Second Half Fightback Not Enough

| League
Att: 239
Slough Town
Grimm (51), Nsubuga (58), Harper (pen 90)
3 - 6
Didcot Town
Bartley (13, 21), King (45, 56, pen 89), Vine (90)
Chris Robinson
Second half goals from debutant Rico Grimm, Abbey Nsubuga and Dean Harper were not enough as Didcot Town added three more of their own after powering into a 3-0 half-time lead.

Slough handed debuts to two new signings, striker Rico Grimm joining from Staines and midfielder Dave Barratt from Cheshunt, whilst pushing Chris Robinson and Michael Murphy back to wing-back slots in a bold 3-5-2 formation.

Grimm had the first sniff of goal early on as a Murphy cross came in from the left. Grimm stretched for the ball but could only direct his header well over. Soon after, Didcot’s first half-chance fell to Jack King as a short free kick was played to him. King’s drive from the edge of the box was heavily deflected wide.

A real chance for Slough arrived after 9 minutes. A long pass forward from the back found Chris Robinson in acres of space in the midfield. He advanced forward to the edge of the box before slipping the ball through to Lee Charles, whose low drive was palmed away by Watkins in the Didcot goal. Robinson’s attempt to return the ball goalwards fell well wide.

Dave Barratt was playing in the centre of Slough’s midfield and showed his attacking intent with a 20 yard drive that flew narrowly wide of the post, one of many from the former Cheshunt player.

However, it was Didcot who broke the deadlock on 13 minutes. Michael Bartley ran onto a ball played over the top of the defence and drilled low and hard into the bottom corner with his left foot.

The away side now started to look more threatening, with a far post headed saved brilliantly by Barnard low to his left. However, it didn’t take long for the away side to double their lead. A fine cross from the left was headed high into the goal by Bartley, the former Slough player notching his second of the game to leave the Rebels facing an uphill battle.

Slough were struggling badly to cope with their opposition, with high aimless balls from the back being easily dealt with by Didcot. The Rebels frontline were being given very little in the way of service, with Lee Charles often caught offside as he tried to make runs. In a rare attack, Charles saw a long-range effort blocked, with Barratt’s dipping effort held by Watkins.

Just before the half-time whistle, Didcot made it three. Steve Daly failed to clear the ball in the penalty area, and Josh Malvany played the ball across for an easy finish for Jack King.

Drastic changes were needed, and Slough’s response early in the second half gave the impression that stern words had been exchanged at half time. Five minutes in, Lee Charles held up a ball which was played in by Robinson, before turning and shooting. The ball beat Watkins but hit the crossbar, however the rebound fell to Grimm, who headed home a debut goal to reduce the arrears.

Slough piled forward, but just five minutes later were caught on the counter-attack as Didcot restored their three-goal cushion. Jack King weaved his way through the Slough defence before slotting his second goal past Barnard.

The response from Slough was almost immediate. A long ball from Murphy fell to Abbey Nsubuga, who beat his man for strength on the left, before bringing the ball inside and drilling home from a tight angle, beating Watkins at his near post to make the score 2-4.

Slough were now playing with a lot more confidence, putting defensive frailties to one side to try to get within touching distance of their opponents. Chris Robinson was having a great second half on the right wing, and he cut inside to send in a low left-footed effort which was dealt with comfortably by Watkins.

However, the score remained at 2-4 until late on, with Didcot happy to sit on their lead and repel Slough's attacks, and an 89th minute penalty dashed all lingering hopes of a Slough comeback. Ashley Vine was hauled down in the penalty area by Robinson, who seemed lucky to escape a red card. The penalty was hit home by King to complete his hat-trick.

Just a minute later, the scoreline took on a harsher look as Vine cut inside and fired into the top corner from 20 yards to make it 2-6.

The entertainment was not yet complete, as Grimm wrong-footed Watkins in injury time with a fierce shot from the edge of the box, which cannoned off the foot of the post. Seconds later, Grimm was fouled in the box to give Slough the chance to grab another consolation. Dean Harper stepped up to smash the penalty high into the centre of the goal to complete an entertaining, but ultimately very disappointing 90 minutes of football for Slough Town, who were made to pay for a poor first-half showing.

Didcot Town Line up

Watkins, Lewis (Goodall), Bicknell, Heapy (c), Davis, Jack, Hope (Parrott), King, Bartley, Vine, Malvany (Witt). Sub not used: Farrow

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