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Oxford City (A)
Sat Apr 20
15:00

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Oxford City (A)
Sat Apr 20 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
11th
58pts

Rebels face final day decider

| League
Att: 307
Slough Town
0 - 1
Hitchin Town
Lewis (16)
Chris Seeby
Slough Town and Sutton Coldfield Town will go into the final day level on points and goal difference in the hunt for fifth place after the Rebels were narrowly beaten by title-chasing Hitchin.

Slough have dropped down to sixth place going into the weekend's games after Ieuan Lewis' 16th-minute strike condemned the Rebels to defeat despite a spirited performance on a dusty pitch at Holloways Park - and the defeat means Slough must better Sutton Coldfield's result on Saturday in order to seal the final playoff spot.

The Rebels made a great start to the match, with the lively Mo Sharif, a thorn in Hitchin’s side throughout, having a shot turned wide by Martin Bennett in the Hitchin goal.

Bennett’s goal was under threat again as Elliot Buchanan curled just wide from 25 yards and Simon Martin headed wide from a long Yeboah throw.

Martin then saw a header deflected over the bar under pressure from Bennett as the title challengers were forced to dig deep.

But, as the corner was cleared, Hitchin broke away quickly and Harry Hunt rampaged through the heart of the Slough defence. His through pass was controlled by Ieuan Lewis and fired low past Jamie Jackson to give the Hertfordshire side a 16th-minute lead against the run of play.

Buchanan had another chance towards the end of the half as an attempted header back to Bennett fell short, but his effort was blocked by the keeper and deflected wide.

Slough started the second half as they finished the first, and Buchanan went closer still. Fine play from Adam Martin released Sinclair on the right wing, and his cross was met by the head of Buchanan, only for Bennett to stretch and turn the ball over the bar.

The terrible surface at Holloways Park, which resembled a dustbowl in the warm spring air, was almost responsible for a second Hitchin goal as Jackson miscued a clearance, but the ball rolled behind for a corner instead of between his posts. From the resulting corner, a Hitchin header was flicked just wide.

Slough continued to attack the Hitchin goal regularly, but found the Canaries’ defence in no mood to concede as first Buchanan, then Sharif saw shots blocked.

Mo Sharif went closest as the game drew to a close, but his first-time volley at the back post from Harper’s deep cross was well saved by Bennett.

At the death, the ball was drilled all the way across the Hitchin penalty area as Slough looked for a deserved equaliser, but nobody was able to get a telling touch and the relieved visitors were ultimately able to leave Holloways Park with all three points.

Hitchin Town Line up

Bennett, Fontenelle, Pepper, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Donnelly, Arlick (Stevenson), Hunt (Hammond), Howell (Burke). Subs not used: Lee, Dunn.

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