Lowly Stortford spoil Dodds' debut

Bishop's Stortford

Bishop's Stortford

Dear (50)
Slough Town

Slough Town

League Trevor Porter
Slough Town, having ended their relegation fears with three successive wins, showed their old failings on Saturday when they lost to bottom-of-the-table Bishop's Stortford in a dull Isthmian League tussle.

Rowan Dodds, a 17-year-old striker who has scored over 20 goals with the reserve and youth teams this season, was brought in for his league debut but found the pace a little too much for him. In contrast Bishop's Stortford's newcomer Ben Robb, ripped the Slough defence to pieces.

But Robb is vastly more experienced than Dodds, who explained afterwards: "I found the football a lot harder but I didn't feel fully match fit as I hadn't played for two weeks."

Dodds, a 6ft 2in. West Indian who lives in Bath Road, Slough, needs to be faster off the mark but nevertheless he showed a few neat touches and could be a good prospect for the future.

Manager Joe Arpino explained that, following the departure of Kieran Somers he had intended to play Bruce Poynter. He added: "Unfortunately Poynter did not turn up so I quickly signed on Dodds and gave him a chance. I thought we could have won with a little luck."

But I agreed with Stortford boss Ron Duke who said: "Although we did not play well, we could have won by three or four goals."

Slough's attack lacked power and when Stortford eventually realised that they had little to fear they were able to find the gaps in a visiting defence that sadly missed the injured Tim Turl.

Dodds should have scored after only nine minutes when Lee put him through but he was too slow and the ball was cleared to the other end where Simmons outpaced Reardon, only to fire wide.

Slough's more thoughtful approach work gave them the edge at this stage with Russell twice breaking through and firing off target. But Slough had a let off in the 29th minute when Referee B. Robinson turned down Bishop's Stortford's penalty appeals for hands against Beyer.

Town also had a scare at the start of the second-half, Robb getting in a close range header which keeper Porter did well to tip over. But Porter then gave away a free-kick from which Stortford scored in the 50th minute.

He handled just outside his area in preventing Robb reaching the ball following a mistake by Reardon, and former Dagenham star John Dear drove the free-kick into the net. I would not agree with manager Arpino that Porter could be blamed for giving away the free-kick but we both felt Porter should have got to Dear's shot.

After 61 minutes Slough sent on substitute Cooke for Dodds and almost equalised within seconds when Russell fastened on to a poor back pass and steered the ball wide of keeper Carrick, only to see it roll the wrong side of the far post.

Friend, Reardon, Beyer and Underwood were all struggling to find their form and it summed up Slough's abysmal second-half display when Horastead's 75th minute shot cleared the stand behind the home side's goal. Horastead almost made amends with a fine run through the middle but this time he shot just over the bar.

Man-of-the-match Robb went even closer for Stortford with a thunderbolt of a shot which Porter somehow tipped around the post.

Bishop's Stortford Lineup


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