Rebels Beaten Away

Aylesbury United

Aylesbury United

Donegal (31), Hercules, Smith
Slough Town

Slough Town

League Attendance: 1603 Steve Thompson
Defeat at the hands of Aylesbury United on Saturday marked an end to the Rebels' month-long domination of the Vauxhall League Premier Division.

The Ducks — the only team to beat Slough in a league match this season - proved themselves a bogey side as the Rebels went down 3-1 and slipped off their league top notch. This was the first time the Rebels had lost away from home since March 18th last year, and it opened the door for Conference place chasers Wokingham to move up and take a seat on top of the table.

Aylesbury were the worthy winners, but Slough played well, and over 1,600 supporters were treated to an entertaining game of high-class football. Lacking super-striker Tommy Langley — still on the subs bench through injury — and knowing Aylesbury's determination to win, prompted a very defensive set up by Slough. They played with five men in defence.

The action started slowly, with long kicks made difficult and high kicks impossible by strong winds. Six balls in the first half were gusted over perimeter walls. Man of the match Steve Thompson went straight into action finding Neal Stanley with an excellent pass, but Stanley could not make anything of the opportunity.

It was soon to join a long list of missed chances in a 25 minute period dominated by Slough. Tony Knight played exceptionally well in the first half, saving the Rebels from disaster by putting the ball out of harm's way on several occasions. Mark Mallinson, brought in to the side to replace Robbie Johnson, proved just how valuable a member of the team he is, by showing speed and skill throughout both halves.

But it was Thompson who shone. He showed foresight and supreme skill as he outwitted Aylesbury defenders time after time. They couldn't match him, but Slough couldn't score. Slough's first real attack on the Aylesbury goal came after quarter of an hour when a Barry Rake shot went straight into the arms of the goalkeeper.

This was followed by a second attempt from the edge of the area by Thompson as he and Rake combined well throughout. The most bizarre incident of the match came in only the 20th minute when Gary Lester was shown the yellow card for time wasting. The Slough goalie took his time to take a kick, but no longer than Ducks keeper Tim Garner took later on in the second period.

After half an hour Rake chanced his luck, he lobbed the ball from the right-hand-side and missed the net by inches. But Slough's control of the first half ended in the 31st minute as Aylesbury's most expensive signing Glen Donegal thundered the ball into the back of net after a mistake by Gary Dodd.

After a promising end to the first half, and with the wind behind them, Slough ran out for the second half looking more confident and ready for a fight. And they stormed in with an excellent early goal. A long kick from Lester met Thompson who ran down the pitch before shooting across the goal and planting the ball in the bottom corner of the net.

But Slough had hardly finished celebrating when Cliff Hercules notched up his 150th goal for the Ducks after a pass from Junior Wilson. Wilson's electrifying speed down the wing put the ball in a perfect position for Hercules' record breaking strike.

Rake received a nasty knock to his leg in the 75th minute and left the pitch, giving Langley a chance to sample the action. Then Knight came off five minutes later as Kevin Rowe came on. But more than last minute substitutions were needed to stave off defeat, and as the rain started to sheet down the conditions began to suit the Ducks.

Aylesbury were the better side on the day and in the last minutes of the match they confirmed this with a messy goal by Rob Smith. A goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball coming off Lester's foot and finally Smith's boot before settling in the net.

Club secretary Tony Abbott said: " Neither the players nor the management are upset by this result. Both teams played very well and Aylesbury took it on the day. "It's a pity we didn't snatch a goal at the beginning of the match when we looked the better side — but it's not all over yet. There's a long way to go in the season and we're still hoping to win the league."

Aylesbury United Lineup

Garner, Reed, Wilson, Day, Flutter, Pluckrose, Mason, Donegal, Hercules, Ketteridge, Smith. Subs: Welsh, Cox (for Hercules).


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