Rebels Go Top

Slough Town

Slough Town

Stanley (1-0), Dennis (43)


League Attendance: 337 Des McMahon
Slough made an efficient job of picking up the pieces after their shock defeat at Hayes by bouncing back with a victory that saw them take up the running at the top of the league, albeit very briefly. Victory was essential if Slough were to maintain their Vauxhall-Opel League Premier Division Challenge with so many of their rivals catching up their games in hand. The previous week's defeat showed just how tenuous that challenge is, but Slough made no mistakes in the Wexham Park fog, dispatching the visitors to take advantage of Windsor's defeat at Yeovil.

However, the thick fog that slowly enveloped Wexham Park as the game progressed, threatened to deny their chance. Indeed, the dying minutes will remain a mystery to many of the spectators, unable to pick out the ball in the descending gloom.

Fortunately for Slough, the referee had no such problems and kept up with the play while the home fans sweated out the final minutes hoping the game would go the distance. Slough manager Alan Davies defended the referee for deciding to play despite the fast decreasing visibility and pointed out: "The rule is that the referee must be able to see both goals from the halfway line. And what you must remember is that although we may not have been able to see the far side of the pitch from the dug out or in the stand, the referee is a lot closer to the play. At the end of the day, it was not as bad as it appeared from the sidelines."

Moving to the top of the table is a great confidence boost for the Rebels and Davies is intent on keeping them there. "It's nice for the players and the club," he said. "Now we have got to stay there. We have as good a chance as anyone else." Despite the obvious pleasure at being able to look down on the rest of the Premier Division, Davies was most pleased with the way his squad have come through when injury problems have threatened to disrupt them.

He acknowledged that the game was far from a classic, but explained: "It's always difficult against lower sides. It was a bit sticky out there and didn't really suit our style of play, but you have got to win and that's what we did."

The Rebels have enjoyed a fairly settled line-up during their recent good run, but injuries to Wayne Wanklyn and Dennis Powell with Paul Waites back after a bout of flu meant that Davies was forced to make changes. Jimmy Jacobs continued to cover for right-back Powell while Des McMahon returned to the midfield in place of Wanklyn. Waites was back after his recent illness, but Tony Dennis managed to force him onto the substitutes bench.

Davies had praise for all of them, but most of it was heaped Neal Stanley, Gary Dodd and McMahon. "Neal Gary and Des did ever so well, especially in the first half. Jimmy Brown didn't get a chance and Kenny Wilson hardly saw the ball, but we still put away two good goals," said Davies.

Davies was particularly pleased with McMahon, not so much for his good perfonnance on the field of play, but for his splendid attitude. "Wayne (Wanklyn) and Gary (Dodd) have been looking better and better, but to Des's (McMahon) credit, he has gritted his teeth and stuck to the task of getting back in the side when some players might have jacked it in," said Davies.

"Everyone is pulling together and its up to them to keep performing and make it hard for the others to get back in," added Davies.

Although Wilson and Brown never really got into the action, their good work paved the way for Stanley to give the Rebels the perfect start. After a scrappy opening, Wilson chipped a cross into Brown as he hovered around the penalty spot. The striker then displayed excellent control as he knocked a splendid short ball into the path of Stanley who clinically slotted past keeper John O'Brien as the helpless Barking defence made unconvincing appeals for offside.

Slough's early lead forced the visitors to come on the attack. And although this produced some fast end to end football, neither side could carve a genuine scoring opportunity. Dennis almost provided an opening for Stanley in the 19th minute, but Liam Gallagher arrived at the last minute to knock Dennis's well struck first time cross behind for a corner.

Stanley almost produced a goal out of nothing in the 29th minute, but his ambitious overhead kick was blocked and cleared.

Wilson had a better chance two minutes later. Another good run from Dennis saw him glide past a static Adrian Lemoine before sending a low cross past Brown at the near post to find Wilson well placed to score. Sadly for the home side, the Slough winger mishit his shot from 10 yards out.

With the Rebels starting to take control, Barking issued them with a warning not to take them for granted. As the Rebels' defence tried to play the offside trap, Lemoine aimed a long ball towards the edge of the Slough area. Mark Kane made a well timed run through the Slough rearguard and keeper Trevor Bunting was caught in no mans land as the diminutive striker headed just wide.

However, just two minutes before the interval, Slough supplied the killer blow with another well worked goal. Wilson again set things in motion with a long ball up to Brown who headed down for Keith White to send a fine first time cross to the far post for an unmarked Dennis to apply the finishing touch from close range.

Barking brought on substitutes Ian Edet and Jason Coles on for Micky Engwell and Martin Wood at the break, but their fortunes remained the same. Both sides worked hard in midfield, but neither could work an opening in the opposing defences. Slough came closest with Brown volleying wide in the 58th minute and Stanley mis-hitting a first time effort in the following minute.

As the fog descended it became a race for time with Slough hoping to finish before the conditions became to bad to continue. fortunately they made it through to the final whistle, but not before Tony Knight almost handed Barking an injury time consolation goal with a back pass knocked too short, forcing Bunting to save at the feet of Kane.

Barking Lineup

O'Brien, Gallagher Lemoine, Mosely, Hatter, Kane Coney, Wilson, Spires, Engwell Wood. Subs: Edet (for Wooc 45mins.), Coles (for Engwell 45mins.).


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