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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13

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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Slough strikers respond as cutting edge is tested

Slough Town

Slough Town

West (3), Abbott (25, 60, 88), Bolt (62)
Bath City

Bath City

Davis (30, 66)
League Attendance: 1032 Gary Abbott
A Gary Abbott hat-trick - his second of a six-match old season - helped restore a cutting edge to the Rebels whose rousing 5-2 victory over Bath City on Tuesday ended a run of four draws against another of their bogey sides.

The Romans were put to the sword during a gladiatorial second half in which the Rebels could have doubled their total against a young, inexperienced but spirited side. Abbott himself missed a trio of further opportunities which included hitting the underside of the crossbar and skying a 68th minute penalty as City's boys succumbed completely to Slough's men.

Bath were reduced to 10 men when Ian Harvey followed his 74th minute debut with a red card three minutes later for scything down Simon Stapleton on the halfway line. A night of pure drama began even before the kick off - Abbott and fellow traveller Gary Blackford arriving at the last minute after being brought to a standstill on the M25.

The start was then delayed by 15 minutes following a problem with the floodlights. But neither side had trouble finding its way to the target area in the first half which saw Mark West swivel on the edge of the area in the 3rd minute and fire home a shot which took a deflection off full back Ian Hedges. It was West's fourth goal this season, his 73rd in 110 appearances for the club.

Both Bath keeper David Mogg and Slough counterpart Ben Miles were called into play early on and saw plenty of action throughout. Mogg might have done better when he got behind a sharp, low drive from Danny Bolt in the 25th minute, but he dropped the ball and there was Abbott to poke it home.

Bath immediately pressured. with a series of corners, and pulled a goal back in the 30th minute when Mike Davis nipped in at the near post to head home Jay Lucas's free kick. It would not have been an injustice if they had gone into the interval level, but a rising shot from Shaun Penny clipped the crossbar on its way to safety.

When it looked as though a battle of wills was about to unfold, Slough showed they wanted the result badly and created three good chances in as many minutes to unhinge the youngsters. Abbott went close from Blackford's cross from the right, West hit the upright and even Gary Micklewhite got to within six yards of getting Slough a third.

The Rebels were denied a penalty when Bolt was held back on the edge of the box by Mike Wyatt who then brought him down after he had escaped. Having played the advantage for Slough, referee Lee Cable booked Wyatt for the first offence. But Bolt - needing a good showing after three indifferent performances - simply meted his own justice. He produced one of his finest crosses from the left in the 60th minute which fell perfectly for Abbott to dive in and power home with his head.

And then two minutes later he dribbled through the defence before tucking the ball under Mogg from 10 yards. Abbott looked arrogant with the penalty earned by a rampaging Gary Blackford and a touch greedy on other occasions when he might have laid the ball off.

But Bath showed that any side with pace is capable of catching the Rebels defence with their shorts down when Davis got his second from a break, Miles having raced out to block an initial shot and the ball running for the Romans.

The battle is raging between Abbott and popular idol West for the hero worship of the crowd.

Abbott got the upper hand when he popped up on the line to complete a glorious hat-trick - his seventh goal of the season - two minutes from time after West had carved a wonderful opening only to be twice foiled by Mogg.

Bath City Lineup

Mogg, Hedges, Dicks, Cleverley. Lucas, Harrington, Withey, James, Wyatt, Penny, Davis. SUBS: Hazlehurst (for Withey, 86), Crowley, Harvey (for Lucas, 74).


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