Beal loses Spurs touch as Town are held

Slough Town

Slough Town

Russell (35)


King (45)
League Dave Russell
Slough Town carelessly tossed two vital Isthmian League points down the drain on Saturday when they were held to a frustrating draw by a Leytonstone side that deserved to lose by a landslide.

Town started this match against fellow strugglers Leytonstone with a more positive attitude, but gradually slumped to an inept and sorry performance leaving their fans wondering how bad a visiting team has to be before the Rebels can chalk up another victory.

The first 20 minutes saw Slough mount attack after attack on the Leytonstone goal. Yet although the home team totally dominated midfield, and full backs Gane and Underwood were released from defensive duties to go marauding down the flanks, there was a lack of variety in approach.

Each move saw a high ball pumped to the far post and the best Kieran Somers could do was to head against the bar and send another effort over the goal. Only Barry Friend showed any imagination or tried to pull uncertain visiting defence out of position, but all too often he was left to labour alone.

Slough's uncertainty in front of goal was nothing compared to their jittery nervousness in defence where ex-Spurs centre back Phil Beal was most disappointing. In the 10th minute a lone Leytonstone attacker was needlessly chopped down by Reardon five yards outside the penalty area, and the resulting free-kick had to be scrambled round the post by Porter.

Fifteen minutes later Porter was exposed again when Powell was allowed to take a clear shot from 10 yards and only the keeper's right boot prevented Slough going one down.

These were isolated attacks by Leytonstone, who were fielding a completely reshuffled team, and Slough should have taken full advantage of the fact. In the 35th minute they finally found the back of the net after a series of scrambles. From a Friend corner, Cooke knocked the ball down to Lee whose shot struck Russell. Cooke headed the rebound goalwards and this time Russell was quick enough to glance the ball backwards into the goal.

Two minutes later Slough's best move, with Friend swopping passes with Cooke and Russell, saw the ex-Fulham player skate into the penalty area before sending a sizzling shot just past the post.

But that was the closest Slough came to adding to their tally. Leytonstone started to come more into the game, with their defence now accustomed to the procession of high crosses that owed with clockwork predictability from the wings.

Then, on the stroke of half time, the third Leytonstone attack showed just how fragile the Slough defence can be.

Steve King, a speedy winger but totally reliant on his left foot, was allowed to get within shooting distance. Porter beat out the shot but Beal and Gane managed to present King with a second attempt, after considerable confusion on the goal line. This time King squirmed past the two defenders’ weak challenges before firing the ball high into the net.

The second half merely confirmed what had proceeded in the first 45 minutes. Slough again started with vitality, but quickly ran out of ideas and steam. Each attack became increasingly hopeful and less creative as frustration took the upper hand.

By full time it was a weary and disheartened Slough side that left the field, in complete contrast to the visitors, who were made to look relatively competent by the ineptitude of the home side.

Leytonstone Lineup


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