GOOD AS GOLD

| League
Slough Town
Gold (88)
1 - 0
Barking
Jeff Bateman
A stunning 88th minute strike from substitute Robert Gold gave Slough a winning start to their Vauxhall-Opel League Premier Division campaign at Wexham Park Stadium on Saturday.

Gold's powerful header, gave him his first goal for the team and could not have come at a better time, to clinch-the points for Slough in this fiercely contested match against Barking.

And thank goodness he did, for it would have been a travesty had Barking's bruisers emerged with a share of spoils from a game dominated by the Rebels and finished in unsavoury fashion when Barking player/manager George Borg was sent off for throwing a bench at Colin Landeg as tempers boiled over in the closing minutes.

The visitors' frustration at conceding the late goal was obviously the cause for turning a late goalmouth scramble into a despicable display of bad sportsmanship.

Barking's threatening behaviour to Landeg and the officials was inexcusable and they were lucky to have only one player sent-off. Fortunately, the incident came in the dying minutes and failed to detract too much from a contest in which Slough played almost all the football while Barking played a spoiling game totally devoid of subtlety.

Manager Alan Davies was pleased with his side's performance and to start the season on a winning note, but was still not totally satisfied. "We played some good football and were far the better side in the first half, but for all the pressure, it took 85 minutes before we had our first real shot on goal."

"I'm a little disappointed that we didn't make more of our superiority in the last third, but overall I'm quite pleased with the way we played," explained Davies. "We lost our way a little midway through the second half, but although we were under pressure, we were never threatened," he added.

Indeed, the Rebels superiority was born out by the fact that Barking could muster only two off-target attempts on goal to Slough's 21 attempts on goal.

The Rebels were superior in all departments although Neal Stanley and Steve Thompson found things a little tough going up front. Most impressive for the Rebels was the back four, despite recent signing Ray Duffy being unavailable. Assistant manager Trevor How was a more than capable replacement for Duffy at right-back and Jeff Bateman was particularly outstanding in the centre.

The Rebels took the initiative from the start and could have taken the lead after 13 minutes when Jimmy Jacobs latched onto Wayne Wanklyn's delicately chipped through ball to cross deep for Tony Dennis to blast the ball inches over the bar from 15 yards.

Jacobs contribution ended only a minute later when he twisted his knee and had to be replaced by Colin Landeg in the 18th minute. Four minutes later, Gary Dodd might have opened the Rebels but for a mis-hit shot which bobbled wide of the upright.

Slough were well in command by now moving the ball around to good effect, but failing to create many clear cut chances. Despite dominating for most of the half, the home side had to wait until the 43rd minute for their next genuine scoring chance.

A long ball for Dennis was misjudged by Barking's Steve Moseley. Dennis latched onto the free ball, but keeper Lee Harmsworth was out quickly to block Dennis's shot.

The start of the second half was greeted by a torrential downpour, but Slough coped well with the changing conditions showing great determination as the play became steadily more scrappy.

Harmsworth had to be on his toes to stop a powerful Keith White shot following a free-kick in the 52nd minute.

Two minutes later, central defender Tony Knight went down with a cut over his left eye that required treatment in hospital. Knight was replaced by Gold, with How moving alongside Bateman in the centre.

The setback made little difference to the balance of play although Gold had to make a well-timed clearance from the toes of Barking's Micky Engwell as he raced in to meet Warren May's dangerous cross from the right flank.

As the weather had deteriorated, so did the football, but with the game looking set for a goalless draw, Gold made a surging run to meet Dennis's floated cross from the left and send a powerful header looping over the Barking keeper from 15 yards out to give Slough a late, but deserved lead.

Barking's frustration came to the fore in the last minute as Landeg and keeper Harmsorth became entangled going for a 50/50 ball inside the visitors' six yard box. Barking player/ manager Borg then raced 25 yards to have a go at Landeg, swung a punch and chaos erupted. Borg was sent-off for his totally unnecessary action, with Tony Field cautioned for his continued protests and Warren May lucky to get away with at least a caution for his threatening behaviour towards the innocent Landeg.

Fortunately for all concerned, the final whistle soon followed and Slough were left with a satisfactory three points.

Barking Line up

Harmsworth, Goldstone, Borg, Moseley, Hatter, Coney, May, Brown, Field, Calcutt, Engwell. Subs: Green (not used), Wood (for Calcutt, 86 mins.).

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