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The National League U19 Alliance

Abbott And Blackford Strike Early

Slough Town

Slough Town

Abbott (7), Blackford (19)
Bromsgrove Rovers

Bromsgrove Rovers

League Attendance: 1158 Robert Smith
Brian McDermott's revamped warm-up routine worked a treat as two goals in the first 20 minutes were enough to help Slough to a relatively comfortable victory over basement side Bromsgrove on Saturday.

The Slough boss had been unhappy with his team's starts in eight of nine matches this season, and decided to precede the match with a more thorough workout to increase the sharpness of his players.

The Rebels certainly had the better of the opening exchanges and took the lead in the ninth minute as Mark West, having last week pulled level with Gary Abbott on seven goals this season, gave his strike partner the chance to take the lead in their personal battle.

West had his initial pass to Mark Fiore blocked, but then chipped the ball to the left side of the box where Abbott took it on his chest, and delicately lifted the ball over Matt Whitehead with the outside of his right boot.

The goal should have deflated Bromsgrove, already on a run of six straight defeats after winning their first two, but instead they hit back, and could have been level six minutes later when Mark Crisp's powerful 20 yard effort crashed off the underside of the bar.

But it was Slough who made it 2-0 in the 19th, with Abbott this time turning provider. The long-haired striker found some space on the right to drill over a low cross which slipped out of Whitehead's gloves allowing Abbott's former Enfield teammate Gary Blackford to fire home his third of the season.

Blackford later became the first of three players to be booked by referee Wendy Toms, who enjoyed a competent afternoon in her second senior game.
However, it was sod's law that after McDermott cured his side's problems in beginning the match, the second-half, which had brought Slough 14 of their 20 goals prior to kick-off, would yield nothing.

Indeed, the best chance went to Crisp in the 64th minute, when his first time effort from a left-wing cross touched the post. But on the whole the Rebels' defence weren't troubled, and an excellent performance from young Robert Smith made McDermott's attempts to sign a temporary replacement for Cliff Hercules seem unnecessary.

Indeed one of the few pieces of drama came in 80th minute, when the attendance of 1,158 was announced, 42 short of winning McDermott a bottle of Champagne from chairman Alan Thorne, who grinned down smugly from the directors' box.

But despite the loss of a bottle of bubbly, McDermott can be satisfied with another three points, as well as discovering the way to bring 45 minutes of good football from his players. The challenge now is to find two good 45-minute spells in the same match.

Bromsgrove Rovers Lineup

Whitehead, Knight, Brighton, Skelding, Wardle, Clarke, Smith, Lewis, Crisp, Hunt, Peters. SUBS: Marlowe (for Peters, 88), Gardeners (for Lewis, 77), Dunphy (for Clarke, 45).


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