Slough On The Edge

| League
Att: 674
Slough Town
0 - 2
Altrincham
Harris (63), Carmody (89)
Alan Dowson
Slough Town face an agonising couple of weeks as they wait to discover their fate for next season. With the Rebels perched precariously in 19th position after this latest defeat, they look a good bet for a relegation place, but they may not know their destiny until May 14.

There seems to be considerable doubt as to whether three teams will be relegated form the Conference, depending on whether or not clubs who are to be promoted from lower divisions have the accepted facilities to make the step up, the final decisions will be made on May 14 by the Conference committee.

All of which adds up to a massive headache for the Slough fans, many of whom were critical of the indecision on Saturday and even more critical of manager Les Briley, whose future at Slough hangs by the finest of threads to which his side are clinging. With the sides below them having games in hand; for the first time Slough are not really in control of their own fate.

The match itself served as the perfect example of where Slough have gone wrong this season. Altrincham, defending an unbeaten record at Wexham Park, offered little themselves but were presented with two vital openings in the second half as the Rebels' tactical plan went out of the window.

Neither goalkeeper was tested during the opening exchanges, Andy Sayer's optimistic 35 yard lob on 13 minutes providing the first entertainment for another disappointing crowd of 600.

At this stage however Slough were coping comfortably with a rather average looking Altrincham front line. Fiore found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat on 15 minutes as the visitors' defence was opened up by Whitby's cross but Collings produced a fine save, and in the next three minutes Sayer and Fiore again wasted came close to putting Slough in front, crucially neither was successful.

Altrincham looked like a typical tired end of season side but sent Slough hearts fluttering in the 29th minute when Stuart Terry slotted the ball home from six yards, only, to the mighty relief of the home faithful, to be adjudged offside - Trevor Bunting making his 350th appearance for the Rebels was not subsequently trouble for the remainder of the half but neither was Collings at the other end and the visitors were probably the happier at the break.

Slough had looked reasonably secure in the first half but that was all to change in the second period. It was the Rebels however who started the brighter. Andy Sayer fluffed an excellent chance on 53 minutes after good work by Robbie Peters and the little winger turned striker three minutes later to force another fine save from Collings with a spectacular scissors kick.

That was all to count for nothing though when on 63 minutes Sharratt's corner was met by Harris who sent it past Bunting with the barest of touches. It was a goal that though undeserved was not all that surprising.

Clearly lifted by the goal, Altrincham looked for more. Cross went close with 75 minutes gone, his looping effort being palmed over by Bunting. But there was by now a certain resignation about Slough and the match had a familiar look to so many this season. Peters was pointlessly substituted seconds after the Bunting save and Stanley came on with the burden of playing saviour, more surely in hope than in expectation.

Peters trooped away down the tunnel for the last time as far as Slough are concerned, he returns to Brentford this week, and given their slump in fortunes of late he may go straight back into the first team.

Slough will surely miss his pace, skill and wit and how will they hope to replace him?

And just in case anyone was in any doubt as to just how poorly the Rebels played on Saturday, Carmody reminded us all on the stroke of full time, slamming the ball home after Terry's shot had been only half saved by Bunting.

Altrincham, safe from the drop now, held their own private party for players and fans on the pitch at the the final whistle, but by this time Slough were long gone, heads hung and spirits it would seem, broken.

There are three games left now for Les Briley and Slough Town to save themselves or more probably rely on others to do the work for them and who would have believed that back in October.

Altrincham Line up

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