Read hits two in super Slough comeback

Slough Town

Slough Town

Read (36, 48), Yorke (55)
St Neots Town

St Neots Town

Roberts (16), Clarke (17), Hilliard (26)
League Attendance: 354 Jake Parsons
Dan Read scored his first goals for Slough as the Rebels recovered from 3-0 down to take a point in this absorbing game against St Neots Town, who are chasing a playoff spot.

With top scorer Eddie Smith carrying a tight hamstring, Read partnered Scott Harris in attack as Slough made a promising start to the match.

Harris twice came close to opening the scoring, as first veteran keeper Paul Bastock palmed away one effort before Harris saw another cleared off the line. Before that, Slough had to weather an early flurry of attacks from the visitors, with Brett Longden firing wide from distance and Lewis Hilliard forcing Luke Williams into a fine save low by his post.

Slough were perhaps slightly unlucky not to take the lead when Read looped a header into the top corner, however the ball was adjudged to have crossed the goal-line before Jake Parsons delivered it into the middle.

Almost immediately, the visiting 'Saints' took the lead on 16 minutes. A poor clearance fell straight to Drew Roberts, and the striker made no mistake with a first-time shot finding the bottom corner of the goal from the edge of the box.

Slough’s recent defensive woes continued as they conceded another cheap goal within a minute. St Neots won possession and space opened up for Lee Clarke, who capitalised fully, picking his spot from 20 yards to place the ball beyond Williams.

Far from throwing in the towel, Slough battled to create openings, and Jake Parsons saw a fierce strike blocked for a corner, from which Tom Moran hooked the ball a foot over the bar. Bastock also did well to turn behind a curling effort from Chris Henry, but the visitors defended the resulting corner.

And on 26 minutes, St Neots looked to have put the game beyond the Rebels with a third goal. A long throw fell to Lewis Hilliard, who smashed the ball past Luke Williams through a crowded penalty area.

Again, Slough fought back, with a very decent effort from Adam Martin flying just wide of Bastock’s post, and soon after, Bastock was fortunate his defence were alert to clear after he fumbled a catch.

Crucially, Slough were able to find a goal before the half-time whistle, and Read was the man to get it. After seeing a flicked header from a corner come back off the bar, Read reduced the deficit with his first goal for the club, turning and firing past Bastock on 36 minutes after St Neots failed to clear a long throw.

Henry planted a volley straight into the arms of Bastock as Slough looked to reduce the arrears further, but Roberts was close to scoring a fourth just before the interval for St Neots.

Three minutes into the second half, Read scored again to reduce the deficit to just one. The former Godalming and Egham striker reacted quickest after Reece Yorke’s towering header back across goal from a Jake Parsons corner, and nipped in front of his man to poke the ball into the net from close range.

And on 55 minutes, the comeback was complete when Yorke smashed home a loose ball after a free kick into the box caused confusion. It was clear that the visitors were uncomfortable dealing with Slough’s set pieces, particularly after losing captain Ryan Frater to illness, with the big defender being replaced at half time.

Both sides sought a winning goal as the game flowed from end to end, with Williams alert to keep out an effort from Roberts with his foot, and then Matt Spring fired a shot well over.

Harris was almost played clean through as the St Neots defence hesitated, and after his shot was deflected, Bastock claimed the ball before Henry could pounce.

Henry proved to be a constant threat for St Neots in the second half, and was on the receiving end of a few rough tackles from the visitors as they struggled to contain him. The game became more scrappy, and St Neots applied most of the pressure late on as they looked to secure a crucial three points. Ryan Parsons got in a last-ditch header with Nathan Frater lurking at the back post.

The visitors went closest to finding a winning goal, with Williams keeping out an effort from Longden late on, but both sides had to settle for a point, which was a fair result overall.

St Neots Town Lineup

Paul Bastock, Brett Longden, Jack Wilkinson, Matt Mitchell-King, Ryan Frater, Adam Tann (c), Nathan Frater, Matt Spring, Lee Clarke, Drew Roberts, Lewis Hilliard. Subs: Josh Bickerstaff, Bruce Wilson, Sam Harty, Luis Vieira, Ebey Marango.


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