Rebels Battle To Beat Red Card Blues

Chesham United

Chesham United

Slough Town

Slough Town

Blackman (0-1)
League Attendance: 1041 Brian Lee
Saturday saw the new-look Slough side travel to Chesham for what was, in essence, a derby match, with Brett Smith and Neal Stanley lining up against their old club, and Bob Pearson managing Chesham.

In contrast to Slough's previous derby outing, however, the entertainment value was low, although the controversy count was high, as the Rebels played two thirds of the game with ten men.

As expected, Slough did most of the early pushing, and the Rebels found Chesham to be a rather defensive, counter-attacking side.

On five minutes, fine interchange play between West and Bushay left Sayer clear from five yards, but strangely reticent in the finish.

New-boy Clement showed old-boy Smith no favours on eight minutes, in the first of many ugly clashes, he cut the winger down with a scything tackle that earned him a booking.

Other than that, the opening period was far from eventful, with Slough using Bushay as an ever-reliable supply-line on the right-wing, but often finishing the front two crowded out by a massed defence.

The deadlock should have been broken on 18 minutes, as Sayer slipped the ball through to West, who scuffed both the ball and his foot.
The Rebels, relying heavily on space created for Sayer and West behind the defensive-line, were only tested at the back on 20 mins, by a tame Dickens header.

Too often, though, the Rebels could not find the space necessary, leaving them susceptible to swift counter-attacks, although Stanley, Dickens and Smith are far from the most competent attack that the Rebel, will face this term.

On 34 mins, Slough's fortunes took a distinct downturn, as Clement, obviously suffering from a rush of blood, floored a goal-bound Rake and naturally recieved his marching orders.

It was a decision which was later questioned, however, by manager Russell "I thought it was a bit harsh. the first tackle was fair enough, but I thought he made a meal of the second tackle."

Slough's attacking options were now slightly inhibited, but Chesham found a new lease of life, Bunting losing the ball bizzarely on the edge of the area and being forced to backtrack to block the ball with his feet before Roberts was on-hand to deal with Stanley's follow-up.

Whatever Russell said to his team at halftime, it had little effect, as it was Chesham who started off the brighter, Paul Roberts floating in a header which tested Bunting to the limit.

By contrast, Slough offered little and recieved even less, turning in a mundane, second-class performance in the second-half which prompted several Rebels fans to promise non-attendance at future away trips. Even Bushay looked unreliable and dispirited as the strength and unity which characterises most ten-man teams was not to be found among the white away shirts, although Chesham lacked the attacking ideas to capitalise on the chances they found themselves being presented with.

Astoundingly, though, Russell dispensed with the services of West and Bushay, replacing them with Blackman and Dell. It was Chesham who gained the added impetus from the substitutions, Dickens somehow putting an easy header over the bar. Thirty seconds later, though, and all the predictions about Garfield Blackman came true as Sayer made his way through the defence, tested 'keeper Lomas, and left Blackman with a huge target to hit, which he did with ease on the second attempt.

The rest of the game was spent on tenterhooks, with Rebels supporters counting the minutes, and Chesham fans cursing their luck as Slough held on for a fortunate, rather than brilliant, win.

In just a week, then, Slough have been both astoundingly brilliant and achingly average. The spirit is undoubtedly willing, but let us hope that the flesh is a little stronger in the weeks to come than it was at times on Saturday.

Chesham United Lineup


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