Stodgy Slough lack Basingstoke's fire

| League
Att: 580
Slough Town
Adekola (53)
1 - 4
Basingstoke Town
Harris (7), Sills (15, 37), Simpson (89)
Danny Honey
In a performance that had all the similarities of two-day old Christmas pudding, Slough Town crumbled to defeat against a lively and direct Basingstoke side on Monday afternoon.

The Rebels were certainly missing two key defenders in Leon Townley (flu) and Steve Daly (still not fully fit) but manager Steve Browne opted for Micky Engwell to play in the centre alongside Al James Hannigan, Chris White and Dave Timothy, who was played on the 'wrong' left side.

But this never really worked and the lack of pace at the back was also a crucial factor with Basingstoke pumping balls over the top for their strikers to chase.

Against some inept defending Basingstoke's cut and thrust game saw them two up in 15 minutes and 3-0 to the good by half-time.

It was not that one-sided, though, with Slough having plenty of chances - with three gilt-edged ones falling to Marcus Richardson, but as opposed to last week he failed to deliver any of them.

Slough went behind after just seven minutes from a corner which came following a shot by Ian Mancey hitting a post and defended away. The corner kick went deep and was met by Steve Harris who drove the ball hard through a crowd of players with keeper Danny Honey unable to keep it out.

Slough began to play with better movement in an effort to hit back and Richardson was set free on the right by Dave Rainford but the striker was unable to find Dwight Marshall, who was waiting for the inside pass, and was eventually tackled out of it.

Basingstoke were proving the sharper of the teams and increased their lead on the quarter-hour. With Slough pushing up, a quick ball forward by talented midfielder Paul Wilkinson found striker Tim Sills. His strong pacy run outstripped Micky Engwell and Sills hit a superb lob shot which Honey, despite his fine attempt to reach it, could only fingertip the ball and it spun over him into the net.

As frustration set in, a Hannigan late challenge was met with a booking by referee Webb. Slough then should have pulled one back as Marshall slipped a beautiful pass through the defence which put Richardson clear on the keeper, but not for the first time in the match his touch was too strong which enabled keeper Clive Lyttle to get to the ball first.

On 23 minutes, Richardson worked well down the left and hooked in a cross but Marshall diving in saw his effort diverted for a corner. Slough were unable to work anything from the balls forward to their front men and the tall Basingstoke defenders denied then any space, and in particular commanding mood was Taffy Richardson But at the other end there was more than a little goodwill as Slough went 3-0 down on 37 minutes.

Engwell, instead of clearing quickly, got caught trying to be too clever and the ball came out to the left where Tim Sills hit a shot which came back to him off Chris White, and his stunning volley from the rebound from 25 yards left Honey with no chance as it rocketed into the net.

After five minutes of the restart, Browne changed things by taking off midfielder Kenny Dyer and bringing on David Adekola up front and moving Richardson to wide right midfield. Engwell also moved to left side of defence from the centre.

Things immediately perked up as Slough looked a different team, passing and moving well in a more confident style and on 53 minutes got back into the game with a fine strike by Adekola. Richardson took on several defenders down the right before getting a cross in which was met by Marshall whose effort was defended out. The ball was picked up by Adekola who made space for a powerful drive to beat the keeper.

But despite Slough having the best of the game, they failed to turn that into further goals and with 20 minutes to go, Basingstoke gradually got back on the offensive. With ex-Slough Town player Derek Simpson brought on as substitute to tighten the midfield, Basingstoke created further goal opportunities denied only by some great keeping from Honey.

Three times Honey saved point blank from Tim Sills who was free on goal following one defensive slip and two fine moves. Two efforts from Mark Hawthorne were more easily dealt with and late on Richardson looked to have found the net having been put in by Adekola but Steve Richardson got a foot in and it hit the post and luckily bounced back for the keeper to stop it going over the line.

Basingstoke wrapped the game up though in 89th minute when Simpson made it 4-1 hitting home a rebound as Slough's misery was complete.

Manager Steve Browne said: "My resources were stretched and I felt our defensive pace was exploited at Harrow I tried Mickey Engwell in the middle, but I had to change that at half-time. Having said that, if we had taken a couple of the many chances things could have been different."

Basingstoke Town Line up

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