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Taunton Town (A)
Tue Mar 5

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Taunton Town (A)
Tue Mar 5 19:45
The Vanarama National League South

Rebels Get The Blues

Wycombe Wanderers

Wycombe Wanderers

Scott (36), Ryan (63)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Sissons (32)
League Attendance: 3183 Trevor Bunting
EVEN the brilliance of goalkeeper Trevor Bunting could not prevent Slough from slipping to their 10th away defeat in the GM Vauxhall Conference when they lost 2-1 to Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park on Saturday.

Blues striker Keith Ryan squeezed the ball through the merest chink of daylight between Bunting's thigh and the post to snatch the winner in the 63rd minute of a seesaw tussle. Earlier Jon Sissons had given the Rebels an unexpected 32nd minute lead but the Blues struck back four minutes later from a corner which Lincoln City loanee Keith Scott stuck away.

All three goals were the result of tenacious work by the forwards; in every other respect neither Bunting nor his opposite number, John Granville, put a foot wrong throughout the afternoon. But while the impressive Bunting made save after crucial save to provide the Rebels with a platform for victory, the finishing, particularly of Tommy Langley, let the Blues off the hook.

The former Chelsea warhorse had three good chances to give the Rebels at least a share of the points, but the timing wasn't quite there and the opportunites went untaken. Wycombe were disappointing — they lacked the flair which had made them such an attractive and dangerous side early in the season, and this after manager Martin O'Neill made two last minute singings to bolster his side's slender championship hopes.

The Irishman brought in Stuart Cash from Nottingham Forest at left back and his composed crossing looked likely to give the Rebels defence a 90 minute headache. O'Neill also introduced Scott from Lincoln City up front in an effort to fill the gap left by Nicky Evans who returned to Barnet a few weeks ago.

Scott was quick-thinking, big and skilful and he too made an immediate impact which brought Bunting into the game early. Slough manager Alan Davies fielded an attacking side which included the lively front runners of Sissons and Barry Rake in preference to the injured Neal Stanley and Naz Bashir.

Combined with the experience of Langley and the intuitive playmaking of Steve Thompson, the formula almost paid off. The Rebels looked at home on the huge, Wembley-sized pitch, with the transfer listed Rake in particular keen to get involved. He was on hand at the back to clear away a nasty early cross from Steve Whitby which Bunting palmed partially clear, and then set up the first real Rebel threat when he was fouled dancing through the midfield. Andy Kerr was booked for the offence.

Thompson tapped over the free kick and a diving header from Sissons made the Trinidad and Tobago international keeper miss a heartbeat. Bunting continued to punch his way out of trouble, this time flicking a Dave Carroll cross away and then recovering to pouch the weak finish from the rebound by Scott. A super combination in the 29th minute between Rake and Thompson resulted in Langley being sent clear with a difficult chance and only Granville to beat, but going close was not good enough for the Rebels. But they only had to wait two minutes for a similar situation to arise.

Once again with Rake was involved as the ball sped forward to Sissons who outpaced Granville, slid it between his legs and watched it dribble inside the post with Whitby in vain pursuit. The euphoria lasted just four minutes for the Blues snatched back with an equaliser by Scott, Mark West nodding the ball back at the far post from Steve Guppy's inswinging corner.

The Blues would have gone ahead almost immediately but for another superbly instinctive save from Bunting, placing himself to take a fierce blast from Carroll in the eight yard box after he had taken down another decisive cross from Cash.
Better was to come from Bunting after the break when he was forced to make three more vital saves, first turning the ball round the post, then withstanding an aerial challenge from West and finally getting back to stop Cash's low-driven drive from the free ball.

At the other end Darren Anderson planted a dangerous header and Rake went close with an ambitious overhead kick. Up popped Thompson again to lay on another quality through ball for Langley, but the unhappy striker lost his balance inside the box and Kerr was able to scramble to ball to safety.

The Blues struck again in the 63rd when West, the league's top scorer but having a quiet afternoon, swept Carroll clear on the right. He beat two men with a slippery run and then gave Ryan the task of exploiting the tiny space which Bunting was unable to cover.

When Scott burst through again shortly after Bunting tore out to block the shot and then set off to try to gather the loose ball on the edge of the area. It was then Granville's turn to produce his best against Sissons from point blank range while Bunting took further fierce drives from Carroll and Nuttell in his stride.

In the final frantic minute, Granville ultimately denied the Rebels with superb saves from Langley, Donnellan and Thompson in lightning succession. Not surprisingly the game did not live up to the clash at Wexham Park which ended in a spectacular 3-3 draw. Both sides were guilty of too much inaccurate delivery of the ball and the action got bogged down in midfield drudgery. The Rebels succeeded in frustrating the Blues and not allowing them too much time on the ball. But they failed to take full advantage when they did drill holes in the defence.

Wycombe Wanderers Lineup

Granville, Whitby, Cash, Kerr, Stapleton, Carroll, Ryan, Scott, West, Robinson, Guppy. Subs: Nuttell (for West), Crossley.


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