Les Prepared To Fight It Out



Holden (74)
Slough Town

Slough Town

FA Trophy Attendance: 931 Robbie Peters
And now all that is left is a 10 week fight to preserve Conference status. Unthinkable not so many weeks ago, the simple fact facing beleaguered Slough Town right now is that they could, could, go down.

If the luck that accompanied them on their travels to Morecambe at the weekend stays with them the for the remainder of this campaign then they might just as well give it up now - but misfortune or otherwise that is not Les Briley's way and the little man is determined to keep fighting and this time it is a fight he intends to win.

The FA Trophy had represented Slough's last chance of salvaging something from a season of disappointment, doubly so considering the achievements of David Kemp last year and the way the club had started the season under John Docherty. Much was expected and Les Briley who took over in October is man enough to hold his hands up and admit to a proportion of the blame.

But Briley made no false promises at the start of his tenure, he was only guilty of pledging total commitment to the footballing aspects of the club and if results have been 'lacking' well that's not for a lack of effort on his part.

The squad has been ravaged by inconsistency with the likes of Paul Manning - a Briley signing - Ian Hazel, Andy Sayer, Mark Quamina and Mark Fiore all flattering to deceive at different stages of a frustrating term, in fact no one player can say he's been a consistent performer under Briley.

The greatest sympathy therefore has to go to the supporters who have seen this transformation for the worse in recent months and yet stuck with it, deceived by the promise - on at least two separate occasions - of money being made available to strengthen the squad. Promises not made by Briley but made by those who own and control the club, the string pullers at Wexham Park, who when the club needed them most, have in reality failed to deliver.

They could of course argue that a thinner squad than the present one had been good enough to get Slough to the top of the Conference, but titles are not won in October , the season represents a marathon and not a sprint.

So on Saturday Slough return to league duty, no distractions now just cold, harsh facts, Slough must start to win games or the Diadora league will become more than a horrible, distant nightmare.

At Morecambe Slough did more than enough to win the game, in fact for much of the game they were dominant, Andy Sayer had enough chances to earn Town a comfortable passage through to the next round, but one effort struck the bar and he squandered the others. Typically when Morecambe had their best opportunity late on in proceedings, they took it and with it Slough's hopes of end of season consolation.

The game had begun well for Slough, spirits lifted by the return to to first team action of fullback Steve Whitby - out for nearly a year with back trouble - and chests puffed out after Briley's "words of encouragement" following the demolition at Merthyr.

Petters and Sayer caused early problems for the Northern Premier side and when Fiore added his skills to the early assault Manning looked certain to score from his cross, the shot however was tame and easily dealt with by Thornley in the home goal.

Briley's miskick almost let in Grimshaw - there had to be a Grimshaw somewhere - but Bunting was untroubled by the resulting effort.

Slough had the edge and Sayer could only curse in frustration as his swirling, dipping shot left Thornley rooted to the spot only to thump the crossbar.

McNally pounced on Hazel's error but was off target while moments later at the other end Sayer burst through once more but this time dragged his shot wide of goal.

For all their possession Slough could have gone in at half time one down but with Bunting bemoaning the abysmal marking Armstrong headed over from close range.

The second half followed a similar pattern but Slough couldn't find a way through and were lucky to escape themselves when more poor defensive work allowed McNally a point blank opportunity which Trevor Bunting did marvellously well to keep out.

The flow of the game was changed, crucially, when Morecambe introduced their two substitutes Cain and Holden for McNally and Burns. Cain's impact was immediate and his deep cross found the head of McCluskie who rather fortunately found the waiting Bunting.

Slough were not so lucky in the 74th minute when, pushing forward, they were caught out by a long clearance which went over the head of the exposed Fiore and into the path of the oncoming Holden. He kept his nerve and as Bunting advanced he slotted the ball into the visitors' net.

Visibly lifted by the strike Tomlinson almost added a second for Morecambe but Slough typifying the Briley spirit, gritted their teeth rolled up the shin sleeves and gathered themselves for one last attempt to grab a season's life line. Sayer forced Thornley to save but Stanley, on for the out of form Manning, could not control the rebound. Peters threatened but was unable to deliver and rather sadly there was to be no way back.

So it is onto Welling this Saturday, it's unlikely that there will be any new faces, Briley will no doubt try to work miracles, loan signings, free transfers that sort of thing, he will give it everything for as long as he's in charge, but he'll have to do it without the help of those who could have made this struggle completely unnecessary.

Briley knows the score and he's ready to tough it out. "As far as I know these is no money available I really do not know if there ever was, so we'll just have to get on with it"

Morecambe Lineup


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