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Long Crendon Ladies (A)
Sun Dec 6
14:00

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Long Crendon Ladies (A)
Sun Dec 6 14:00
Thames Valley Counties Women's Football League
1st
18pts

Unhappy Lee Is Sole Survivor

| League
Att: 835
Slough Town
0 - 1
Runcorn
Bignall
Steve Bateman
Brian Lee was the only player from Slough's 11 which started the season at Southport who featured in the 1-0 defeat by relegated Runcorn at The Park on Saturday.

That statistic provides a measure of work McDermott must complete during the coming months if he wants to avoid a repetition of the relegation battles which have dogged the Rebels in four of their five seasons in the Conference.

His side for Saturday included a debut appearance for youth team player Dwain Clarke on the left wing while teenager Rob Smith got his second start among the back four.

Two more youth team players - Danny Wicks and Grant Eaton - sat on the bench while Tony Nolan, who has been hauled out of the Reserves has established himself in McDermott's mind as a centre half of considerable potential.

McDermott was also without strikers Mark West - missing his only outing of the season - Cliff Hercules and Ansil Bushay, and minus midfielders Andy Clement, Mark Pye and Barry Rake.

Runcorn could hardly have had a better opportunity of turning their exit from the Conference after 15 years into a swansong.

But it was the ball that refused to buried as the last rites were read, Ross Pickett missing four chances which would have allowed the Rebels to finish on an up beat.

The doomed Linnets struggled to summon much enthusiasm in a game which had only pride at stake for both sides.

But they created only three first half chances, one of these courtesy of the Rebels.

Two fell to striker Karl Thomas who first lacked the speed to spin and beat Ben Miles from close range then directed a header straight into awaiting arms.

And Gavin Allen was the lucky beneficiary of a clearance ball which ricocheted to him off Steve Bateman's back, but which Miles smothered at his feet.

Pickett had plenty of time with the three chances which came his way in the first half, but fluffed them all.

He blasted from 14 yards against keeper Alan Thompson after 12 minutes and saw his trickling rebound effort hacked off the line by Peter Byrne.

Pickett struck the upright with a hooked shot just inside the box after 27 minutes.

And put clear by McDermott on the stroke of half time, pulled his angled shot from the right off target.

Mike Bignall was able to pick his spot with a shot across goal from the right which Miles could not reach.

Andy Gray had a wonderful chance to get the Rebels a share of the points in the 89th minute, but Thompson flew athletically to his right to palm a good strike to safety.

McDermott had already done some hard thinking since taking over at the end of February.

Since then seven players have gone from the squad with several more due to be released.

His record stands at 15 league games, four wins, four draws and seven defeats with 20 goals for and 21 against.

Like Alan Davies twice before, McDermott completed their Conference programme with 13 wins and like Les Briley with 47 points. Davies twice survived relegation with 45 points, Briley did not.

McDermott's challenge in the coming months is to revitalise the Rebels and achieve what another former manager John Docherty said he could do `standing on his head'.

The Slough boss was `bitterly disappointed', especially with midfield pairing of Lee and Catlin, which enabled a relegated side do the double over the Rebels.

McDermott said: "I want winners and I will get them even if it means taking players from Sunday football."

Runcorn Line up

Thompson, Bates, Carpenter, Lee, Finley, Byrne, Doherty, Ruffer, Allen, Thomas, Eyres. SUBS: Clowes, Ellis (for Lee, 84), Hill.

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