Rebels back with a bang

| League
Att: 126
Stourport Swifts
Cornes (88)
1 - 4
Slough Town
Edgeworth (24), Sinclair (29), Clark (65), Buchanan (81)
Chris Herron
Slough Town returned to action with a comfortable victory at Stourport Swifts.

The Rebels had not played since December 12, a lay-off of six weeks, but showed no signs of rustiness as they easily overcame the challenge of the Worcestershire side, going into a 4-0 lead thanks to goals from Edgeworth, Sinclair, Dean Clark and Buchanan, before a late consolation goal from the hosts.

The enforced winter break has enabled a number of Steve Bateman’s side to recover from injuries, but with Dean Harper suspended and Graeme Edwards still missing with a back problem, skipper Paul Edgeworth was called upon to partner Nathan Bowden-Haase at centre-back, with Dean Clark making his full debut in midfield and the returning Sean Sonner handed a spot on the bench.

After a slow first ten minutes in which both sides were still feeling their way back into the game and becoming accustomed to the damp pitch, Stourport were the first to offer a shot at goal. A corner was only half-cleared and the ball fell to Dane Aldington on the volley, but his effort was well wide.

Slough started to dominate, with wide players Herron and Sinclair increasingly influential as the half wore on. Herron’s free kick was met by the head of Clark, but Paul Evans produced a good save to tip the ball wide.

The Swifts offered little as they struggled to get their creative players and strikers into the game, but the tricky Julian Triana found burly striker Chris Cornes to give him a clear run on goal. Cornes elected to shoot early, blazing high and wide when he could have advanced further.

Slough took a deserved lead with 24 minutes played. Rob Kean picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area after a corner had been cleared, before chipping the ball back into the box for Edgeworth to plant a header across Evans and into the far corner.

Simon Martin saw an effort saved by Evans soon after, but a two-goal lead was established on 29 minutes as Sinclair found acres of space to run into on the right before lashing home a fierce drive from 25 yards to give the keeper no chance.

Stourport had no answer to Slough’s attacking threat, and Edgeworth and Buchanan missed good opportunities to extend the lead as Slough dominated. Swifts were thwarted again as Cornes tried to play in Triana, but a well-timed tackle from Murphy won the ball cleanly.

The hosts did have what looked to be a valid claim for a penalty though, as pacy striker Dan Polan, who netted for the Swifts in the reverse fixture at Holloways Park, burst through and appeared to be held back by Bowden-Haase before Perks gathered the ball.

Slough continued to pepper the hosts’ goal, attacking to good effect on the break, and Dean Clark saw an attempted lob saved. The clearest chance to extend the lead fell to Simon Martin with a free header from Sinclair’s cross, but Evans saved easily.

Slough continued to press in the second half, looking for a third goal to kill the game off, and good link-up play between Clark and Buchanan on the left resulted in a cross to Martin, but his side-footed effort produced a good one-handed save from Evans.

Not long after though, the Rebels found the goal they were looking for. The impressive Sinclair played in Martin, who cut inside and hit a shot which was saved by Evans, and in the scramble which ensued, Clark was first to react and tuck in the rebound with 65 minutes played.

Swifts upped the tempo and put a number of crosses into the Slough box, but found Bowden-Haase, Edgeworth and Perks in good form and the aerial threat was dealt with easily. The hosts threatened only from long range, as Triana blazed wide and Cornes dragged another effort well wide.

Steve Bateman introduced Sean Sonner, who signed permanently for the Rebels in midweek, and Dwain Clarke, and both players looked lively with Sonner putting a shot wide.

Slough’s fourth goal came with nine minutes remaining to seal a comfortable afternoon’s work. Clark saw another attempted lob saved by Evans, and from the resulting corner, a near-post delivery from Herron was controlled superbly by Elliot Buchanan, who made swivelling and shooting past Paul Evans look easy, though some poor defending from Stourport contributed.

Chris Cornes’ 88th minute consolation goal was perhaps just reward for the striker’s endeavours. He was played in with a through ball and slipped the ball past Perks to reduce the deficit.

There was still time for Sinclair to force another good save from Evans from Sonner’s delivery and Bowden-Haase had a header blocked as Slough wrapped up a vital three points in the promotion race.

Stourport Swifts Line up

Evans, Jukes (Mortlock), Tomkins, Aldington (Towers), Whittal-Williams, Jones, Triana, Benbow, Polan (Morris), Cornes, Gayton. Subs not used: Clayton, Duggan.

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