Rebels' rollercoaster ride ends in defeat

Slough Town

Slough Town

Brazil (24), Clement (32), Barclay (74)
Northwich Victoria

Northwich Victoria

Vicary (22), Cooke (2-2, 62, 89)
League Attendance: 703 Unknown
It's a statement used so often in football that it has probably lost its value, but Slough deserved to win this one. The Rebels applied all the pressure and new strikers Gary Brazil and Dominic Barclay grabbed a goal each in a rollercoaster game.

But they were also hit on the break too often, had a blatant penalty denied and were finally undone by an 89th minute strike. Northwich took the lead midway through the first half when Eddie Bishop's shot from wide on the right was blocked by Paul Wilkerson. The rebound fell to Darren Vicary who was able to fire in.

The lead lasted barely two minutes. and it was new signing Brazil who brought Slough level with the best goal of the game. He got on the end of a cross from Danny Bolt with his back to goal, took it on the chest and turned to fire his shot into the roof of the net.

The Slough fans had their first run-in with referee Mr North on the half-hour mark. when Cliff Hercules was shoved in the back as he rose to meet Bolt's corner, but nothing was given. But two minutes later Slough took the lead.

A ball into the box from Stuart Cash was headed back across the box by Barclay. Bolt couldn't find a way to get the ball on his left foot at the edge of the box, and touched it off for Andy Clement whose low first-time shot beat the keeper at the far post.

A defensive mistake by Cash cost Slough that lead minutes later. Steve Walters took the ball off Cash inside the Slough half and ran to the by-line. His cross was flicked on to Ian Cooke. who had plenty of time to place his header beyond Wilkerson's reach.

Slough had clearly had the better of the first half — denying Northwich a single corner — and kept that pressure up in the second. They should have had the opportunity to re-take the lead six minutes into the second half. when Hercules' looping header front a corner sparked a goalmouth scramble and a Northwich defender appeared to stick out his hand to keep the ball out. Again, the referee gave nothing.

Then just after the hour mark Slough were caught on the break twice in a minute and the second time it cost them a goal. Substitute Delwyn Humphries crossed in, Cooke's header went straight to Wilkerson who seemed to have hold of it, but may have lost it with the sun in his eyes. Either way, the ball found its way into the back of the net.

With Derek Simpson and Gavin Memagh replacing Cash and Clement the Rebels kept pushing, although at times were too hasty and impatient in their build-up.

But the pressure paid off in the 74th minute as Slough piled men into the Vics' area. The ball fell to Mernagh whose shot from outside the box got caught up in a tangle of legs. Barclay controlled it at his feet. turned and shot into the bottom right corner.

The chase for a winner was frantic, with Garry Smart pushing forward well. Bolt and Fiore working hard, and two good efforts from Brazil denied.

So it was a desperately cruel blow when Ward broke upfield again in the 89th minute and crossed for Cooke to head in for his hat-trick and steal the points for the Vics.

The Rebels have been finding goals hard to come by, and the introduction of a proven goal-scorer like Gary Brazil will be a major boost in the tough fixtures ahead.

Now it is the Slough defence that needs a little attention and a lot could depend on the fitness of Rob Smith, who watched this game from the stands after injuring his knee in a reserve match the previous Saturday.

Northwich Victoria Lineup


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