Late Pybus Goal Sinks Rebels

Slough Town

Slough Town



Pybus (90)
League Attendance: 1240 Steve Bateman
The writing is on the wall for the Rebels following defeat through a 90th minute goal by Altrincham substitute Darren Pybus at The Park on Saturday. Forget the jinx theory - Slough created enough chances to win their fourth Conference game in five this season.

But their blades were blunt against a typically dour Conference side whose tough, physical approach with the accent on getting results is what the bulk of the season is going to be about. Slough were once again slow to get into their stride against the burly, blustering Cheshire side. Their striker Niell Hardy looked intent on making it seven goals in six matches as the Robins set about extending their unbeaten run at The Park.

He had a glorious chance in the 18th minute when put clear from halfway by Chris Sharratt. But Slough keeper Ben Miles, re-signed on three-months' loan from Swansea City 48 hours earlier, raced out and forced the rampaging Hardy to slice his shot wide of the target.

The Robins enjoyed the best of the early play as the Rebels attack bounced off the twin pillars of Paul France and Barry Butler. Stuart Terry put his shot wide after Darren Heesom's 17th minute cross was palmed off the crossbar and Ricky Harris went close with a header from Heeson's 31st minute free kick.

Slough, with a chance of going top of the table a possible reward for halting the Robins's 10 match unbeaten run, had the best opportunity in the half in the 28th minute as they started to get on top. Robins keeper Matt Dickens dropped the ball from a Danny Bolt cross, Gary Abbott knocked it back across the box to Mark West whose reflex shot rapped the upright.

Miles, who is back for a second spell with the Rebels, looked sharp when fending off a fierce Sharratt drive after he had broken clear from halfway.

Slough, however, took a firmer grip on the game as the second half unfolded. They looked certain to go ahead after a period of pressure when Bolt smashed a shot from the edge of the box which Dickens managed to get behind. He couldn't hold the ball and West, who would score nine times out of ten in this situation, simply blasted the ball back into a wall of flesh.

And Simon Stapleton hit the same obstacle with a solidly driven low shot as the attacks multiplied.

Northfleet referee Stephen Peeke, who lacked real authority throughout a very competitive encounter, then waved away West's angry call for a penalty in the 60th minute when a cross from the left was intercepted.

West was ideally placed, too, to meet Simon Stapleton's deft chip following a corner six minutes later, but once more his sense of direction let him down. After weathering the storm for over half an hour, Altrincham finally broke out with Stuart Terry making a run into the area and slipping the ball to Hardy whose shot cannoned off the advancing Miles's legs.

More energy in the form of a second substitution was followed by Altrincham's fast replacement Pybus also getting in a shot which bounced back off Slough's defence. With two minutes to go Bolt once more found himself in the ideal spot after Stapleton had rescued Blackford's near post cross.

But where a first time shot was called for, Bolt was precious seconds getting the ball under control and there was Dickens again. Paul Cain, Altrincham's second sub, then tolled the bell for the Rebels. Jinking through the midfield, he finally worked the ball to Sharratt whose toe poke across the goal went beyond the oncoming Miles for Pybus to steer it in at the far post.

As the English weather starts to break up for the forthcoming eight months, the Rebels can expect more of this kind of war of wills and test of strength and stamina.

Altrincham Lineup

Dickens, Maddocks, Heesom, France, Butler, Doherty, Terry, Harris, Hardy, Horrigan, Sharratt. SUBS: Cain (for Hardy, 79), Reid, Pybus (for Harris, 32)


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