Miles injury makes it an uphill struggle

Hednesford Town

Hednesford Town

Carty (1-1), Francis (81)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Brazil (51)
League Attendance: 852 Unknown
An injury to goalkeeper Ben Miles saw Slough Town forced to play nearly an hour with defender Steve Bateman taking over between the posts.

The Rebels still managed to take a second half lead thanks to a thundering header by Gary Brazil. But although Slough's defence worked hard to protect their stand-in keeper, Hednesford pulled themselves back into the game with a spectacular equaliser. then grabbed the winner with nine minutes left.

Manager Brian McDermott stuck with the side that had finished against Halifax two weeks earlier at Wexham Park. Looking for the win that would ensure Conference safety Slough had the ball in the back of the net after 15 minutes after Gary Abbott connected with Garry Smart's cross, but the goal was ruled out. The referee seemed to indicate that Smart's cross had gone out and curled back in, but then bizarrely awarded
Slough a corner rather than giving a goal kick.

Hednesford quickly came into it, and with the speed of Delton Francis and Joe O'Connor up front looked dangerous. In the 26th minute Miles had to save at the feet of O'Connor, and two minutes later collided with Cliff Hercules after blocking another fierce shot from the Hednesford front man.

It was left to Gary McGinnis to race back and clear Paul Carty's follow-up shot off the line, as both Miles and Hercules needed lengthy treatment.

Clearly in pain, Miles struggled on but came off in the 37th to be replaced by Rob Paris as Bateman took over his jersey.

With more than five minutes of injury time in the first half, both Brazil and Abbott went close before Bateman was called into action for the first time, coming out quickly to deny O'Connor.

Slough opened the second half with two efforts from Abbott, both blocked, before Brazil broke the deadlock six minutes in. Playing a neat one-two Mark Fiore broke down the left and floated in a cross that Brazil ran in on and met perfectly.

With their noses in front, Slough chased every ball and closed down quickly to keep the ball away from their area. But as the home side pressed to come back it was clearly going to be a tough task for the Rebels to keep up the workrate.

Carty pulled the sides level with a break down the right, beating McGinnis and lashing in a shot that gave Bateman practically no chance. Even a point would have been some reward for Slough, but with nine minutes left Hednesford struck again.

Bateman had saved well from a Stuart Lake header to concede a corner. But when Lake rose to meet Carty's corner he headed it back across the goal for Francis to rifle it in.

Hednesford Town Lineup


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