After such a strong start to the league campaign, with nine wins from ten games, added to impressive runs in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy, the Northants side are considered by many to be favourites for the league title. Darran Foster’s side arrived at Holloways Park with several key players missing through injury however, including captain and defensive stalwart Liam Dolman, fit enough only for a place on the bench.
The enforced changes looked to have unsettled the visitors, and Slough got off to a great start with a goal in just the sixth minute courtesy of the in-form Johnnie Dyer. Daventry were left stunned as Adam Foulser headed on a long Guy Hollis throw, and Dyer got to the ball before a defender and hooked a shot over Richard Morris and into the top corner of the goal.
The visitors were unlucky not to draw level five minutes later. Local Daventry lad Ross Oulton was brought down on the edge of the area, and the resulting free kick from Tom James was just too high, rebounding back off the crossbar and away to safety.
Daventry continued to threaten but the rest of the first half was fairly scrappy, with Warren Harris providing moments of excitement as Slough broke away down the right. Joe Henderson stretched to try and connect with a long free kick, but he couldn’t divert the ball towards the target.
Slough doubled their lead on 37 minutes with a well-worked goal. Dyer picked up the ball on the edge of the box and spotted Darren Wheeler free on the left. Wheeler, creator of so many goals, picked out Eddie Smith in the box with a pinpoint cross, and Smith placed his header beyond Morris to end his goal drought since returning from Florida.
Before the break, Dyer had a chance to make it three with a header, but Morris stopped the ball on the line, whilst Confue set up Neil King on the edge of the box, who struck across the ball, aiming for the top corner, but put his effort a foot wide.
Striker Ashley Robinson came on for Daventry at half time, with the hosts needing some impetus to get back into the game – and it took Robinson just ten minutes to make his mark, with a goal hotly disputed by Slough players. Robinson flicked the ball over Foulser and handled it on his way to poking a shot past Jake Somerville, with the goal standing despite the many protests.
The goal changed the momentum of the game and threatened to mark the start of a turnaround, as Daventry started to put Slough under severe pressure with Confue shooting wide from the edge of the box.
Slough managed to soak up the pressure well, however, with Foulser, Woozley and Hollis all particularly impressive. Confue came very close to grabbing an equaliser, but saw his shot cleared off the line by Wes Harrison as Slough stood firm and restricted the visitors to few chances.
The Rebels could have put the game beyond Daventry as a quick break presented Smith with a shooting chance, but his effort was blocked, and neither he nor Dyer could get in a second shot.
George Short replaced Wheeler as the joint managers looked to shore up midfield, and whilst Slough struggled at times to retain possession, they continued to create chances, with Warren Harris having a shot parried by Morris, and Smith’s follow-up being deflected over the bar.
Somerville needed to make an important block from Robinson to keep the score at 2-1, and Warren Harris could have wrapped up the points, but volleyed over from 12 yards.
But with 89 minutes on the clock, Dyer settled the game, much to the relief of the majority of the 270 in attendance. Warren Harris fed the striker in space on the edge of the box, and he turned away from Marcel Simpson and hit a shot on his left foot which seemed to cause Morris by surprise, as he could only watch the ball fly in.
Dyer now has nine goals in his last five games, and his strikes again helped the Rebels to an impressive win which sets the side up well for next weekend’s visit to Royston.
Daventry Town Line up
Richard Morris (c), Ashley Deeney (Guy Sanders 70), Ollie Wilkinson, Marcel Simpson, Joe Henderson, Adam Confue, Ross Oulton, Neil King, Josh Blake (Ashley Robinson 45), Tom James, Tom Lorraine. Subs not used: James Gould, Cerga Iustin, Liam Dolman.