Patient Rebels win first "cup-final"

Slough Town

Slough Town

Thompson (59), Langley (64)
Dulwich Hamlet

Dulwich Hamlet

League Attendance: 500 Steve Thompson
It was down to the Rebels to keep going and win the Vauxhall League championship in their centenary year.

And it was a matter of plugging away that brought three more points to Wexham Park in a dour contest on Saturday. Dulwich, for their worth, showed a gritty determination to avoid the drop into division one, but in the end were beaten by a Slough side just too good for them.

Most games will be like cup-finals from now on, and the Rebels will have to show the resilience they did on Saturday if things are to go their way.

"It was a question of being patient" said Slough boss Alan Davies. " In the first half I thought we were on top and were unlucky not to come in goals up".

The conditions were not helpful to Slough, the wind having a frustrating effect on matters and playing a bigger part in the game than looked likely. This combined with the visitors gritty, and sometimes harsh display made life hard for Slough.

Trevor Bunting made a competent return between the posts as Gary Lester had lacerated kidneys following a collision last Tuesday evening against Hendon. In fact he was only called upon to stretch himself once, that to save Mark Edward's shot in the second half.

It could have been an easier afternoon for Slough, when after two minutes Tommy Langley latched onto a loose ball to hit the post.

The longer the game went on, the harder it would be although one goal looked as though it would put Dulwich out of their stride.

The visitors built up some neat moves, and Dave Gibbons curled inches wide of the post as a result of one of these rare moments. Slough were tough and resilient, Tony Knight battling away in midfield with venom, and the defence working hard to keep control whilst Dulwich ran furiously to keep the battle going.

Steve Thompson had a good effort saved but in the opening half hour the Rebels attacks were rare and ragged, and a string of passes would have been welcome. The Dulwich full backs were getting in crucial tackles on the Slough wide men, and most of the attack pushed through the middle with Steve Thompson in full flow.

The last 15 first half minutes saw Slough begin to gain the upper hand and both Barry Rake and Neal Stanley shot wide of the mark, and Trevor How saw his header hit the bar following a corner.

Martin Gillings could have done some real damage seconds before half time, the Dulwich striker only managing to head into Bunting's arms when unmarked.

The second period continued still scrappy, and a slight hamstring injury to Mark Adams forced him to retire, being replaced by Tony Dell.

The start of the second period was awful, the ball was dead more often than in play and fouls and free kicks were rife.

But the Rebels, as they have proved this season, have the ability to drag reward from the jaws of mediocrity with consistency in front of goal, and their leading light has lain in the experience and intelligence of Tommy Langley.

After 59 minutes Slough won a throw on the left. Robbie Johnson took a return from Thompson and Rake headed towards Langley on the edge of the box. Langley flicked the ball into the goalmouth and Thompson raced in to nod the ball into the net - the relief was instantaneous.

Five minutes later Dulwich were dead and buried and the main concern was the result of second and third placed Wokingham and Aylesbury's battle up the road. How's cross was flicked on by Tony Dell and Langley- deliberate or not - volleyed tantalisingly over stranded Dulwich keeper Glass.

Slough became cool and creative, Barry Rake's shot well saved by Glass and but for a few miscellaneous efforts, Dulwich never really threatened.

The best they had to offer was a header from Gillings which hit Gary Dodd's back and went over the bar. Neal Stanley did well to get to How's cross later in the game, but was off target, though the work had been done and Slough moved four points clear at the top.

Dulwich Hamlet Lineup


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