Two Warren Harris goals separated the sides, one in each half, after the visiting Crows had taken an early lead. But the in-form Rebels hit back and secured a deserved three points, despite late pressure from the visitors, with Jake Somerville also making a wonderful one-handed save to deny them in the second half.
A fifth-minute goal from Warren Harris set Slough on the way to victory at Royston in the reverse fixture back in November, but this time it was the Crows that struck first, also with five minutes played. Reece Dobson found space on the right and picked out an unmarked Ryan Ingrey in the penalty area, who headed past Somerville. The goalkeeper was rooted to the spot.
Slough had stuck to the same starting eleven that won so convincingly at North Greenford in midweek, but unlike on Tuesday, the Rebels’ start was sluggish. However, Ed Smith was almost in on goal, but goalkeeper Nick Thompson rushed out well to clear.
It didn’t take long for Slough to draw level though, with the Harris brothers again combining to good effect – Scott playing the ball to his left for Warren, who chose to hit it on the half-volley from 20 yards out. The strike seemed to catch Thompson by surprise as it flew past him and nestled in the bottom corner.
In such an important fixture, with Royston still harbouring hopes of making the playoffs themselves, the match was predictably tight and scrappy, with the visitors having slightly the better of the midfield battle. Both sides got into good positions and Royston’s Joe De La Salle was unlucky to see his headed attempt from a corner blocked in the six yard box, whilst at the other end, a cross from Scott Harris was defended superbly by full-back Lewis Endacott, who touched the ball over for a corner just in front of Smith, who was ready to pounce.
Scott Harris was forced off with a knee injury shortly afterwards after stretching to try and keep the ball in play, and was replaced by Adam Cornell.
A series of stoppages in play frustrated both sides, who both put together promising attacks without troubling the goalkeepers unduly as the first half drew to a close.
After a scrappy start to the second half, Cornell blazed over from inside the six yard box after McClurg dummied a low cross from Warren Harris, and Royston were unlucky when a corner flashed all the way across the Slough goalmouth and wide.
Slough upped the tempo and heaped pressure on the visitors, with Thompson called upon to palm away a fierce cross from James Dobson as he escaped the attention of Endacott.
But the pressure told, and on 67 minutes Slough took the lead. A poor clearance put Royston under pressure, and from the next attack, the ball was worked out wide to Dobson. His cross was inch-perfect for Warren Harris to run on to and head the ball down and past Thompson, prompting massive celebrations.
George Short had replaced Dan Sintim before this goal and made an impact – he could have made it 3-1, but his bullet header was kept out by Thompson. Cornell then should have scored from the next corner, but missed his kick completely as Dobson played a low ball to the near post.
The save of the match was undoubtedly from Somerville, though, and in the end it may well have been the difference between three points and just one. He dived full length to his left to tip Luke Robins’ goalbound header onto the post, with Sean Fraser on hand to clear as the ball dropped into the danger area. The home side were also indebted to Dave Woozley for a superb challenge which halted a dangerous attack.
Slough survived late pressure from a good Royston side, and held on to claim a massive three points ahead of an equally important match this Thursday evening at Barton Rovers.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jake Somerville
- 2 Sean Fraser
- 3 Ryan Parsons
- 4 Guy Hollis
- 5 David Woozley
- 6 Dan Sintim 12
- 7 Scott Harris 16
- 8 Jamie McClurg
- 9 Edward Smith
- 10 Warren Harris
- 11 James Dobson 15
Royston Town Line up
Nick Thompson, Lewis Endacott, Jhai Dhillon, Ross Collins (c), Joe De La Salle, Jack Bradshaw, Ryan Ingrey (Ryan Lockett), Spyros Mentis (Robbie Nightingale), Kaan Fehmi, Reece Dobson, Luke Robins (Craig Hammond). Subs not used: Adrian Cambridge, George Lawton.