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The Vanarama National League South
2nd
33pts

Thommo's Late Consolation Not Enough For A Point

| League
Att: 958
Telford Utd
Worrall (13), Benbow (29)
2 - 1
Slough Town
Thompson (85)
Trevor Bunting
It was all over before a ball had been kicked. Slough were safe in the GM Vauxhall Conference after Sutton United had been thrashed 5-2 at Kettering in midweek.
A day that could have been of vital importance had Sutton won, turned into an anti-climax and with Telford staying sixth regardless of the result, neither side had much to play for. Slough had completed their first ever Vauxhall Conference season by achieving what they set out to do — stay there.

Recent fortunes have seen clubs winning the Vauxhall League and Beazer Homes Leagues go up and straight back down again. Wycombe did it, Aylesbury did it and so did Farnborough and for the Rebels to survive it has been a marvellous achievement all round, involving guts, stamina and skill to remain in the non-league super league.

Perhaps the release from the nerves of the final few weeks was too much for Slough, who didn't perform to their best at Telford. The relief all round was enormous, Slough looking like slipping back into the Vauxhall (Diadora) League after 39 games, having lost five matches on the trot and leading Sutton by just two points.

But unknown at the time, Sutton were to lose all their remaining games, while the Rebels chalked up a terrific win at Boston and then battled back to draw with title hopefuls Aitrincham. If there was anything to play for, it was a bit of pride to finish fourth from bottom as opposed to third from bottom.

The restructuring of the Football League has rumbled through to the Conference and meant that this and next season only two clubs go down as opposed to the normal three. Had Slough finished third from bottom there would have been whispers of luck as opposed to merit in some quarters, something which would be unfair after some convincing performances during the season. But their 19th place in the end was as much down to Bath losing at home than the Rebels' result.

Both sides went through the motions, Telford looking the better while including a couple of youth teamers. But while the Slough performance was a little disappointing, it didn't matter ultimately and the day belonged to the supporters. Yet again the Slough supporters celebrated the final day of the season with a showing of silly hats. The supporters made the journey up North in an array of headgear that was well received by the home club in good spirit and it was all round a credit to the league.

With the terraces alive in colour the teams lined up with Telford's Darren Acton making an appearance from the youth team in goal with fellow
member Stuart Clarke in defence. The Rebels kept the same side as Altrincham apart from Tony Dell who was replaced by Jon Sissons.
Telford took the lead after only 13 minutes, Steve Worrall floating in a cross from the Telford right that drifted over Trevor Bunting's head and in off the far post, Worrall turning and walking back looking almost embarrassed! Up until then the Rebels had carried on where they left off on Tuesday, but the heads went down a little and Telford began to dominate.Paul Dyson was in command at the back and Jon Sissons made little headway against his power.

It was on 29 minutes that the home side went further ahead, Neal Stanley planting a back pass into the path of Ian Benbow, who made little fuss of rounding the stranded Bunting and slotting home. Steve Thompson picked up a ridiculous booking from referee Mr Robinson and Slough seemed to be getting the worst of decisions in the opening half.

It was Bunting yet again who provided the highlight of the half for Slough fans. The goalkeeper has shown outstanding character and commitment throughout the season after losing his place to controversial Australian keeper Sean Lahiff, but bounced back with some out-standing displays.

Again on Saturday he shomehow turned away Pal Granger's shot from close range after the Telford man was left unmarked at the far post.
The second half saw the midfield power of Mark Turkington the Rebels main threat, the player himself firing in a variety of shots 1 from the edge of the box.

Telford were the more convincing going forward and they went close on several occasions, though the game lacked a definite bite.
John Humphreys missed an open goal, Bunting saved well when Worrall was clean through, Mark Mallinson hacked off the line and Bunting pulled off another spectacular save.

Barry Rake produced Slough's best effort when he saw his shot cleared off the line by Chris Brindley. Jon Hunt replaced Sissons and the Rebels slowly made some midfield headway. It was again that man Thompson who scored Slough's late consolation and his 15th of the season.

Slough's top scorer rose at the far post to head solidly home Wilson's cross and round off the Rebels' first ever Conference season, after 85 minutes.

Telford Utd Line up

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