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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

Robins Revenge Painful For Town

Slough Town

Slough Town

Donnellan (58), Pluckrose (83)


Lewis (0-1), McDonald (75), McKenna (86)
League Attendance: 860 Unknown
A goal four minutes from the end of an entertaining clash at Wexham Park earned Altrincham some measure of revenge for the mauling they received at the hands of Slough last October. Ken McKenna's decisive finish when the unfortunate Darren Anderson misjudged a header back towards his goalkeeper Trevor Bunting robbed the home side of a point their play had merited.

Although they never looked entirely convincing at the back there were several moments, many of them coming with the score at 1-1 when Slough seemed set to tear their rivals apart. That they didn't manage to do so was due in no small part to the competent display of Jeff Wealands in the Altrincham goal, who produced a faultless disphtay as both Gary Donnellan and Alan Pluckrose will testify.

Donnellan and Pluckrose were Slough's goal-scorers on Saturday but they were also denied further strikes by the impressive Wealands while O'Connor was another who failed when handily placed against the Altrincham 'keeper. The visitors were the better side in a first half that was rarely better than average. O'Connor was much involved for Slough but for all his toil it wasn't happening for the midfielder and neither side seemed capable of creating even the slightest opening.

It was then something of a surprise when Altrincham went in front as Martin Lewis claimed his first goal for the club in three years, rising to head in Andy Reid's flick on from Nicky Daws' cross. Reid, the brother of the former Manchester City star Nicky.

With Gary Donnellan playing very deep and Steve Thompson struggling to find space Slough's best chances fell to O'Connor.

His 23rd minute cross-shot needed just a touch from anyone of three in the six yard area but no contact was made. A minute later O'Connor couldn't get enough pace on his effort from three yards as he came in on Paul McKinnon's flick and Wealands saved with ease.

Fielder's mishit shot took Thompson by surprise and Donnellan at last deciding to get forward forced a corner with a surging run straight through the centre of the visitors' defence. At the other end Bunting saved his side as Slough's back four allowed McDonald to charge through unopposed. The forward however went too wide and from a tight angle Bunting blocked.

Donnellan, obviously encouraged by his earlier run, got Slough back on terms after 58 minutes as the home side took full advantage of a dreadful mix up in Altrincham's defence.

Densmore under pressure from all sides panicked and tried to find his 'keeper — it was a bad decision. McKinnon waiting for such an error collected, advanced on Wealands and though his shot was saved superbly the ball ran loose in front of goal for Donnellan to hammer in from close range.

Now Slough were interested, their game visibly shifted through the gears as the confidence flooded back. Pluckrose almost put them in front as he got a firm header on Anderson's near post flick but once more Wealands had the answer. A super-charged Donnellan then tried his fortune cutting in from the right holding off his marker and firing low with pace but Wealands blocked and gathered to Slough's increasing frustration.

McKinnon was then halted by a superb challenge from the otherwise unimpressive full back Chilton and Altrincham very gradually found their footing again. It was still unlucky from a Slough point of view when the visitors broke to go ahead for a second time on 75 minutes. Nigel Shaw made it possible getting free on the right, easily skipping past a poor challenge from Mark Mallinson and crossing tor Alan McDonald to slide in.

It should have broken Slough's hearts, but to their credit they rolled up the sleeves brought on Neal Stanley for O'Connor and came back again. After McKenna had found the side netting and nearly killed the game off, Thompson went close for the Rebels but the goal they deserved wasn't long in coming.

Seven minutes remained as Pluckrose thumped in a header from Donnellan's perfect free-kick. It was a simple strike and that, you felt, was that.

It wasn't.

Altrincham wanted the final say and got it from Anderson's slip and McKenna's nerveless finish. The crowd of 860 couldn't say they hadn't been entertained, whether justice had been done or not they might not have been so sure.

Altrincham Lineup


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