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Dulwich Hamlet (A)
Sat Aug 20
15:00

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Dulwich Hamlet (A)
Sat Aug 20 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
22nd
1pts

Les Miserables

| League
Att: 935
Halifax Town
Patterson (1-0)
1 - 0
Slough Town
Andy Sayer
As it turned out even a 10 goal demolition of Halifax at the Shay on Saturday would not have saved Slough Town. The deeds of others hundreds of miles away determined their fate without the need of Jamie Paterson's late effort.

At least that goal, late and painful though it was, saved manager Les Briley and the Slough players the heartbreak of learning their destiny via videprinters and stereos.

Yeovil, Bromsgrove and Merthyr (who also drop despite a 4-3 success against doomed Witton) all snatched late and in Rovers' case unlikely winners to condemn Slough to a date with the Diadora league come August.

No matter then that Slough were largely dominant against a Halifax side that for most of the game seemed to have their mind on the summer holidays. As has been so often the case this season they could not make it pay and that fact was largely due to a ineffective performance from Morrys Scott.

The lanky striker had a wretched afternoon and wasted the best chance of the game on 58 minutes with the score at 0-0 and Slough - urged on by an uncharacteristically vocal support - still in good heart and high spirits.

Scott unmarked and only some five yards out, in the centre of the goal could only head straight at Richard Wilmot from Sayer's millimetre perfect cross. Scott put his head in his hands, I'm sure it surprised many that he found them.

You immediately felt for Sayer, who stood out like a beacon. His tireless display deserved better than this and it's hard to see the likes of Woking or Dagenham ignoring his talent this summer but dare Slough sell him? Scott I fancy is a different matter.

Slough had been the more enterprising side from the outset and almost went ahead on 16 minutes when Ian Hazel combined delightfully with Neal Stanley on the right flank then came inside on to his left foot but went for accuracy rather than power and shot a yard too close to Wilmot, who was able to gather.

Hazel was much involved in a first half shorn of quality and you again wonder how much the prospect of the Diadora league appeals to the former Bristol Rovers first teamer.

Sayer was next to test the impressive Wilmot, bringing a fine block from the Halifax 'keeper with a right foot shot from a tight angle. Horsfield with a couple of long range efforts was the only player to attempt to trouble Trevor Bunting.

Before the interval Brian Lee was in action at both ends, first off balance he shot wide as the ball broke to him on the edge of the Halifax area and then a minute later Lee was back clearing off his line as Barr followed up when the ball bounced off the chest of Bunting.

Hook wasted an aerial opportunity for the home side before Stanley and Sayer dovetailed beautifully allowing Morrys Scott a chance on the volley which he struck sweetly enough but at a good height for Wilmot who made the tumbling save.

At this stage it didn't look to bad for Slough, Merthyr were trailing Witton 3-1 at the break and neither Yeovil or Bromsgrove were winning - if title challengers Kettering could just edge ahead of Rovers, a draw looked like it would be enough for Slough and they were easily good enough to get that!

That theory was further encouraged by Slough's passionate and very determined start to the second half. But they had little to show for a wealth of possession until Sayer and Stanley again combined to give the former the chance to cross and Scott the opportunity to score. Once Scott had spurned that most delicious of chance you began to question whether Slough had any right to stay up. News came through that Bromsgrove were ahead at Kettering, so that particular avenue of hope looked to be closing fast, Slough had to score and their small army of loyal support grew louder and more agitated as they sensed the desperation surfacing in their team's play.

Time and time again play broke down as occasionally Hazel, often Stanley and repeatedly Scott gave the ball away through a desire to get forward quickly. Les Briley was for him strangely subdued - perhaps he had used up all his reserves of energy in the defeat of Gateshead or perhaps he just knew it was the end for him and his side's tenure in the Conference.

Stanley, often involved but rarely composed, did fire in a good cross for Scott to knock down towards Sayer but it was slightly behind the little man and as he attempted to turn for a shot he lost control. Halifax were hardly in it now with Slough playing as well as they have done away from home, a goal you felt would be a just reward for their endeavours.

Stanley could have given them the required boost as Boardman's clearance caw to him on the edge of the area but disappointingly the shot was hurried and off target.

The same man figured again moments later as Sayer played him in on the right hand edge of the box. he should have crossed but chose instead to shoot and found only ihe wasteland of the empty terracing behind the goal. Heads were thrown back in frustration and as a man the Slough contingent yelled an exasperated "STAN!"

It was one opportunity too many spurned and Halifax, as if annoyed by Slough's refusal to take advantage of their indifference, decided instead to raise their game a notch and turn the tables rather. They did so, emphatically and cruelly, quelling the last flickering flames of Slough resistance with a three minute purple patch.

First Bunting was forced to save brilliantly from Hook's firm low drive and then a minute later as Paterson raced through the middle Bunting stood tall and got a finger tip or two to the attempted lob, turning and racing back to complete the save as the ball continued it's path to goal.

But the brief blitz went on and the fatal bullet was fired by Paterson as he slid the ball beyond Bunting after Megson's through ball had split the defence. Slough so intent on pursuing their own attacking intentions had left themselves short at the hack once too often and the looks of resignation on the faces of every man in yellow told the story.

They knew now it was over. Briley with his last gesture as Slough Town manager threw on Steve Scott for Brett Smith, who after his startling performance on Bank Holiday Monday looked a boy lost among man in the heat of this battle.

Knee ligament victim Mark Fiore looked on impassively from his seat by the Slough dugout, Town's most gifted individual unable to prevent what had slowly become the inevitable.

As a Sayer shot on the turn flashed wide, another depressing scoreline filtered through, Yeovil were ahead against Telford. The wound was open and the salt was being steadily applied Slough could take no more and there was almost sense of relief at the end. Rebels were down, an awful season had ended and the suffering was at an end .... for a summer at least.

Halifax Town Line up

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