In The Conference Next Year? It can be done.....But!

Slough Town

Slough Town

Stanley (58), Thompson (66), Dennis (82)
Dulwich Hamlet

Dulwich Hamlet

Collins (2-1, 90)
League Attendance: 315 Bobby Dell
A superbly crafted goal instigated by a 50 yard run from Tony Dennis is a good indication why Slough have remained at the top of the Vauxhall Opel League for three games - and look seriously towards Conference football next season.

With ten goals in four league games, six of those at home, the Rebels remained four points clear at the top after an explosive last half hour which saw five goals. Dennis picked the ball up on the edge of his own penalty area and used his lightening turn of pace to jink past three Dulwich players and find Neal Stanley in space on the left flank. Stanley, who made several penetrating runs which mesmerised the opponents throughout the game, whipped in an early ball to tease Dulwich 'keeper Nicky Sullivan and Steve Thompson was on hand to stab home Slough's second of the afternoon.

It's this kind of precision that gives Slough the ominous tag of "the best footballing side in the league", something manager Alan Davies will never dispute, but will treat with reservation - the two Dulwich goals could easily have been avoided.

Slough were two goals up twice, during a thoroughly entertaining last half hour for the crowd, but let Dulwich come back into a game that the visitors could have won 4-3 inside the last 5 minutes of time- and Davies knew it.

"We're looking to be a bit more professional in that situation- you shouldn't be happy with the win. We lacked a little bit of concentration, but that's down to us. It's up to me to make sure that we get it right" he insisted. And of the Dennis goal, he said "Tony wants to be doing that sort of thing all the time. He made a tremendous run and then laid the ball to Neal Stanley who made a good knock into the box- it was a very good goal. But the score line really didn't reflect the way we played. In the first half we had a few chances where, if we'd been a little bit more positive we could have scored.

Having said that, they were all very well taken goals and the time to worry is when you're not making chances" said Davies. Slough took control of the game from the opening whistle with plenty of overlapping from the full backs with Chalkie White adding to the threatening combination of Stanley and Adams on the left. And with Knight and Bateman playing a commanding role in the heart of the defence, Bobby Dell tireless and John Watt applying the midfield distribution, the team certainly looked like championship material on Saturday.

The best of the half came from a sweeping four man Slough move when Watt laid to Stanley who chested down for Thompson to send Dennis away, but his shot was well saved by the advancing 'keeper. Dulwich's Paul Gbogidi, fighting to contain the Rebels in the middle of the park, was finally overwhelmed. His frustration earned him a booking straight after the interval for dissent.

Firing on all cylinders, Slough stepped up the pace to earn a deserved breakthrough when Thompson weaved through three Dulwich players to lay back for Neal Stanley to thump home with no mercy from 10 yards in the 58th minute.

Thompson himself made it two just eight minutes later, following the powerful run by Dennis before John Collins pulled one back for Dulwich as the game erupted. Adams went close with a header and then almost added a third in the 82nd minute as his shot was parried by the 'keeper....but Tony Dennis was on hand to tap home.

But as Slough seemed to have it wrapped up, Dulwich then worked on their lack of concentration when Gillings headed inches over the bar when he should have scored and Tony Knight made a clumsy challenge on Shane Ward in the box. However, the ref ignored the pleas for a penalty.

John Collins did finally expose the momentary lapse with an injury time header to make it 3-2, although Slough were clearly the better team. After finishing third in the VOL for two successive years, Conference football stares Slough in the face and it can be done...but the Rebels have to ensure that it's third time lucky.

Dulwich Hamlet Lineup


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