Battling Rebels Show Their Mental Strength

Grays Athletic

Grays Athletic

Cherry (31)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Johnson (17, pen)
League Attendance: 507 Trevor How
Battered and bruised, Slough limped away from the Recreation Ground with their unbeaten record intact on Saturday. Grays' up-and-at 'em style of football made for an unattractive afternoon's soccer as the Rebels dealt with a constant stream of high balls and bone-crunching tackles.

To their credit Slough didn't buckle under the pressure as they would have done in the past and with a bit more penetration up-front they could have escaped with three points rather than one. Rebels manager Alan Davies admitted afterwards that he was disappointed not to come away with maximum points after originally hoping for a draw.

He said: "Before the start of the game I would have been happy not to have lost the match, but we had enough chances to sneak a victory and both myself and the players feel we should have won." Davies had some harsh words to say about Grays' robust approach to the match and was glad to come away with no serious injuries.

"They are a difficult side to play because you are always wary about an elbow or being pulled back when someone gets clear — their motto is 'thou shall not pass'." Star man Steve Thompson bore the brunt of the battering after being pushed up front to accompany Neal Stanley following Tommy Langley's withdrawl with a cracked wrist.

Winger Mark Adams continued his excellent start to the season by giving schoolboy John Deadman a torrid time down the left-wing. After seven minutes he forced Grays 'keeper Barrie Delf into an excellent save and ten minutes later he skipped through the defence before being brought crashing to the ground by Steve Hatter.

Robbie Johnson continued the golden start to his Rebels career by crashing home his fourth penalty in five matches to push himself in among the leading goalscorers in the Vauxhall League. Slough piled on the pressure after this confidence booster and Thompson squandered a good chance in the 19th minute.

Gary Dodd's quick free-kick caught the Grays defenders napping and Thompson's lob seemed certain to squeeze in the corner of the net until it took an unfortunate bobble and looped wide, despite the despairing efforts of Stanley at the far post.

Stanley and Brian Connor both went close to increasing the lead, but the Rebels were rocked in the 31st minute when Grays drew level. A giant drop-kick from Delf was not properly cleared by Jeff Bateman and the unmarked Richard Cherry pounced to volley Crown's cross past the stranded Trevor Bunting.

The second-half turned into a war of attrition with Grays conceding a succession of free-kicks and Slough unable to break through a resilient defence. The best chance of the half fell to Stanley after only a few seconds, but he was unable to react quickly enough to Tim Deardon's loose backpass and Delf was able to gather the loose ball in time.

Grays Athletic Lineup

Delf, Deadman, Crumpton, Timson, Hatter, Leslie, Sammons, Sheringham, Cherry, Crown, Deardon. Subs: Marston (for Leslie), Shea.


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