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Dulwich Hamlet (A)
Mon Aug 26
15:00

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Dulwich Hamlet (A)
Mon Aug 26 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
15th
5pts

Rebels Start With A Bang

| League
Att: 198
Epsom & Ewell
Morris (66)
1 - 4
Slough Town
Miller (7), Haddow (41), Boot (77), Hodges (87)
Alex Haddow
Slough fans cannot have expected that much as they travelled to Epsom for their first match of the season. A relatively poor pre-season along with the loss of many players to Boreham Wood and elsewhere meant that the team that took to the field at Epsom included six new faces with a further two on the bench. However, as the final whistle blew on an entertaining 90 minutes of football, Rebels fans may finally feel that there is some hope for them as another long season starts on its ten month journey.

Before kick off Slough fans learnt of the arrival of Alex Haddow, an ex-Reading trainee and the return, to the delight of the travelling support, of last year’s top scorer Tony Boot after (so far) unsuccessful trials with Colchester United and Barnet. Other new signings gracing the side for this first match included Alan Foster arriving from Thame in goal, along with Danny Steer, Chris Payne, Matt Miller and Glen Harris, all of whom were to have more than impressive full debuts.

Despite the numbers of new arrivals, Slough seemed to take little time to gel as they pushed forward every time that they had the ball. The first chance of the match fell to Boot after just five minutes but after latching onto Harris’ pass he fired the ball high and wide of Dave Hyatt’s goal.

However, two minutes later Slough did take the lead and it was through one of the new boys. As Miller picked the ball up 30 yards out the danger looked minimal to the Epsom defence. But one mazy run and 10 seconds later he had despatched the ball into the bottom corner after a superb dribble showing his close control had taken out the entire home defence.

The goal pushed Slough on and they continued to go close as Boot once again caught the defence cold but when one on one with Dave Hyatt he couldn’t keep his shot inside the goalposts. Epsom had threatened little until this point but then Richard Ingham went close twice within the space of three minutes first after defensive mistakes by Adrian Brown and Nick Gyoury and then through his own quick thinking from a sharply taken free kick.

As the half wore on Slough continued to pressurise the Epsom back four and further chances fell to Miller, after great work between Boot and Ryan Spencer, and Spencer whose well struck volley was unfortunately hit directly at Dave Hyatt. Dave Argent also went close for Epsom as his even sweeter volley was superbly deflected behind by Steve Daly’s head.

With four minutes left before the interval Slough finally managed to double their advantage. A trip on Harris led to Slough being awarded a free kick on the right corner of the Epsom box. Haddow’s free kick was on target but lacked power and although Dave Hyatt got to the ball it inexplicably squirmed underneath his body and into the corner of the net.

Gyoury was left to have the final chance of the half as another free kick From Haddow was perfectly placed for the big defender but Dave Hyatt made up for his mistake with a fantastic flying save. At half time the majority of Slough fans were more than happy with their team’s performance and the good news was that more was to follow in the second period.

The second half started as the first had ended with Miller, Boot and Steer twice all going close for the Rebels. Then Daly, up for another corner, hammered a downward header with bounced up of the grass and was brilliantly headed over his bar by Epsom’s Graham Morris.

With twenty minutes gone, Epsom made two substitutions and promptly they earned a chance to get back into the game. As Ingham ran away from the defence, after the ball was lost by Haddow, Brown pulled him back just inside the box and the referee, Mr Bishop, determined the offence worthy of a penalty and the first booking of the match for the offending Slough right back. Morris stepped up and despite Foster getting a hand to the ball the kick had too much power and ended up in the roof of the net.

The goal seemed to spur Slough into action and more chances flooded the way of the home side. Miller once again went close and then Boot missed two more golden chances before, with thirteen minutes left, he finally found the back of the net. Miller, once again the architect, slipped a ball through a very square Epsom defence and the on-rushing Boot just managed to find the corner despite, once again, miss-hitting the effort past the keeper.

More chances were to fall to Slough as Boot and Gyoury once again went close and then Haddow and Gyoury once more had efforts that rebounded off the woodwork, the former’s a great strike following brilliant hold up play by Steer, the latter’s a bullet header from a Freddie Hyatt corner (Freddie Hyatt and Ian Hodges having replaced the excellent Harris and Miller minutes earlier).

The final goal went to one of the substitutes and in terms of build up was by far the best of the match. Some brilliant keep ball football from Slough including some stunning one touch passing between Payne, Freddie Hyatt, Boot and Spencer led to the latter delivering a drilled cross to the far post where the onrushing Hodges placed a bullet header into the top corner of Dave Hyatt’s goal to seal a comprehensive victory.

So the start of another long season, another winning start, the main question now; Where do we go from here? Where indeed – Stag Meadow on Monday for Marlow at home?!?!

Epsom & Ewell Line up

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