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Sat Sep 26
15:00

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Wealdstone (A)
Sat Sep 26 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
18th
0pts

Point Each For The Rebels

| League
Att: 465
Slough Town
Hodges (82)
1 - 1
Worthing
Hill (83)
Ryan Williams
The fans and players reaction at the final whistle said it all as Slough Town secured promotion on Tuesday night.

All they needed from the game was a point, barring some rare results on Saturday and come 9.37 pm, that was what they had secured after a battling performance that also handed Lewes the title.

It was a game that Worthing had to win to keep their slim hope alive and but for a spell in the first half when the visitors pinned Rebels into their own half, they seldom looked like achieving that goal.

But for Slough, boosted by the news earlier in the day that the Bucknall Austin would be conducting the feasibility study into the Kennedy Park development and a possible new ground, all the hard work that they've put in since the turn of the year came to fruition at the final whistle as they had ensured a top-six finish with a game to spare.

It was possibly the appointment of Mickey Lewis as a coach back in January that proved to be the turning point for Slough but at that stage, they were in tenth place having played 25 games and picked up only 40 points and were a massive 19 points the leaders Windsor & Eton.

Since then, they picked up a further 47 points in 20 matches, are now three points behind Royalists and if they win on Saturday at home to lowly Croydon, and Windsor lose, then they will finish above them on goal difference.

The game also saw Rebels notch their 100th league goal. Not surprisingly it came from Ian Hodges who headed them in front with his 34th league goal. If he can match his feat earlier in the season when he scored four times against Epsom, it will establish an all-time partnership record with the suspended Tony Boot for the club.

The game itself was played in pouring rain and a torrential downpour at half time threatened to see the game abandoned as pools of water formed in the centre of Stag Meadow, making it farcical at times as players slipped over or passes failed to reach their intended target.

But fortunately, the rain eased and the water began to soak into the ground and the game was completed, otherwise the teams would have been back there Thursday to replay the game.

Rebels started the game like at a furious pace and they could have been ahead in the first minute but for a fine save from Worthing 'keeper Will Packham.

Veli Hakki's free kick was partially cleared, the ball was worked out to the left to Alex Haddow and his cross was was met with a firm header from Hodges. But the keeper managed to get down low to his left to turn the ball round the post.

The Rebels were certainly up for the game, Hodges had an ever better chance two minutes late from another Hakki free kick, this time the unmarked striker somehow headed the wrong side of the post from ten yards.

It wasn't all one-way traffic though, as Worthing went straight up the other end from the goal kick and also missed a glorious chance.

Sam Francis broke down the right and crossed to the near post where midfielder Mark Pulling arrived late but headed wide from six yards.

It began a spell of Worthing pressure and soon after, Michael Murphy's last-ditch tackle denied Mark Knee a shooting chance before the game began to get bogged down in midfield.

Most of the pressure came from the visitors but they failed to trouble Alan Foster in the home goal as the defence restricted them to long-range efforts which failed to hit the target.

Ten minutes before the break, Rebels regained the ascendancy and a misdirected cross from Haddow almost led to a goal. Packham took the ball on his line, almost slipped into the net, but managed to stop the ball on the line.

Conditions worsened during the interval to such a degree that the start of the second half was delayed to let the rain ease, but the Rebels began well again with Glen Harris seeing his low shot saved by Packham.

Then the late arriving Ryan Williams, playing at wing back, headed well wide from Haddow's cross and as Slough upped the tempo, several ricochet's put Matt Miller in but Peckham came out smartly to smother his shot.

It was virtually one-way traffic in the second period but just as it seemed the game was set to end goalless, Slough broke the deadlock.

Hakki popped up on the left, cut inside and floated in a cross beyond the far post where Williams, making another late run, headed back across goal for Hodges to nod past the impressive Packham.

It prompted wild scenes of celebration behind the goal, but the joy was shortlived as within a minute a bout of pinball on the edge of the Slough box saw the ball break to Owen Hill and he rifled an unstoppable shot into the corner from 20 yards.

There were seven minutes to play at this stage, but there was no danger of Worthing repeating the trick.

And after two minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle was greeted with joy by the Slough fans, and the Lewes players in the stand who knew they had won the league.

Worthing Line up

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