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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13

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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Frail First Half Proves Costly

Slough Town

Slough Town

Welling United

Welling United

Robbins (27, 35), Abbott (0-3)
League Attendance: 907 Unknown
This wasn't the way that Slough would have wanted to lose their unbeaten run and recent good form. It looks as though the tie with Reading is going to prove rather costly league-wise as the Rebels last two performances have lost the sparkle they had prior to the FA Cup draw.

A second half fightback wasn't enough to rescue the Rebels' who were sunk by a third strike early after the interval. It would have been a different story if Steve Thompson hadn't wasted two good early chances and from then on Slough were outclassed for the remainder of the first half.

To say that the Rebels were dreaming of Reading wouldn't entirely be fair as Welling also face league opposition in the guise of Leyton Orient. But Welling made use of some enormous gaps in the Slough midfield to launch attack on attack at the Slough goal and beat them with two superbly worked corners.

Mark Turkington returned to the Slough midfield to replace Tony Dell who sat it out on the bench — but Turkington looked out of sorts with some wayward distribution. Likewise, Steve Whitby had a quiet afternoon on the right and as a result the first half was dominated by the Wings moving forward.

Phil Stacey set up Steve Thompson, but instead of shooting Thompson pushed the ball wide of the keeper and then out of play. Minutes later Thompson was clean through with only the keeper to beat but his slack touch allowed Paul Barron time to smother.

Tony Reynolds cleared out of the goalmouth when Darren Anderson's powerful far post header looked to be going in with Barron beaten. Mark Hill was having another outstanding game at the back but although the Rebels had some good chances they had nothing to show for it.

Then, they suddenly faded quite drastically and a foray forward was rare as Welling got well on top. Trevor Bunting handled well to stop Gary Abbott's header from a tree kick, but Welling looked dangerous from their constant set plays around the Slough box.

With 27 minutes gone, the diminutive Terry Robbins rose aggressively to head home a fine corner which took a near post flick.

The expectant Slough rally never came. The visitors continued to ease forward and there was desperate defending to be done. Bunting had to tip over a Francis lob, but was later guilty on more than one occasion of some dangerous throw outs which gave away possession.

Welling looked more and more comfortable as the half went on. Slough were entrenched in their own half and had to battle to fend off their opponents. But the pressure told in the 35th minute when Robbins - probably the smallest man in the area — thumped home from another corner.

The Rebels made a tactical switch at half time that was to turn the shape of the game. In the next 45 minutes they were to dominate the match almost as much as Welling had the first. Francis Joseph replaced Mark Mallinson with Mark Hill pushing to left back and Steve Thompson dropping into midfield. The extra man in the middle suddenly made all the difference but not before the killer blow and the goal that sealed the game.

A falling Anderson could only hook a drop kick into the path of Abbott, Stacy gave him too much room and the Welling player fired home a low shot from 30 yards that caught Bunting napping and shocked everyone by finding the back of the net.

But the Rebels then came back. Paul McKinnon was wide with a header and then a goal was amazingly disallowed from a corner after floating straight in. A sudden burst of skill from Thompson ripped the Welling defence apart but his cross to the predatory Joseph was intercepted at the last minute.

Slough kept on pushing forward but the Welling defence battled hard and got men behind the ball with the best of Slough chances turn in into goalmouth scrambles. A good move saw Joseph head into the keeper's arms an the game got a lot more interesting with the Rebels pushing forward.

Mark Hill had a shot pushed wide by the diving Barron and it gradually looked as though Slough would never score the ball ricoched around the Welling box. Anderson went into the book for elbowing but despite all the Rebels' pressure the came out with nothing to show for a stern second half fight back.

Welling United Lineup


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