After back to back defeats against Cirencester and Dunstable, Slough were desperate for a change in fortunes, but surely could not have expected such a resounding victory – particularly with only three recognised defenders in the starting line-up. Leigh Rumbold slotted in to the back four to partner the outstanding Guy Hollis, Ben Edwards came in to the starting line-up in midfield, whilst Adrian Sear captained the Rebels in the absence of Jamie McClurg against his former club.
Slough had the strong wind advantage in the first half, and this seemed to unsettle the hosts as the Rebels threatened early on. Hollis’ long throw was headed on by Edwards, and Scott Harris just missed the ball in front of goal.
Chris Dillon, one of the many impressive attacking options for the Saints, headed over from recent signing David Hutton’s cross.
Both sides seemed to struggle with the conditions, with St Neots finding the ball holding up and Slough over hitting passes, but Slough took the lead with 18 minutes played. Harris saw his strike saved by Paul Bastock, but Eddie Smith was on hand to poach the rebound and score his 13th goal of the season.
St Neots tried to respond, but Matt Spring fired well wide and Drew Roberts shot straight at Jake Somerville from a good position.
Slough went close as a Ryan Parsons free kick flew all the way across goal without getting a final touch, but soon after, the visitors found themselves two goals ahead. Smith was on hand again, this time finding space in the box after Harris had blocked an attempted clearance, and he superbly lifted a shot into the roof of the net to double his tally.
Slough still had time to find a third goal before the half-time whistle, giving an unlikely score of 0-3. Luke Knight saw a low shot well saved by Bastock, but moments later Slough carved the hosts open with a super team move. Jake Parsons won the ball and played in Smith, and the striker laid the ball off to Harris, who slotted the ball into the net to give his side significant headroom.
After such a superb half of football, Slough needed to be prepared for a St Neots comeback, particularly with the hosts having the wind advantage.
Dillon brought a good save from Somerville following a fine move from the home side, and later on Ryan Parsons needed to clear off the line after a ball into the box caused some consternation.
The hosts brought on Ben Mackey to play alongside Roberts and Dillon as the second half wore on, but Slough looked unperturbed, with Smith having a strong penalty appeal waved away by referee Lee Forrester, and soon after Adrian Sear was inches away from making the necessary contact to turn Luke Knight’s free kick goalwards.
Slough broke again with Edwards finding Smith, who almost found a way past Bastock again, but this time the keeper was alert and saved at the striker’s feet. The Rebels continued to frustrate their hosts and play neat passing football along the ground, closing down quickly whenever the ball was lost.
Late on, Somerville – whose arrival shortly before kick-off was another welcome boost, with coach Trent Phillips set to take his place between the posts – saved well from the ever more desperate St Neots strikers Roberts and Mackey, but the Rebels, composed and disciplined after recent disappointments, held on to claim all three points and a clean sheet.
Another big plus for Slough was the return of club captain Adam Foulser to the substitutes’ bench as he continues to prepare for his comeback following last season’s anterior cruciate ligament injury.
St Neots Town Line up
Paul Bastock, David Deeney, Bruce Wilson, David Hutton, Tom Ward, Gavin Hoyte (c), Jay Davies, Matt Spring, Chris Dillon, Drew Roberts, Lewis Hilliard. Subs: Ben Mackey, Max York, Dean Cracknell, Nathan Frater, Ben Ford.