Miles The Man

Slough Town

Slough Town

Welling United

Welling United

League Attendance: 785 Ben Miles
Slough Town keeper Ben Miles earned his money and the respect of his master Brian McDermott after ensuring the Rebels of a point from a lacklustre performance against draw champions Welling at the Park on Saturday.

McDermott, though exasperated by his side's display, was satisfied that he has completed his brief since taking over two months ago.

In that time McDermott has taken 14 points from 11 games, winning three of his first five in charge. His record shows a total of four wins, two draws, 17 goals for and 19 against, and five clean sheets. Three of his five defeats have been against clubs in the top five of the Conference.

But while his main objective has been achieved, McDermott says his arrival at the helm has been a 'culture shock' for the squad he inherited. He said: "The club's home performances this season have been abysmal and it seems many people have come to accept that.

"Well I don't. Where was the passion? It looked as though we had gone out on a nice sunny day thinking we have done enough for the season. It is so disappointing when we have prepared properly in training and then play like that."

McDermott has been at pains to instill a more professional attitude into the players - off as well as on the field. He insists on punctuality and a proper dress code, has stopped pre-match gambling on away trips and discourages post-match binges of beer and junk food.

"I know exactly the way I want us to play and behave, but some players can't handle it. I know that what has happened has been a culture shock, but I believe what I am doing is right. For one thing it is important that players go into games with their minds focused on the right things. At the same time fitness becomes increasingly important the further up the football ladder you go.

"If we really want to compete, then we start here."

But knowing what you want and getting it are not the same thing, as McDermott is finding out.
On Saturday he had to abandon his ploy of using top scorer Mark West behind the front pairing of Hercules and Bushay after just one chance came in the first half.

But he refused to revert to a sweeper system as the defence struggled to cope with the long-ball game and a trio of lively forwards.

"This is Welling we are playing!" exclaimed McDermott.

Welling or not, the visitors ended the day with a dozen corners to Slough's three and kept Miles on his toes from start to finish.

The Slough keeper was quickly out to parry an early shot from Danny Smith and recovered to smother the ball when it rebounded to the feet of Danny Hanson 15 yards away.

He only half cleared a cross from the right with a punch, but stopped John Farley's effort with the loose ball from point blank range.

Hanson then tried to catch Miles off his line with a lob, but the lanky youngster had length enough to stretch back and hold the ball under the bar.

Welling posed a constant threat from the long downfield punt with Harvey and Bateman hard pressed to contain their more athletic adversaries.

Thankfully for Slough, even Hanson and Morah managed to baulk each other after squeezing though on one occasion between Slough's crumbling pillars.

But when Hanson tried to come in from the left, Miles narrowed the angle and was at the near post when the strike was unleashed.

And when Lee lost a hanging cross to Hanson who teed the ball up again for Smith, Miles had his body right behind the ball when it came in.

Welling forced nine comers in the first hall with Hercules and West as prominent as anyone in dealing with the danger.

Slough's solitary corner in the first half came in the 17th minute when Hercules struck the woodwork with a shot which fell invitingly to Catlin whose first time shot was deflected wide.

McDermott, who had already lost Clement (hamstring) and Bushay (groin) with injuries, reshuffled and cracked the whip at half time. The result was instant, though brief.

Some neat interplay between Sansom and Hercules allowed Fiore to whip in a cross to the far post from which Pickett could only find the top of the net as he hooked the ball back.

And West, looking ever more purposeful, found Harris well positioned to stop a low drive from 12 yards from Pickett's centre from the right.

Welling, relying on the element of surprise, snapped back with two long range shots, the best of these in the 70th minute from Lew Watts which Miles tipped onto and over the bar.

And while Slough stumbled around the target area, the Wings forced another series of comers as they pushed forward, but there was hope rather more than expectation from both sides.

It is worth noting that Welling's lowly position owes much to the fact that Saturday's result was their 15th draw of the season.

And they have in fact only conceded only 50 goals - a record bettered by only five clubs, all in the top six.

But this is unlikely to cut much ice with the ambitious McDermott. He knows well enough the limitations of the current side and was out on a scouting mission the next day.

Welling United Lineup


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