Rebels fight back to claim a point at league leaders Poole

Poole Town

Poole Town

Dickson (5), Spetch (26), Wort (68)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Hallahan (42, 88), Jepson (57)
League Attendance: 429 Nathan Fox
Despite missing a number of key players through injury and unavailability, Slough battled back from being 2-0 and 3-2 down to secure a creditable point against runaway league leaders Poole.

And it was two of Neil Baker and Jon Underwood’s recent signings, James Jepson and Basingstoke Town loanee George Hallahan, who scored the goals that twice pulled the Rebels level at the Tatnam ground.

The Rebels lined up playing a 4-5-1 formation with Charlie Mpi the lone striker. Ryan Case, who also joined on a short-term basis from Basingstoke this week, slotted in at right-back with Sean Fraser taking a place in midfield.

The Dorset side made an ideal start, taking the lead with just five minutes played. Will Spetch found Lee Wort with a long ball forward, and despite Mark Scott’s best efforts in coming out to block the effort, the ball fell kindly to Jack Dickson, who was able to find the empty net from around 30 yards out.

This early momentum continued for Poole, who charged forward again, with Lewis Lyndsay’s shot blocked after he was picked out by Jack Dickson.

Slough struggled to keep the ball in the Poole half as the pressure intensified, and Dickson tried his luck from 25 yards but the ball went high and wide.

As if Slough weren’t struggling enough with injuries, Adrian Sear had to make an early exit from the game with just over 20 minutes played, and he was replaced by young striker Hallahan, who moved to play on the right of midfield.

Hallahan was almost immediately in the action, picking the ball up in his own half and charging forward, but seeing his shot from the edge of the area deflected through to Nick Hutchings for an easy save.

And on 26 minutes, Poole underlined their early authority on the game with a second goal. From a corner, Spetch’s powerful header found the net as he evaded Slough’s attempts at marking, with Scott unable to react quickly enough.

Minutes later, another corner almost resulted in a third goal, with Michael Walker’s header deflected wide – and from another corner, Hallahan headed off the line from Marvin Brooks.

Slough worked hard to stay in the game and counter-attack where they could, but Mpi was often an isolated figure. He almost made something happen as he charged down an attempted clearance from Hutchings, but the ball deflected kindly for a Poole defender.

A powerful free kick was well saved by Scott, Spetch’s well-hit effort being turned away at full stretch, with the ball being cleared away.

Having dominated the first half and unlucky not to be more than two goals ahead, Poole were pegged back on 42 minutes. A quick break from the Rebels ended with Mpi finding Hallahan, whose side-footed shot went underneath Hutchings and nestled in the back of the net.

It was a crucial goal for the Rebels, and still Poole had a chance to restore their two-goal lead before half time, but Lyndsay fired wide after a strong run from Luke Burbidge took him into the box.

Slough started the second half very positively, with Hallahan again causing problems as he crossed low, but Jamie Whisken got in front of Hutchings to clear it behind.

On 57 minutes, Slough were level. James Jepson capitalised with Poole appealing for a foul by Mpi, and poked the ball past Hutchings, who got a touch to it but could not prevent it from rolling in.

Slough’s confidence rose as a result, and the Rebels looked more dangerous, but had an amazing let-off soon after as Walker somehow headed wide in front of an empty net with the Poole supporters already celebrating.

The visitors were now looking the more dangerous team, with Poole unable to replicate their first half performance. Despite this, Poole regained the lead on 68 minutes. The home side broke away quickly and Brooks found Wort, who broke clear and saw his shot saved by the foot of the advancing Scott, only for the ball again to fall kindly to Wort, who finished neatly from distance.

Slough did not relent in their pursuit of another equaliser, and pushed Hallahan up front alongside Mpi. Just as it looked like Poole would hold on to all three points, Hallahan struck again with two minutes remaining.

Nathan Fox crossed in to the box, Mpi headed on and Walker’s defensive header fell straight to Hallahan, who smashed the ball past Hutchings on the volley to spark celebrations.

The Rebels were not quite finished there, and could have scored an unlikely winner with Mpi having two chances, the first saved by Hutchings and the second flashing across goal with nobody in a purple shirt able to get a telling touch.

In the closing minutes, Justin Clayton replaced Lewis Putman as Slough looked to shore up their defence and hold on to a hard-earned point, and the Rebels weathered a period of Poole pressure to see the game out after a much-improved second half performance.

Poole Town Lineup

Nick Hutchings, Lewis Tallack, Will Spetch, Michael Walker, Jamie Whisken (c), Carl Pettefer, Luke Burbidge, Lewis Lyndsay, Lee Wort, Marvin Brooks, Jack Dickson. Subs: Alan Connell, Tom Rees, Toby Holmes, Richard Gillespie, Ollie Davis.


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