Sad farewell for Russell as Rebels blight fond memories

Slough Town

Slough Town

Pickett (18)
Kettering Town

Kettering Town

Nyamah (1-1), Scott (89)
League Attendance: 766 Steve Bateman
It really could have been so different this time; instead it was uncanny. The Rebels were 1-0 up again at half-time, and then lost their way totally - for a managerial swansong it really wasn't up to much, disappointingly similar to last week's defeat by the same side and a rather limp goodbye from a manager perfectly capable of exciting supporters.

The belief was there again - at the break. Slough were good tor their lead and could have been two or three-up. But through their own sloppiness they scaled Dave Russell's fate and plunged themselves into a possible relegation tussle.

Kettering came with the same gameplan. but added top scorer Carl Alford and with him a vital injection of strength and pace upfront and an insurmountable problem for Alan Paris. They walked out with their fourth victory over the hosts this season, and their third in a week largely thanks to their frontman's ideas.

Last week's would-he hero Ross Pickett put Slough in the lead in the 18th minute - the first case of deja vu, but not the last. He had missed two sitters before then heading wide on 11 minutes from Mark Fiore's well-crafted cross and then blasting over from 10 yards out but was consoled and advised by Mark West during a break in play and put his elder's words of wisdom to good use.

Andy Clement chipped in a free-kick from 20 yards, and it looked to he heading for safety before Trevor Baron rose with 'keeper Judge and sent him to the floor. A free-kick scented a natural assumption, but the referee said no. West thumped one shot against the fallen 'keeper and Pickett then followed up accurately.

The visitors were quiet, save for a few hyperactive spells; Harmon's precise hall gave Alford a diving header which he should have put the right side of the post and Haworth prompted enough indecision between Baron and Steve Bateman to require Chuck Moussaddik's immediate attention.

Bateman also blatantly took down Haworth but went unpunished and the same player headed against the crossbar. Still it looked reasonably promising.

In the end a video replay of last week's game would have saved a lot of time. Kettering looked even less committed than seven days earlier - the Rebels' defence looked even more childlike, save for Bateman, who seemed to draw inspiration from his team-mates' blunders.

They allowed Nyamah a free header which fortunately struck the 'keeper's body, watched as Pope's header was disallowed for offside after he strayed beyond Baron to meet Scott's cross and then gave Nyamah the space to unleash a shot which squirmed out of Moussaddik's hands and allowed the number three a second chance to find an empty net.

The reliable Barry Rake's introduction livened things up as usual, but he was fielded upfront - a bad idea given his inability to finish, as anyone could have told Russell.

With five minutes left, Garfield Blackman outpaced his marker, and the ball ended up at Rake's feet six yards out. Anyone else would have found the net, he found the crowd.

There was no point playing for a point; that was merely postponing the inevitable. One minute remained on the clock, but safety was not assured. Blackman conceded a needless corner. Moussaddik remained on his line as it came over and Scott rose to send it into the net.

Ignore the law of averages; take absolutely nothing for granted. It is foolish to rely on away form to keep you in the Conference, but the chances of this side winning at home again this season look pretty slim. If their travelling touch deserts them too, it's hello Hendon, Purfleet and Grays Athletic.

Brian McDermott has a much greater task than he might expect; morale must be very low, support is flagging and the drop beckons. Throwing in a managerial rookie is a gamble. but he has the contacts and the coolness to get the results needed to secure safety What he doesn't has is time.

Rebels are beaten but not broken under debut boss

Kettering Town Lineup


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