Match day

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Bath City (H)
Sat Mar 2

Match day

Team logo
Bath City (H)
Sat Mar 2 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Impressive Slough Beat Hayes

Slough Town

Slough Town

Bushay (9), West (47), Bateman (89)


Pickett (1-1)
League Attendance: 1011 Steve Bateman
At 3.45, as Royal Athlete was beginning its charge to Grand National glory, Slough Town were finishing a marathon of their own in possibly their most impressive performance if the season to date.

1994-95 has seen more ups and downs than any Aintree runner, with the Rebels hitting fence after fence yet continually picking themselves back up. And now, with the leaders still visible, they need to call on every reserve of strength they have left to win a race on which so much is staked.

Saturday's result rarely looked in doubt, yet it is to Slough's credit that they made the usually potent Hayes look little more than average through a combination of tenacious defending and the sort of attacking which makes even the strongest defences crumble eventually.

The first-half in particular was a whitewash and could easily have resulted in four or five goals on another day. Top of the miss-list was a breath taking Andy Sayer effort in just the first-minute of action. Not only did he have audacity to lob Westwood from 45 yards, but he carried it off so well that only a late bounce carried the ball over the bar.

Bushay too was in absolutely blistering form and gave the Rebels a fully-deserved lead in the ninth minute, 40 seconds after the nimble Blackman had set up one close opening for him. Baron set up the goal, returning the ball after a corner, with Bushay sending in a full-blooded strike.

There could have been so many more; at times too many to list. Bushay had the ball in the net via a deflection only to be dubiously ruled offside; Westwood scrambled it gratefully into his arms after Ansil struck again and Connor was within inches of connecting with West's delivery across the face of goal.

And then Hayes equalised, completely out of he blue. The relentless pace slowed just for a second, they engineered a modicum of space and Pickett gleefully swiped the ball past Bunting with an outstretched leg.

The tidal wave of Rebel-rousing temporarily stemmed, it was experience - most notably that of Mark West - which was eventually to win the game. His level-headedness hauled his side back into proceedings just two minutes after the restart, as Westwood made a drama out of gathering Baron's header from underneath the cross-bar and West pounced as it fell to the floor to bundle it unceremoniously over the line.

Out, for the remainder of the second period, went the gung-ho mentality which had pervaded he first 45 and could have cost Slough the game. In its place came a new wave of maturity which allowed them to hold firm and eventually add to their lead - though Connor came close twice with right-hand efforts which Westwood twice saved.

But for the attentions of an inconsistent official, the screw could have been turned earlier than the last minute of normal time, when Bateman leaped like a veteran vaulter to launch a header over Westwood, who probably wishes he had stayed at home in the garden for a few hours.

He won't be back in a hurry, and with the home straight beckoning, you'd be stupid to write the Rebels off just yet.

Hayes Lineup


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