The Rebels are really making their new Arbour Park home a fortress, and indeed Neil Baker and Jon Underwood’s side have now won all four games there so far, conceding only two goals in the process – and have now won their last nine games in all competitions.
It was clear from the outset that Leamington would provide Slough’s sternest test of the season, and early on the ‘Brakes’ took control. They were first to seemingly every ball and looked to deny Slough time and space. Danger man Ryan Rowe side footed wide from an offside position in the sixth minute, and Thompson-Brown hit a low free kick at goal which Mark Scott saved easily. Another free kick, this time from Richard Taundry, was straight into Scott’s arms.
Slough settled and worked their way into the game. A powerful run from Gavin James ended with a blocked shot, and Warren Harris – partnering James up front in the absence of the injured Lee Barney – was inches away from getting a touch to James Dobson’s delicious delivery.
The home side really should have taken the lead with 20 minutes played as Dobson’s corner found Mark Nisbet all alone at the back post, but he fired into the side netting.
Both sides showed why they had come into the game having only conceded five league goals, and James found himself superbly marshalled by Hood after Harris cleverly looked to play him in on goal. The St Vincent & The Grenadines international then saw another effort blocked as Leamington held firm again.
But with 36 minutes played, Slough broke the deadlock with the goal coming from another corner won by the tenacious Sean Fraser. This time, Dobson’s delivery was missed by Nathan Webb, but James was in the perfect position to bury the loose ball, with Tony Breeden getting a touch but unable to keep the ball out.
Slough took their lead into the interval after seeing Jack Edwards head well over the bar and another Taundry free kick blocked by the defensive wall.
Both sides were forced in a change at half time, with Courtney Baker-Richardson replacing Ahmed Obeng for Leamington and Dan Hicks coming on for the injured Nisbet for Slough.
The home side needed to dig in early in the second half as Leamington’s more direct style started to cause problems. Baker-Richardson shot wide from outside the box, whilst Connor Gudger saw a shot blocked by Fraser following a fine move.
Mark Scott was alert again to get in a good position to hold Baker-Richardson’s volley from 25 yards as the Brakes stepped up the pressure.
Slough’s defensive resilience continued and then, with 66 minutes played, the Rebels doubled their lead. The home side had just seen an appeal for a free kick waved away when Harris was fouled again 25 yards out, giving Dobson the opportunity to whip a direct free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner past Breeden’s despairing dive.
Five minutes later, Scott made an acrobatic save from James Mace, and later Rowe and Gudger were thwarted again by defensive blocks as Slough looked to shut up shop.
Four minutes remained when substitute Zak Lilly looked certain to score after seeing an initial shot saved, but heroic defending from Paul Stonehouse on the line kept the ball out.
Leamington continued to threaten Scott’s goal as the match entered stoppage time. Rowe’s point blank header was straight at the keeper, and Robbie Thompson-Brown’s strike was turned over fairly comfortably, but time ran out for the visitors and Slough were able to claim three more precious points to maintain their excellent start to the season.
Leamington Line up
Tony Breeden (c), Ben George, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Robbie Thompson-Brown, Richard Taundry, Ryan Rowe, Jack Edwards, Ahmed Obeng. Subs: Courtney Baker-Richardson, Zak Lilly, Joe Magunda, Tom James, Lee Moore.