Falling Standards

Slough Town

Slough Town



The loudest buzz around Wexham Park on Saturday afternoon came as radios were tuned in to listen to the Grand National because there wasn't too much on the football field to keep the crowd entertained.

However, Slough did have some cause for celebration at the end of this disappointing Servowarm Isthmian League, Premier Division clash.

For the first time in more than 720 minutes of football the Rebels did not concede a goal. After giving away 16 goals in their last seven matches at long last Slough kept a clean sheet.

What also emerged from this generally drab encounter is the way the standard of football in the Premier Division has again dropped this season. Hayes started the day in second place and in five seasons of reporting Premier Division football in the Isthmian League I don't think I have watched such an ordinary side who hold such an exhalted position in the table.

In the space of the last three weeks the top two sides have now visited Wexham Park and Sutton United and Hayes at least on their displays against Slough can only be described as "very ordinary" teams.

Over the last three or four seasons the general standard in the Premier Division has started to drop and I would now suggest it has reached an all-time low.

Not so long ago most Premier Division sides would and indeed did have given any Gola League outfit a run for their money.

However now the gap in playing standards between the two leagues appears to be such that few Premier Division teams would hold their own in the Gola League let alone be challenging for honours.

Sutton and Hayes have both said they are not interested in Gola League football next season mainly due to the tremendous costs involved. However it's rumoured that Worthing and into the Gola League, given Wycombe are keen to move the opportunity.

The time must now be fast approaching where many clubs must realise that they have to seriously consider joining the Gola League if they want to remain among the elite in nonleague football.

However the substantial financial burden this places on them is frightening and I would suggest it's time that the top Premier Division clubs start seriously lobbying for a regionalised Gola League system.

But back now to Saturday's clash with Hayes at Wexham Park, which saw Micky Kiely playing for the Rebels after all, with Hayes agreeing late in the week that their former striker could appear in the match.

However Kiely was given few opportunities to make
his mark, and apart from two first half headers which were narrowly off target he was well marshalled by a highly disciplined Hayes defence in which Peter Suddaby and Reg Leather were outstanding.

It was Dave Alexander who went closest for Slough in the first 45 minutes following the best move of the game. Dave Russell and Rowan Dodds linked well on the right and when the ball was fed to Alexander his 20 yard shot was superbly pushed away for a corner by Paul Hyde.

Some silky skills by Hayes winger Ronnie Nelson
brought the odd touch of class to this game but generally the defences always held the upper hand. However in the second half Slough had their chances to take the three points.

Colin Tate saw his shot from ten yards saved low down by Hyde and then Russell and Alexander could not find the target from close range after some clever approach play by the Rebels.

On 57 minutes came the shot of the day and a save to match it when Les Currell did superbly well to tip over a swerving 30 yarder from Hayes substitute Steve Parsons.

Both sides battled hard in the last 20 minutes to conjure up a winner and although one could not fault the endeavour and commitment displayed throughout that little bit of sparkle required to create goals was always missing.

However in the 90th minute the Rebels almost found it and came close to snatching a dramatic winner.

For once Kiely was allowed some time and space and he produced a piercing through ball for Tate to run on to. The Slough striker did superbly to take the ball in his stride but then having created the opening shot just wide of the target.

Hayes Lineup


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