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Dartford (H)
Sun Jul 19
15:00

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Dartford (H)
Sun Jul 19 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
5th
60pts

WHAT A SHOCKER

| League
Slough Town
Dennis (22)
1 - 0
Hitchin Town
Unknown
As Slough came under continuing criticism following the previous week's defeat at Tooting and Mitcham, Alan Davies's Rebels knuckled down to get back to winning ways with a hard fought victory in terrible conditions on Saturday.

With the visit of Hitchin to Wexham Park, many were expecting a goal glut similar to the 6-1 triumph recorded by Alan Davies's men earlier in the season. However, Slough found themselves faced with an entirely different proposition as they were forced to battle with great determination to hold onto a slender lead secured with a freak goal direct from a corner.

Still upset by the criticism that followed the Tooting game, Davies said of the victory: "I thought we played a lot better last week than we did today. We made one silly mistake at Tooting and paid the penalty. Today was one of the worst games that will be seen out here this season, but it would have been the same whoever had been playing. However, Hitchin's league position makes them a little desperate and they closed us down quickly in the first half and battled well, but we still came out on top."

To coin a phrase, it's a funny old game, and with some oh so strange results being returned at the weekend, Davies also found the previous week's claims that Slough are out of the title race a little hard to understand.

He has maintained throughout that the championship fight could go on right until the final bell, and believes that Slough must take a look at themselves and string a few results together rather than worry about the other teams with champiosnhip winning aspirations.

However, one thing in their favour is the arrival of new signing of Trevor How. His registration was hurried through to enable him to play on Saturday, and his presence played no small part in the Rebels victory.

Despite having played in only one friendly fixture (for Slough against Feltham last week) following hamstring trouble, How turned in a solid performance at right-back in difficult circumstances. But, with a wealth of football league experience with Watford behind him, anything less would have been a little disappointing.

Davies' was pleased with How's debut and said: "Trevor is a very good player. Even if things are not going well for himself, he'll organise well and spur the others on. That is one part of our game where we have been lacking and I am sure the whole side will benefit."

How certainly looks a useful acquisition, but once Wayne Wanklyn completes his fight against injury, the Rebels side will be far more balanced. Nevertheless, Slough did turn in a more determined display than at Tooting with Gary Dodd and Des McMahon showing a little more bite in midfield. Without it Slough may well have found themselves with another humiliating reverse.

As it was Hitchin never spelt any real threat to the home side's lead despite playing with a very strong wind at their backs during the second period. The visitors could manage only one on target attempt on the Slough goal and one corner during the whole match while the Rebels notched up 12 corners and six on target attempts.

Slough had that howling gale behind them in the first half and but for Hitchin's sheer determination would have have surely run riot. The visitors rarely ventured out of their own half, but their continual harrying, if a little over physical at times, kept Slough at bay.

A timely intervention from Mark Burke prevented the home side from taking a seventh minute lead when he rushed in to knock a dangerous Tony Dennis near post cross around the post for a corner. Two minutes later, Dodd rose uncharacteristically high to win an aerial challenge with Ian Kavanagh. The ball fell for Jimmy Brown whose stabbed shot was blocked by the advancing keeper. Dennis then followed up to rifle goalwards, but his effort was deflected over the bar.

Dodd was the next to get in on the act when he made a strong run across the edge of the Hitchin area before blasting a fine shot just inches wide of the upright.

It seemed only a matter of time before Slough took the lead, but when it came it was in unconventional fashion. The Rebels won a corner in the 22nd minute, Dennis curled it in to the far post, defender John Bone slipped on the line and the gusty wind helped the ball on its way as it flew inside the upright.

The furious midfield tussle continued unabated and the scrappy play was interspersed with sporadic attacks on goal.

However, a bad back pass from Dodd left How in trouble in the 28th minute. The ball ricocheted through after Richard Taylor's tackle, but Taylor's dangerous cross was just out of Mick Every's leaving Hitchin still waiting for their first shot on goal.

Slough almost increased their lead in the 37th minute, but keeper Tony Luff could only help Keith White's corner on its way to Dennis whose volley, was headed out by Steve Miller on the far post.

With only a slender one goal lead to defend against the wind, Slough knew it was going to be a tough second half and soon found themselves under pressure after the break. Although Hitchin managed to pin the home side into their own half for much of the second period, they could not find a way past the Rebels rearguard and their victory was never seriously in doubt.

Their first shot on goal came on the hour when Alan Cosby cut into the Slough area, but sliced his 15 yard attempt wide under pressure from Jimmy Jacobs.

Despite Hitchin's territorial advantage, Slough's goal never came under serious threat and they held onto their single goal lead comfortably.

Hitchin Town Line up

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