What A Relief

Slough Town

Slough Town

M. Scott (10), Sayer (48, 75)


League Attendance: 675 Andy Sayer
It just could be that Andy Sayer re-lit the fuse of Slough Town's faltering season after 48 minutes of Saturday's contest with Runcorn.

Sayer's 'goal'den moment — his first since a two goal performance at Woking back, unbelievably, in January — could mean so many things for Town; one is certain. Les Briley has his first Conference victory since succeeding John Docherty in October.

It was perhaps inevitable that Sayer, having gone so long goalless would claim another before the game's end, a just reward for a magnificent personal performance as Slough at last regained their early season wit, style and fortune too.

Fortune because it is unlikely that Runcorn's usually potent striker Karl Thomas will squander as many opportunities in a single fixture again. Four excellent chances were scorned and though Trevor Bunting should take much credit for that, from a Runcorn viewpoint Thomas takes a sizeable portion of blame.

Thomas' day, completed when Bunting sold him consecutive dummies near the end, was in stark contrast to that of Sayer. This was a day when the hugely popular little man could do no wrong.

Three minutes into the second half and with Slough ahead thanks to Morrys Scott's 13th goal of the season, Mark Fiore burst free on the
left, galloped past the desperate dive of Bates and delivered a low, pacy, near post cross for the incoming Sayer. It may have been nearly a year since his last but Sayer had no doubts now and side footed he swept the ball past a helpless Arthur Williams.

Manager Les Briley, well aware of the potential significance of the score, ran 50 yards to congratulate Sayer who had clearly not forgotten the art of celebration. So keen was he to experience it all over again that he began and ended the move which put the game beyond Runcorn with just 15 minutes left.

Sayer's floated cross to the edge of the box picked out Stanley and his header down fell perfectly on the bounce for Morrys Scott. Without hesitation the lanky Scott swivelled to crash in a low shot and though Evans, tumbling parried, he couldn't get up and as he groped Sayer pounced and Slough were home.

It was a shame that foul conditions, a bitterly cold, gusting wind deterred many from making the journey. Both sides coped admirably given the problems and Slough with Hazel and Dowson at the heart of the defence played with a confidence that recent results didn't really merit.

Still Runcorn have yet to win an away fixture (in the Conference) this season, so it was probably the perfect time to end an unconvincing eight game winless sequence.

Slough had started rather slower than their Cheshire rivals and were thankful that Thomas missed his kick in front of Bunting when Connor curled the ball into his path after just four minutes.

Sayer had an early penalty appeal waved away before Connor's long range volley dipped a yard over Bunting's crossbar.

On ten minutes however came the game's initial turning point. Sayer held off Brabin —a front row prop of a centre back — to meet an inviting left wing cross and when Williams blocked, Morrys Scott followed up. Runcorn's defence content to stand and watch events unfold.

Sayer — possibly wondering if the fates were against him once more — had an effort ruled out as Morrys Scott was adjudged to have fouled Williams while Ian Hazel was wide with a free header from Hancock's corner.

Fiore's cross taken by the wind nearly deceived Williams and when Hazel flicked on Hancock's immense throw, Sayer's bicycle kick was off target.

Enter Karl Thomas again as Runcorn burst free from their chains and Brabin, who despite his bulk possesses genuine skill, provided the most precise of passes for his galloping striker. It was Thomas versus Bunting and the former lifted the ball over the latter and the crossbar too.

Sayer glanced a post and Brabin thrashed a shot just wide as the side's swapped chances towards the end of the half.

Barely a minute of the second half had gone when Thomas was through again, Hazel was for once beaten —and should be glad his attempt to wrestle Thomas down was unsuccessful. His confidence obviously dented by the earlier spurned chances, Thomas was now unsure, he tried to take it round Bunting but was defeated as the Slough man stretched to gather.

Sayer and Fiore at times combining beautifully repeatedly stretched Runcorn's unhappy rearguard and immediately after his first Sayer almost got another. A diving header from Fiore's cross flashing past Williams' post ending a move begun by Briley's astute interception and continued by Steve Scott and Neal Stanley.

As Slough relaxed Thomas had a fourth opportunity and this time Bunting came to meet him and stood up. Thomas felt forced to shoot and Bunting, of course, was equal to it.

As Slough took control again Morrys Scott tried an audacious but off target chip as Williams fluffed a clearance straight to him.

The last five minutes were certainly Bunting's. An impressive full length save from McKenna for openers before he decided to audition for an outfield position. Ball at his feet and Thomas approaching seeking revenge, he sent the Runcorn man first this way, then that, carried the ball a few yards further and then topped the clearance kick. Fortunately the contact carried enough pace to prove too difficult for McKenna to control and the rebound caught poor Thomas offside.

It summed up his afternoon — but anyway this was Sayer's day — and Briley et all will be grateful for that.

Runcorn Lineup


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