Stratford defeat under-par Rebels

Slough Town

Slough Town

Mpi (7), Putman (55)
Stratford Town

Stratford Town

McGrath (14), Sheldon (38), Ahenkorah (43), Gregory (64)
League Attendance: 261 Daniel Hicks
Visitors Stratford overpowered Slough at Holloways Park and claimed a deserved three points, despite falling behind early on.

Stratford's Richard Gregory produced a diving save from Mark Scott in only the fourth minute, but three minutes later Slough took the lead. Charlie Mpi beat goalkeeper Andy Kemp to the ball as he raced onto a pass forward from midfield, and the Rebels striker benefitted as the ball bounced away from Kemp, allowing him an easy finish into the empty net from outside the box.

But eight minutes later, Michael McGrath won a disputed free kick decision. He dusted himself down before curling a delightful effort into the bottom corner with his left foot from around 25 yards.

Stratford went on to dominate the first half, particularly the midfield battle, with Slough unable to get a grip on the game as McGrath and Jack Roberts were doing for Stratford. Slough were guilty of wasting possession and conceding a number of free kicks in dangerous areas.

Neat play from striker Edwin Ahenkorah set up pacy wide player Aaron Moses-Garvey, whose dangerous low cross-shot was well cleared by Slough skipper Adrian Sear.

At the other end, Lewis Putman showed good skill to dink the ball over the head of a defender, but on his weaker right foot, was only able to scoop the ball well over the bar.

Stratford then punished Slough twice in the space of five minutes at the end of the first half to effectively settle the match.

On 38 minutes, Edwin Ahenkorah burst through the Slough midfield after Warren Harris had seen a fierce shot blocked at the other end. He then played in Jamie Sheldon, who took advantage of the time and space afforded to him before tucking the ball past Scott from 12 yards.

Five minutes later, Stratford gave the Rebels a mountain to climb when Ahenkorah beat Scott after turning past two Slough defenders. The goal again came from a direct run through the heart of the Slough defence, which opened up in front of Roberts, who teed up Ahenkorah for his goal.

Slough started the second half better and pulled one back on 55 minutes, with Putman lashing a shot past Andy Kemp after Stratford failed to clear.

Stratford regained control after this positive passage of play from Slough, and McGrath released Gregory with a super pass, only for Scott to rush out and block the striker's attempt.

The Rebels replaced both strikers in an attempt to get back on level terms, but instead Stratford restored their two goal lead on 66 minutes. McGrath was again at the heart of the move, winning the ball and moving it on to Sheldon. The midfielder stayed upright after a clumsy challenge on the edge of the box from Guy Hollis, and crucially referee James Whittaker allowed the play to continue instead of awarding a free kick, with Richard Gregory sending Scott the wrong way with a cool finish.

Stratford never looked back from there and kept Slough at bay fairly comfortably. Substitute Ed Smith wasted Slough's best chance, shooting well over as the ball dropped to him in the box from Kemp's punched clearance, but the visitors were in no mood to let the three points slip from their grasp.

Stratford Town Lineup

Andy Kemp, Gary Moran (c), Kieren Westwood, Anthony Charles, Liam Francis, Jack Roberts, Aaron Moses-Garvey, Michael McGrath, Richard Gregory (Aaron Stringfellow 83), Edwin Ahenkorah (Simeon Tulloch 46), Jamie Sheldon. Subs not used: Rob Thompson-Brown, Alex Price, Marcel Simpson.


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