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Sat Feb 24

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The Vanarama National League South

Romans Conquer Revolting Rebels

Slough Town

Slough Town

Randall o.g. (33), How (36)
Bath City

Bath City

Lundon (52), Brown (54), Lowe (77), Underhill (88)
FA Trophy Attendance: 860 Darren Anderson
Slough Town reached the lowest point of their season when they surrendered a two goal lead on their way to 4-2 defeat by Bath City in the first round of the FA Trophy at Wexham Park Stadium on Saturday.

It was painful to watch the Rebels slide from the sublime to the ridiculous as they chalked up their sixth defeat in a row. For manager Alan Davies it was particularly exasperating and he let his players know it when he blew his stack after the game. "What really hurt was the way we lost," fumed a frustrated Davies afterwards. "For the first time this season I had to tell the players that they had been out battled and didn't deserve to win. On occasions like this they have to look inside their own shirts for the answer — there is nothing I can do from the touchline."

After a slow start the Rebels took the lead from a corner in the 33rd minute when pressure on Paul Randall at the near post forced him to head the ball into his own net. The Rebels increased their lead three minutes later when centre backs Trevor How and Darren Anderson stampeded the defence into the box and How cleaned up a messy maul by placing his shot out of Alan Churchward's reach.

But out-of-form striker Tommy Langley was denied an odds-on goal by Churchward four minutes after the restart, a fatal miss which changed the face of the game. Up to this point the Romans had not levelled a shot on the Slough goal, until, that is, Dave Payne sent in a pile driver in the 51st which brought out a tremendous palmed save from Sean Lahiff.

It was the signal for a venomous all-out attack, orchestrated by marine Tiv Lowe, a recent signing by manager George Rooney from Yeovil, and Chester loanee Sean Lundon. A glanced header by Lundon from David Singleton's cross in the 52nd was followed by a quick-thinking Keith Brown equaliser, punishing the Rebels from an intelligent tapped free kick on the edge of the box two minutes later.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men when Singleton and Steve Thompson were ordered off together for violent conduct in the 66th. Further indiscipline among the Rebels saw a free kick from Lowe take a looping deflection off the three-man wall and home in the 77th while Tony Dell was booked in the 80th. Full back Phil Underhill then put the icing on Bath's bun when he outpaced Mark Mallinson from the half way line and cheekily sidefooted past the advanced Lahiff two minutes from time.

The Romans had reached the nadir of their season when defeated by the Rebels in the Conference on December 1, but since then last year's Trophy quarter finalists have started, expanding their empire again.

Ironically, defeat then did the Romans a favour. Could it work in reverse?

Bath City Lineup

Churchward, Underhill, Singleton, Lowe, Crowley, Banks, Lundon, Cousins, Payne, Randall, Brown. Subs: Freegard, Weston.


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