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Sat Mar 2

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The Vanarama National League South

Slough's Poor Home Form Continues

Slough Town

Slough Town

Hercules (9)
Telford Utd

Telford Utd

Clarke (64), Turner (90)
League Attendance: 682 Ansil Bushay
Read it in disbelief: Slough have not won a league match at home on a Saturday all season - in fact their last success in such a fixture was on March 11 1995, when they beat Bishop's Stortford 1-0.

This Saturday was perhaps the pinnacle in an orgy of underachievement in the past 11 months, and left even more unanswered questions, as a side rapidly losing their grip on a Conference place were allowed to come back from an untenable position and take all the points in the last 25 minutes.

Why? Three theories present themselves, but none really seem satisfactory:

1. The fans: Only 682 turned out to see this one, the lowest league gate of the season and the lowest in the Conference on the day. Even so, there were enough to make a reasonable noise yet the 20-strong travelling contingent were often more audible - not much of an encouragement for the players.

But why should loyal supporters keep coming to watch a side lose so dismally - and who could blame them for keeping tight-Zipped when their side boasts such a terrible record?

2. Bad luck: That the Rebels continually dominate tames yet fail to get a result s merely bad luck, some sort of Wexham Park curse which will be lifted as soon as they get a couple of wins under their belt. Unlikely, but an entertaining thought.

3. Dave Russell/the players: Perhaps they just aren't good enough for this league.

Or maybe the tactics are all upside down. Maybe the side are trying to play neat football when they should be playing kick and rush. But why, then, have they got one of the best away records in the league? And why are they still just three wins from a perfectly respectable position in the table?

The plot on Saturday was as predictable as they come. Slough were 1-0 up in the ninth minute - Ansil Bushay, in his best form for quite some time, cut into the byline, Mark West flicked back with his heel and Cliff Hercules crashed in with a full-blooded drive past Germaine.

But Alan Paris, left alone in central midfield, needed a Pye, Catlin or Clement alongside him, though he coped well with all three suspended until a half-time change of tactics from the visitors (missing six players themselves) left him floundering.

His absence in the backline was inadequately covered by Lee Harvey (one good tackle for every 10 mistakes) and the weak Steve Bateman, neither of whom are Conference players.

But Telford looked so dull themselves that a shock was always unlikely. The Rebels should have been cruising comfortably towards three or four goals but instead went into a dreamworld and paid dearly.

Bushay - who had obviously decided he would have to do it all himself - did have the ball in the net on the halfhour after the 'keeper had kicked straight to Adams 20 yards out , but the striker's tackle to win the ball was adjudged to have been illegal. Mark Fiore's cross then found West's head in the second half but he could only find the 'keeper when the net beckoned.

Telford's persistent good use of set pieces caused a little concern as the game wore on, but on 64 minutes a long free-kick was headed across the face of goal by Niblett and player-manager Wayne Clarke applied the finishing touch. Don't say you weren't warned.

Now was the time to act quickly - after all, the Rebels were still the better side and sported the league's top striker in their ranks to finish the job. Yet they created fewer chances in the final 10 minutes than in the first 10 - Hercules stabbed one just wide of the post and Trevor Baron's header was scrambled away by Germaine, on loan from WBA.

The last 30 seconds were a final damning testament to a dreadful show. Chuck Moussaddik kicked three times in quick succession yet never managed to clear his own half. Finally, the visitors woke up to the golden egg they were being handed, Gray's ball was headed out by Harvey, returned by Farrington and Turner found the top of the net from four yards.

How many more times?

Telford Utd Lineup


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