Hercules Again, But Rebels Still Lose

Slough Town

Slough Town

Hercules (45), Catlin (55)
Halifax Town

Halifax Town

Beddard (71, 74), Midwood (75)
League Attendance: 862 Barry Rake
Cliff Hercules, who scored on his away debut at Stalybridge last week, completed a personal double when he netted on his debut at Wexham Park on Saturday.

But the fairytale turned into horror story when, after Neil Catlin had put the Rebels 2-0 ahead early in the second half, Halifax overturned the deficit in a mad four minutes and went back north with the points.

Elliot Beddard and Michael Midwood performed the magic after Hercules had struck in the 45th minute and Catlin 10 minutes after the restart when the Rebels looked well on their way to their first home win since September 12.

Hercules opened his account at home after Halifax keeper Andy Woods fumbled a cross from the left by Mark Fiore which the striker finished off from two yards.

Fiore also provided the second, an inswinging corner from the left which was met by the scissor-lucking Catlin at the far post.

Slough might have had a third soon after when Hercules got to the bye-line and aimed to pull the ball back to Catlin, but it was cut out on the way.

But after an hour on top and with the attack still ravenous, 'the Rebels simply fell apart.
A mistake by Brian Lee in the 71st minute allowed Midwood to work a tiny opening and stab the ball at the target with Beddard chasing through to made sure with his head from point blank range.

Mark West then lost the ball on half way line to John Hendrick three minutes later, Beddard was on hand to take the squared pass and sidefoot the ball home.

The stunned Rebels could only stand and watch 60 seconds later as Midwood carved his way through the midfield to do what had earlier seemed impossible - fire in the winner.

The Shaymen, who had looked unlikely to score in the absence of Gary Worthington who 24 hours earlier had joined Steve Prindiville at Dagenham & Redbridge, had wasted four free kicks and managed only two other chances before they wreaked havoc.

The first came after 29 minutes when Beddard directed a header onto the bar, the second a header from Paul Stoneman which sent Bunting through the air to save six minutes later.
The Rebels, committed to attack from the start, looked capable of a flood of goals with Hercules and Barry Rake involved in everything.

Hercules created the closest chance, after 17 minutes, Rake volleying the ball onto the woodwork and Fiore hooking the loose ball back in only for Richard Annan to scramble it off the line. And Mark West tried to add his 14th of the season from a lob in the 23rd minute which had Woods reaching backwards to tip over the bar. West then glanced a header over the bar from Clement's whipped cross four minutes later.

But after further chances for Clement and West, Hercules -finally found the net in time added on. Fiore got to the byeline to retrieve a ball that looked lost then cracked it back in to Hercules who was standing on the line.

Halifax changed their system at half time, leaving only three at the back, in their bid for a seventh Conference game without defeat. However Slough still looked comfortable and went 2-G up in the 55th minute when Catlin smashed home Fiore's corner cross at the far post.

But earlier tell-tale signs from the usually reliable Lee and Paris - both making a string of unforced errors - then took on sinister overtones as Slough failed to keep the initiative and allowed the pace and passion to wane. More mistakes led by the 75th minute to Halifax firmly in control.

The Slough camp left substitutions until the 84th and 88th minutes when they really should have nipped the Shaymen in the bud after conceding the first goal. Perhaps they should have come even earlier as they had done to stop a Stalybridge revival a week earlier.

The utter delirium in the Halifax camp contrasted sharply with despond and disbelief among the Rebels who still have to add a Saturday victory to their two early season midweek successes in front of their own fans.

Russell ranting - not raving.

SLOUGH boss Dave Russell blasted his players for indiscipline after Saturday's catastrophic reversal which cheated the longsuffering paying public of the first home win for three months,
"it was the worst five minutes of my life," said Russell who was still struggling to find the words - and excuses -two days later.

"It was bad enough when we conceded two goals in four minutes against Aylesbury last season - but this was unforgivable.

"We were two goals up, we've coped and there was not a problem. Even after the first goal we should have just gone on doing our job and everything would have been fine.

"But people went to sleep, especially on the right where they took two easy goals. We need to keep our discipline.

"It's all about doing the job - we did it at Stalybridge - it is called winning the game."

Russell, deprived of eighth spot in the Conference thanks to the fiasco, has a keener edge to his search for players to strengthen the Slough squad.

Few came out of the game with their heads held high and Russell organised to a friendly with Yeading on Wednesday night to give his supporting players a chance sharpen up their match fitness.

Halifax Town Lineup

Woods, Smith, Annan, O'Regan, Stoneman, Trotter, Nehdrick, Beddard, Midwood, Johnson, Brown. SUBS: Cochrane, Griffith, Horner (none used).


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