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Flackwell Heath (A)
Sat Sep 21
15:00

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Flackwell Heath (A)
Sat Sep 21 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
8th
18pts

Rebels claim the points in vital match

| League
Att: 168
Andover
Stow (51)
1 - 2
Slough Town
Harper (pen 17), A. Nsubuga (44)
Brian Connor
Slough Town gained a vital three points in their quest for survival in the British Gas South & West division in a hard-fought game.

Slough travelled to the Portway Stadium following three defeats for what the cliché mongers would describe as a relegation six-pointer against Andover. Slough welcomed Richard Barnard back to the side with Lee Riddell also returning. If Slough could manage a win, they would move level on points with their hosts.

The opening quarter was typically edgy but the game burst into life on the 17th minute when Lee Charles held the ball up well and as he turned on goal to shoot had his shirt pulled by Davies and the referee awarded a penalty. Dean Harper strode forward and smashed the penalty home passed the despairing dive of Dave Hook in the Andover goal.

The Lions responded immediately and had a loud penalty appeal of their own turned down moments later when a shot from the edge of the area was charged down. The referee waved play on and the ball broke to the right side of the Slough penalty area and Robinson and Daly were left to make despairing diving challenges and somehow smuggled the ball to safety.

On 44 minutes Slough doubled their lead. An excellent through ball played Abby Nsubuga in down the right flank and he took the ball wider still as Dave Hook tried to narrow the angle, but Nsubuga managed to pick a precise finish and slotted the ball in at the far post much to the relief of the Slough faithful as they had an agonising wait for the ball to creep in.

Slough got off to the worst possible start in the second half when on 51 minutes Andover broke swiftly down the right flank and a precise cross from Zygier picked out Stow who was left unmarked eight yards out in the centre of the goal to head home.

Slough responded and another neat piece of play from Lee Charles saw him hold the ball up well on the right side of the area, and after a stumble, Charles recovered to square the ball to Gumbs but two defenders quickly moved in and broke the play up.

On 71 minutes a nasty clash of heads saw both Rendell and Swayne replaced. Rendell was later discharged from hospital after requiring stitches in his wound.

Six minutes later and following the break down of attacking play from a Slough corner, the ball was fed back to Lee Charles who squared the ball to Steve Daly, who fired a shot goalwards and saw Hook parry the ball but he was able to recover before Gumbs pounced on the rebound.

Andover started to take control of the game and Slough resorted to playing on the break. On 87 minutes Matthews seemed certain to equalise before an excellent sliding challenge from Brian Connor prevented the shooting opportunity and the ball ran for a corner.

On 89 minutes a break from Slough saw Charles whip in a cross from the left which was flicked on by Grimm, who had been brought on to replace Riddell who had collected a knock, and Gumbs had a great opportunity to secure the points but with plenty of time, he fired over the bar.

With the last opportunity of the game a cross from Holmes picked out Matthews who headed against the bar with Barnard beaten.

It had been at times a struggle particularly in the second half but finally Slough seemed to have rode their luck and collected three points.

Report: Martin McCabe
Front pic: Gary House

Andover Line up

Hook, K Swayne, Minton, Holmes, Zygier, Davies, Stow, B Swayne, Matthews, Harris, Bye. Substitutes: Styles, Anderson, Martin, Heath, Morse.

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