Yet Horsham, who themselves were without Ron Hartley and Jock Mearns, were dreadful at the start. They had no bite, their passes went astray, and they looked as if they didn’t care whether they won or not.
Then, as if the home side were waiting for their visitors to assume a full compliment of players, within a few minutes of the arrival of the missing duo they settled down and the game livened up.
The ensuing seventy minutes certainly did not show Horsham at their dominant best but, in a match not without thrills, Gordon New proved himself a fiery and willing leader, Mick Browning found the four-goal trail and poor Tony Lee, apparently feeling sorry for the Slough forwards, flicked the ball past his own ’keeper.
In the early stages, Slough were much more workmanlike when they got the ball and looked dangerous in swinging attacks. But as they failed to score, they lost heart and Horsham coasted to a relatively easy win.
Had they scored, and they went close on several occasions in the first half following well-prompted attacks, it might have been a different story.
But, as it was, Horsham deservedly went ahead after twenty-eight minutes when Browning accepted a well-judged Brister pass, jinked his way through and unleashed a lovely left-footed drive into the roof of the net.
The equaliser might have come shortly afterwards when left-winger Patterson drove narrowly wide after accepting a glorious crossfield pass. Or when Lee coolly dribbled the ball off the Horsham goal-line with goalkeeper Ron Watson beaten. Lee also cleared another goalworthy effort at full stretch.
The note of the post-interval whistle had scarcely died away when Lee hid his head in his hands after putting Slough on level terms.
With the ball going harmlessly wide he suddenly, and apparently without reason, flicked it past the amazed Watson. Fortunately for his morale, it did not matter for Browning, after a move in which Johnny Browning had put New in possession and Jimmy Carter had centred the ball, unhesitatingly crashed Horsham into the lead again.
This was more like the real Horsham, whose forward-line now read Dennis Stillwell, Carter, Mick Browning, New and Keith Brister, was at last clicking into gear. New, who was getting through a tremendous amount of work, put in a flashing left-footed drive which was extremely well taken by the goalkeeper.
Stillwell then went close, first with a drive across the face of the goal, and then with a shot that was kicked off the goal-line with the goalkeeper helpless before Browning made his total three from a Brister centre.
It was Brister who again crossed the pass for Browning to score the final goal of the match.
A thoroughly dispirited Slough were lucky to escape an even heavier beating when, in the closing stages, Browning again broke through from a New pass. Hotly challenged, he drove against an upright and, following up, Brister lobbed the ball back into the goalmouth where it slipped through the goalkeeper’s hands. But in some miraculous manner it was scrambled round the post in the melee.
Horsham Line up
Ron Watson, Tony Lee, Geoff Crowther, Billy Bell, John Browning, Roy Mobsby, Jimmy Carter, Denis Stillwell, Gordon New, Mick Browning, Keith Brister.