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AFC Reading Ladies (H)
Sun Dec 3

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AFC Reading Ladies (H)
Sun Dec 3 13:30
Thames Valley Counties Women's Football League

Put The Champagne On Ice

| League
Att: 645
Slough Town
Stanley (59, 75), Langley (81)
3 - 2
Leyton Wingate
Lovell (67, pen) O'Hehir (78)
Neal Stanley
The champagne went into the ice bucket after Slough's sparkling 3-2 victory over Leyton Wingate which maintained their four point lead at the top of the Vauxhall Premier Division at Wexham Park on Saturday.

But celebrations are on hold despite the end of term glee party enjoyed by a modest 650 crowd after the Rebels headed a vintage second half display which featured five goals in 22 minutes. "Any neutral wandering to the game cannot failed to have been impressed," crowed Rebels' boss Alan Davies after the game which clinched him the Hunting Gates manager of the month award for March. "We were superb in the first half and even better in the second — we looked and felt like champions."

Yet Davies would not be enticed into making any untimely predictions with seven matches still remaining, including a critical examination by Kingstonian. The prospect of Slough making it to the Vauxhall Conference in their centenary year is magical, but down-to-earth Davies is only looking as far as the next game. "Everyone is on a high here and it is proving difficult to keep our feet on the ground — but that is precisely what we must do." If keeping a cool and clear head is what Davies is after then he will have been well satisfied with Saturday's developments.

The Rebels took control of the game from the whistle with a fresh and vigorous running game which tore the heart out of the Londoners defence. The taunting trio of Steve Thompson, Tommy Langley and Neal Stanley capered playfully through the midfield with positive support from Barry Rake and Mark Adams on either flank.

Pick of the crop was striker Langley, valued a total of £750,000 in transfer fees during his career, and worth his weight in gold on the day. His delicate playmaking, a legacy of a league career with Chelsea, QPR and latterly Exeter City, put him a cut above the rest. But only just. Thompson, Stanley and Adams all found a path through to the target only to be denied with chindit-like resistance from keeper Craig Tucker.

The rampant Rebels had little to contend with at the back. Robbie Johnson headed off the line five minutes from the interval while full back John Lovell forced a fingertip save from Trevor Bunting. Full back Trevor How pushed forward after the break to keep up the nagging probes with Adams until finally the Rebels prised an opening in the 59th minute.

Adams made another confident run at the full back, chipped into the box where Langley flicked back with his head to Stanley who volleyed home at the far post. Langley and Stanley broke clear from the midfield five minutes later only for both to be dragged off the ball by Lee Holmes, the linesman denying Stanley's legitimate appeal for a penalty.

Leyton hit back immediately, Bunting grovelling at the base of the upright to stop striker John Goodman, then winning a penalty while Thompson writhed in his own box after clashing with the defence. Lovell, who gave Johnson a torrid time on the right all afternoon, levelled from the spot in the 67th minute.

Langley then spirited a cross for Stanley to nod home his 22nd goal of the season at the far post in the 75th to make it 2-1, but Leyton squared matters again from a corner when sub John O'Hehir was one of two players in space to beat Bunting. Doubts about Slough's will and ability to win were quickly dispelled in the 81st minute when Stanley this time turned provider for Langley who took his tally for the term to 20 and gave Slough the winning edge from the border of the box. Midfielder Gary Dodd hobbled from the field just before the end with a recurrence of an old ankle injury.

Leyton Wingate Line up

Tucker, Rawlings, Lovell, Holmes, Bee, Campbell, Hamberger, Taylor, Goodman, Gordon, Dennington. Subs: Bolls (for Taylor), O'Hehir (for Goodman).


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