Hodges stunner helps Slough to opening day win

Slough Town

Slough Town

Hodges (45+1)
Hemel Hempstead Town

Hemel Hempstead Town

League Paul Hodges
A wonder-strike from Paul Hodges helped Slough Town to an opening-day victory over Hemel Hempstead Town in National League South.

It was a goal which deserved a large crowd, but current circumstances mean that matches continue to be played behind closed doors, with only a few lucky people able to witness it in person.

After a superb 1-0 win at Dartford in the Emirates FA Cup, the Rebels started the better of the two sides and Hodges got in the first effort at goal, but Danny Boness made a comfortable save.

Jack Turner got down well to save from striker Matt Bateman, and on 20 minutes Ben Harris went closer still for Slough, pouncing on a through ball and turning his man before smashing a shot against the foot of the post.

Minutes later, Harris might well have done better after Boness failed to claim a Jack McKnight corner, but he could only blaze the ball over the bar.

Turner was perhaps fortunate on 35 minutes as his poor clearance was seized upon by Reggie Young, but Turner saved to make up for his error.

McKnight then went agonisingly close to opening the scoring with a free kick, but his effort was inches over the crossbar.

But on the stroke of half time, Hodges produced the one moment of brilliance in the match.

Finding space around 30 yards from goal, he took aim with his left foot and lashed the ball into the top left hand corner, giving Boness no chance.

Jack McKnight almost got in on the act twice at the start of the second half, forcing Boness to make good saves on both occasions.

Then, Bateman again got into a good position but wasted his chance, this time heading over the bar from inside the six yard box.

On 63 minutes, Norwich City loanee Louis Lomas was unlucky to see his deflected strike come back off the crossbar, the defender having cut in from the left side.

It was not all good news for Slough, as having lost Ada Okorogheye to injury on Saturday, Ben Harris found himself unable to play the final 17 minutes, and was replaced by Ryan Bird.

Slough were forced back by Hemel for a spell, and after Jacob Cook’s long-range strike sailed harmlessly wide, Bateman again found himself with just Turner to beat, but his tame effort was straight into the keeper’s arms.

Hemel made a double change, introducing Danny Webb and Kyle Ajayi, but aside from a Jake Evans free kick which Turner claimed easily, the visitors were unable to fashion another chance – and Slough went close to sealing the win as Matt Lench curled an effort narrowly wide from an acute angle.

Hemel Hempstead Town Lineup

Danny Boness, Jacques Kpohomouh, Tyrese Owen, Jake Howells (c), Ryan Kinnane, Luke Howell, Jake Evans, Jacob Cook, Matt Bateman, JJ Lacey, Reggie Young. Substitutes: Dean Snedker, Ade Cole, Kyle Ajayi, Danny Webb, Teddy Perkins.


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