Quail gives Hendon the bird

| League
Att: 505
Slough Town
Quail (45)
1 - 1
Hendon
Whitmarsh (68)
Unknown
Manager Graham Roberts had said he expected Saturday's match against Hendon to be a tough one. And so it proved. The visitors were a well organised, competitive side who were brutally efficient in defence and looked sharp in attack.

But Slough's well organised defence, with Roberts playing despite a hamstring strain from last week, kept Hendon at a distance and allowed them very few chances. With Slough taking the lead just before half-time - then continuing after the break with confidence, there was every hope that another three points would be in the bag.

Hendon, though, have a master craftsman in Paul Whitmarsh and the league's leading scorer (with 24 in league and cup) levelled matters midway through the second half and a draw was probably a fair ending to an intriguing game.

But the result was perhaps a measure on how far Slough had come since the 5-2 defeat in the reverse fixture in October, and just after Roberts had taken over. Slough now give little away but are still looking for a consistent cutting edge up front, something Roberts will be working on long term.

The Rebels had a lively start to the game with Paul Barrowcliff and Mark Hall working hard in midfield, along with Eddie Denton who provided a good link in what was one of his best games of the season. The strike partnership of Simon Quail and Dean Samuels was effective at taking control of the ball and holding it up well. Samuels looked more pacy now he is getting fitter.

Hendon had a composed look in midfield and worked the ball well looking for openings, Whitmarsh was in the thick of most things, often picking up balls from deep to set things in motion. Slough's defence needed to be alert and Roberts' tackle as Whitmarsh spun round looked innocuous but it earned him a booking after ten minutes.

More serious was the heavy tackle on Steve Daly who was bundled off the pitch by Junior Lewis, who proved a bit of a handful. Daly carried on for a while but had to limp off to be replaced by Graham Kemp. Kemp played a blinder in filling the gap in defence, beating attackers to the ball time and again.

Slough's most dangerous attacks were down the left with Lee Archer getting forward and putting in some good crosses, but too often attackers were running in early with the ball corning in behind them.

On 30 minutes, a good move from Denton to Barrowcliff was slipped to Quail who turned clamly and tried to place it but a backheel from a defender cleared the danger. Shortly after, a Slough free-kick saw Roberts contrive a tricky drill which ended with a backheel to Archer whose lobbed drive was only just over the bar.

Five minutes later came the first real dangerous assault from Hendon which ended with a low drive across goal from the left but was cleared. Slough had an opportunity to go in front just before the break when Dean Samuels was put in by Hall but the striker seemed to have too much time and in trying to measure his shot, the ball got caught up in his legs and the defence pounced to clear the danger.

But as first half injury time ticked on Slough finally broke the deadlock with a superb strike from Quail. Hall went on a run down the right, beat a defender before putting in a lovely deep cross to the unmarked Quail, who drove in a beautifully controlled right foot volley.

Slough attacked from the off as they came out for the second half looking strong and confident. But they failed to build on their advantage and perhaps playing a little deep allowed Hendon to come back into it.

And it was that man Whitmarsh who struck the blow which brought the equaliser for Hendon on 68 minutes. He ghosted in to run in front of the defence to meet a corner kick and bullet a header home for 1-1.

Shortly after, Samuels put in some good work to draw three defenders out on the right before slipping the ball to Hall, then on to Denton whose screamer went just wide.

Slough continued to create some half-chances then with 15 minutes left Andrew Deaner came on for Samuels and shortly after, Roberts was replaced and Bryan Hammatt who came on up front. But Hendon allowed them little opportunity and the honours ended even.

Hendon Line up

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