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The Vanarama National League South

Stanley Keeps Slough Hopes Of Third

| League
Slough Town
Stanley (58)
1 - 0
Steve Thompson
A superbly worked move finished off by Neal Stanley was enough to keep Slough in with the chance of finishing the season as the third best team in the Premier Division of the Vauxhall-Opel League. Stanley's 58th minute strike gave the Rebels victory by the narrowest of margins in their penultimate match against lowly Croydon.

Despite winning by only one goal, it was a generally good display from the home side. Manager Alan Davies was pleased with the way his side performed, but felt that the visitors had escaped lightly.

"I thought we played some good football - especially in the first half," he said. "But having said that, we should have wrapped it up four, five or six goals to nil. We let them off the hook in the last third of the field, and having not taken our chances, Croydon could well have snatched an equaliser," he added.

Certainly, Slough were by far the better of the two sides as they confidently dominated proceedings for most of the contest. Unfortunately, although the early season confidence appeared to be there, the score at will nature of the team's early games was not.

While Croydon were restricted to a 12 shots on goal during the match, Slough contrived to fail with all but one of their 27. The Rebels stamped their authority on the game early on as Tony Dennis forced Croydon keeper Julian Gray into a save from a 20 yard snapshot after only three minutes, and Steve Thompson did likewise with a near post attempt following his surging run through six defenders in the following minute.

With only a matter of minutes gone, the visitors were well aware that they needed to assert themselves more effectively. However, their methods merely resulted in Russell Harmsworth going into the referee's book for dissent and Paul Gbogidi for a very late tackle on Wayne Wanklyn.

Slough's attacking play was always the more threatening, but by its nature, it left them susceptible to Croydon's counter-attacks. One such break caught the Rebels stretched at the back and Trevor Bunting had to get down sharply to save from Ian Paterson at the foot of the upright.

Any hopes that Slough might be weakened at the back by the absence of injured Tony Knight were soon dismissed. Gary Dodd proved a handsome deputy, showing great composure in potentially dangerous situations, while the ever reliable Jeff Bateman was a tower of strength in the air. Slough had two more good chances to break the deadlock during the first period, but Dennis's delightful half-volley drifted inches wide of the top corner and Jimmy Brown volleyed straight at Gray when put in the clear by a defensive mix-up.

But Croydon, had no such luck in the 58th minute. Thompson collected the ball in midfield and sent it wide to Kenny Wilson. The winger cut inside and returned the compliment to Thompson who then broke Gbogidi's challenge on the edge of the area and then flew past Johnny Double. His eventual shot was blocked by Gray at the near post, but quick thinking Thompson stabbed the ball across to Stanley who forced it home on the packed goalline.

Once in front, Slough started to tear Croydon apart. But for all their enterprising play they could not increase their lead and had to settle for a one goal victory.

Croydon Line up

Gray, Lambert, Bailey, Daly, Double, Harmsworth, Paterson, Jackson, Btackman, Gtbogidi, Blythe. Subs: Porter (for Jackson, 59 mins.), Giltam (for Double, 68 mins.).

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