A Stylish Send Off

Slough Town

Slough Town

Stanley (23, 2-0, 75)
Wokingham Town

Wokingham Town

Harris (64)
League Attendance: 461 Neal Stanley
Neal Stanley dished out a lesson in clinical finishing to his former club with a splendid hat-trick that secured Slough third place in the Vauxhall-Opel League Premier Division. However, Stanley's individual achievement was simply one facet of a tremendous overall team performance in an enthralling finale to the Rebels' season, just three days before they set off on their end-of-season tour to Portugal.

Between the two of them, Slough and Wokingham served up a thoroughly entertaining 90 minutes that brought a standing ovation from the mildly disappointing crowd. Both sides endeavored to play an attractive passing game at all times, but it was the Rebels' combination of skill and relentless running that settled the matter and made them well worth their two goal margin of victory. Nevertheless, their triumph was tingled with disappointment.

"We have finished third for the second year running and you have got to wonder about our consistency, explained manager Alan Davies. "Of the main contenders we had possibly the best chance of beating Yeovil to the title, but a bad run at the wrong time put paid to that," he added.

However, Davies can no have failed to be pleased to finish the season with three wins running, and the £1,325 prize for third place will help alleviate the disappointment of missing out on the title. In the first half that saw the balance of power ebb and flow with alarming frequency, Wokingham made most of the early running.

With eight minutes gone, a delightful exchange between David Cox and Micky Spencer took the latter into the Slough area only to shoot into the side-netting, and three minutes later, Derek Cottrell forced an athletic tip over save from Trevor Bunting.

Slough's first opening soon followed, and fullback Trevor How was unlucky to see his flicked header cleared off the line as Jimmy Brown moved in for the kill. But there was no escape for the visitors in the 23rd minute as Stanley headed home the rebound after another How header had been denied by the crossbar.

Wokingham finished the half strongly, but were delt a savage blow when Wayne Wanklyn delivered a defence splitting ball into the path of Tony Dennis. The fleet-of-foot wide man raced down the right flank, his cross took a slight deflection and Stanley was on hand to guide a perfect header inside the far post.

The visitors doubled their efforts after the break, but Slough's combative midfield snuffed out then advances to good effect for a lacklustre 20-minute spell. Never-say-die Wokingham brought the game back to life in the 64th minute when Mark Harris headed home from Nicky Collier's far post corner to reduce the deficit.

Brian Broome came desperately close to netting the equaliser only a minute later as he headed inches wide of the upright.

Brown almost wrapped it up for Slough in the 67th minute when he stooped down to meet Stanley's tantalising cross with his head, but he could only stare in disbelief as his header struck the angle between crossbar and upright and somehow stayed out.

Some may have seen Brown's slice of misfortune as a bad omen, but their worries were proved unfounded, when with 15 minutes remaining, Stanley completed his hat-trick by sending Bracey the wrong way with a firmly driven shot from 15 yards.

Wokingham Town Lineup

Bracey, Smart, Alexander, Harris, Cotlier, Cox, Atkin, Broome, Spencer, Nunn, Cottrell. Subs: Purser (not used), Patterson (for Cottrell 45 mins.).


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