by substitute Des McMahon

Between, Stanley's injury and substitution, Slough contrived to squander their best chances of the contest. Both Jimmy Brown an Wilson beat Hendon's disciplined offside trap, leaving themselves with only keeper Dave Root to beat. Unfortunately for the Rebels, both of them failed to get a shot in on time and the advancing Wroot was able to block their delayed efforts.

By now, the visitors were starting to pose a few problems of their own, with Slough's Jeff Bateman having his work cut out dealing with centre forward Iain Dowie. That man Dowie should have given Hendon the lead on the half hour. He rose imperiously to meet Neil Wolstenholme's far post cross unnoposed, but sent his header wide of the opposite upright.

Three minutes later, Bunting had to make a sharp diving save to deny a well driven effort from Duncan Hardy. The more enterprising Hendon were now in the driving seat, but almost gifted Slough the lead when a bad headed back pass let in Jimmy Brown.

Wroot was out quickly and Brown lobbed goalwards only to see fullback Alan Roughan rush in to volley clear. With the danger clear, Hendon resumed their probing of the Rebels' rearguard and it took another tremendous save from Bunting to maintain the deadlock when a well worked move resulted in a fierce low 15 yard shot from Andy Smith.

The second period continued in the same vein after Gary Dodd had contrived to waste another of Slough's rare opportunities. Smith almost caught Bunting napping in the 60th minute, but the woodwork came to his rescue after the midfielder had made a well timed run to meet a low centre from Dermot Drummy.

The pendulums looked to have swung in the Rebels favour when Gridelet received his marching orders for elbowing Brown in the face two minutes later, but Hendon simply doubled their efforts and negated the home side's sudden advantage.

Slough did start to take the game to their visitors, but the service to the forwards left a lot to be desired as Hendon held firm for a hard earned point.

Hendon Line up

Root, Smart, Roughan, Henry, Campbehel, Gridelet, Drum-my, Smith, Dowie, Hardy, Wohestenholme. Subs: Duke and Guard (not used).

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