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Tonbridge Angels (A)
Sat Feb 24

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Tonbridge Angels (A)
Sat Feb 24 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Rebels Fight Back From Two Down

Harlow Town

Harlow Town

Harrold (9 pen), Frendo (26)
Slough Town

Slough Town

B Bubb (59), Winston (84)
League Attendance: 186 Michael Gilkes
The Rebels drew their third game in a row and their fifth in the last six away matches as they came from two goals down against a decent Harlow team.

Sammy Winston's twenty first goal of the season gave them the equaliser six minutes from time and despite the late dismissal of Ricky Browne, Slough once again took away a point.

There was some surprising team news before the match as leading scorer Tony Boot was left out in favour of Winston while the injured Steve Daly and Darron Wilkinson also made way for Adrian Brown and Ryan Williams.

The game took a short while to get going but when it did it was all bad news for the away side. In the eighth minute a long ball out of defence by Ade Olayinka was allowed to bounce over the Slough back line and into the path of Matt Harrold. As he continued towards goal, Brown came in behind him and tugged the strikers shirt and , although the offence looked to have taken place outside the box, the referee, Mr Cox, pointed to the spot. Brown was maybe fortunate not to be punished with some sort of card but he was punished in a different way seconds later as Harrold himself converted the spot kick.

The goal gave Harlow the impetus to go forward again and again, and they could have got a second shortly after. Another long ball, this time by ex-Rebel Tony McNally went straight through to Dominique Jean-Zepherin but the keeper somehow fumbled it and the onrushing Marvin Samuel looked to be latching onto the free ball. However, just as he was about to stroke the ball in, Browne put in a tackle from the side to clear the danger.

Slough had to wait until half way through the first period for their first chance and in truth it was a good one. Winston's pace took him past Olayinka on the Harlow left but his cross shot was parried by Gavin King. However, the danger wasn't cleared and Michael Gilkes had a shot from 15 yards but was this time denied by McNally on the goal-line.

Four minutes later and it got even worse for the Rebels as Harlow increased their lead. Ryan Spencer tried to take a quick free-kick to Ian Hodges but Ryan Kirby intercepted and played the ball forward to John Frendo. The midfielder was left with a clear run on goal and he placed the ball, with ease, past Jean-Zepherin to put Harlow two up.

The goal seemed to finally wake Slough up as they retaliated with wave after wave of attacks but they could not break through the Harlow back line or past King in their goal. Dean Palmer, Gilkes, Christian Metcalfe, Spencer and Hodges all went close, Spencer's being the best effort with his volley falling just over the bar.

In the final seconds of the half there were further chances at either end. Firstly Harrold missed an open goal for Harlow having been left unmarked from a corner. Seconds later the ball was at the other end and after Winston had mishit a volley way over the bar, both Brown and Hodges were denied off the line by the scrambling Harlow defenders.

After the break the pattern didn't change as Slough continued to press with Spencer once again going close. Then, with just over half an hour to go, Slough introduced Boot and Byron Bubb for Hodges and Williams, and the substitutions soon changed the state of the game. Winston was once again released down the wing and his cross was headed in at the far post by Bubb who had been on the pitch for less than two minutes.

This first goal made Slough push more and more men forward in search of the equalising goal. Boot set up Gilkes with a beautiful flick but Gilkes' volley was well held by King. Then Winston went on another mazy run before cutting inside but once again seeing his shot pushed away by the Harlow keeper.

With 20 minutes left, Bubb delivered a lovely, curling free kick which was just inches away from finding the top corner as it tipped the crossbar and went over. Five minutes later Winston had the best chance so far as he took the ball round King but, reminiscent of one he missed at Hemel a couple of weeks before, he skied his final shot as he was leaning back as he took the effort.

The pressure was relentless as Browne then missed a free header from a Gilkes corner and it looked as though it would not be Slough's day. Then, in the eighty fourth minute, Gilkes won a free kick on the Harlow right. His cross was delivered to the near post where the unmarked Winston stooped and headed in the goal they had been threatening.

The away side could not really find any more chances late in the game, as Harlow tightened up their back line. The final incident actually occurred on the half way line as Browne tangled with Harlow substitute Colin Simpson. As Simpson went to ground, Browne directed a kick at him and, right under the gaze of the referee, there was no way he was going to avoid the red card. Browne will now miss three of the important run in games along with Spencer who was dismissed the previous week at Thame.

A final score of two all did neither team any favours, but there were once again positives for the Rebels, notably their reluctance to give in and the noise from the away crowd, which despite being lesser in numbers than usual, delivered vocal support throughout helped by the covering stand on the far side of the pitch on what was a beautiful day.

Harlow Town Lineup


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