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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 1

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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 1 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Useless Rebels get what they deserve

| League
Att: 659
Slough Town
Anderson (47)
1 - 3
Cheltenham Town
Smith (9, 52)
Trevor Bunting
Even a Zen Buddhist philosopher would be hard pushed to find positive points in Slough's 3-1 humiliation by Cheltenham at Wexham Park. An embarrassing Rebels performance was met with the sound of silence from the terraces, and disgusted fans who tried to escape early then found themselves locked in against their will by sleepy officials. "It is the only way they are going to get anyone here on Saturday," was one wag's cynical response.

Slough manager Alan Davies will no doubt have done some soul-searching to account for such a bad display, all the more mystifying for coming hot on the heels of a welcome win at Welling four days earlier. Davies has already identified his side's recent failures at both ends of the pitch. This time they were rotten in the middle as well. The only Rebel to come out of the game with his street cred intact was keeper Trevor Bunting who, despite heavy strapping to protect an injured thigh, fought brilliantly to keep the deficit respectable.

West country boys Cheltenham, on the other hand, went some way to allaying their deepening relegation fears, arriving in the east in search of more rich pickings. With an unbeaten record against the Rebels in the Conference, the Robins forced a furious pace taking a first half lead in the ninth minute. Jimmy Smith appeared in space, perhaps offside, to head home casually after Stuart Hemsley's weak clearance was knocked back in by Darren Perrett.

And more dodgy defence put Bunting under pressure from Perret, Steve Brooks and Jimmy Wring. But big defender Darren Anderson headed the Rebels back into the game two minutes after the break, picking his spot inside the near post with a simple header from Steve Whitby's precise cross.

Livewire Smith then had the Robins back in front in the 52nd, Paul Bloomfield sharply intercepting Bunting's one mistake — an ill-judged throw out to Alan Pluckrose — and sending it back in for the midfielder to make up for missing a dangerous cross moments earlier.

The winner came in the 82nd when Perrett finally got in on the goal-scoring act after threatening throughout, firing home from 12 yards when sent away with a crossfield pass which caught the slack Slough defence cold again.

Slough looked shaky all night, their attack lacking imagination against a determined defence and the back four in a continual state of panic. The Robins by contrast looked dangerous whenever they went forward and only some quick-thinking by the overworked Bunting prevented a complete rout. The boiler room trio of Wring, Smith and Perrett all had further chances which were countered by a virtuoso performance by the often criticised keeper.

Cheltenham Town Line up

Fry, Howells, Willetts, Brogan, Vircays, Bloomfield, Brooks, Smith, Perrett, Wring, Teggart. Subs: Tucker, Warren.

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