Ramshackle Rebels end up with the aces

Slough Town

Slough Town

How (10), Sissons (88)
Telford Utd

Telford Utd

League Attendance: 921 Tony Knight
Slough Town boss Alan Davies overcame a personal nightmare to field the side which produced a gritty 2-0 Vauxhall Conference victory over Telford United at Wexham Park on Saturday.

"At 4 o'clock on Friday evening I didn't even have a side to put out," admitted a relieved Davies after the game. "Six regular first team players were unavailable and Trevor How was carrying the blackest toe I have ever seen. I arrived at the club at 9.15 a.m. to try to complete the singing of Gary Donnellan from Enfield and still did not know until two hours later that he would be able to play. Under the emergency registration formula I was able to sign him up on the spot for five games and together with the return of Phil Stacey that allowed me to pick some sort of side.But even some of those I could choose lacked the right sort of match preparation."

As it turned out Davies gambled his blind hand with all the skill of a Dodge City card shark. He laid a full house, kings on aces, thanks to a first rate defensive performance from Tony Knight, the recalled Mark Mallinson and keeper Trevor Bunting.

His aces were the injured How, who drove home a free kick from 20 yards in the 10th minute and a quicksilver Jon Sissons who headed home at the far post in the 88th after twice threatening in the closing stages.

The Rebels, in truth, never looked like losing this game, creating the better chances against a defence which had conceded just 15 goals in the league this season. The Bucks, on the other hand, displayed a midfield vacuum and relied on getting their big centrebacks, Chris Brindley and Paul Dyson, forward to receive crosses from the full backs.

Their defence was put under scrutiny from the start and were immediately found wanting. A fourth minute cross by Tommy Langley from the left saw Steve Nelson and goalie Seamus McDonagh in a muddle, but Sissons was unable to connect with the free ball in front of an open goal.

How punished a foul by Paul Grainger six minutes later by leaving McDonagh static when driving low into the corner for the first goal. The Rebels almost made it two when Tony Knight volleyed a cross stylishly against the crossbar in the 16th minute and Neal Stanley rose above all corners to head marginally over from the rebound.

One of the most experienced sides in the Conference, Telford could be relied upon to step up their game. Grainger went close from a free kick in the 22nd minute and Vernon Pratt killed the best chance to come their way when Ian Crawley advanced menacingly on the far post.
Bunting, who hardly had a direct shot to contend with all afternoon, sped off his line twice to snuff out when first Steve Buxton and then Crawley were put through into goalscoring positions late in the first half.

After the break the Rebels backline continued in control, though the Bucks contributed to their own fate with some weak finishing. A punched clearance by Bunting fell at the feet of Brindley in the 50th minute but the lanky back was slow to execute his shot and the chance was gone.
Donnellan, who is considering a long-term engagement with Slough after a wretched £25,000 fiasco since joining the Middlesex side from Yeovil, showed the quality of his crossing when sending over a free kick from which Stanley grazed the far upright eight minutes later.
Bucks' manager Gerry Daley swapped Buxton for Ian Benbow in the search for inspiration and it almost came off. The Hereford United loanee was put clear in the 75th but hooked wide of the mark and Brindley followed with a glancing header which Crawley just failed to steer into the net.

Davies replied by introducing crowd favourite Barry Rake for Langley, a move repaid by good work on the right which finally produced the second goal. Sissons, who looked to have scored with a cheeky lob a few moments earlier, appeared on the end of a neat cross from the by-line after Stanley had turned his man from Rake's throw-in.

The Rebels have now only conceded defeat once in the last seven games and look increasingly more at home in the Conference.

Telford Utd Lineup

McDonagh, McGinty, Nelson, Dyson, Brindley, Myers, Humphries, Grainger, Crawley, Buxton, Brown. Subs: Benbow (for Buxton), Davidson.


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