Embattled Slough take the honours

| League
Att: 395
Slough Town
Haynes (30), Marshall (2-1), Rainford (3-1)
3 - 1
Walton & Hersham
Blackman (23)
Marcus Richardson
Slough Town showed just how strong their team spirit is when they overcame being reduced to nine men for the second half to take the points with a 3-1 victory against Walton & Hersham at Wexham Park on Saturday.

It was a superbly professional performance which showed great discipline to battle back after a brawl involving most players from both sides saw two from Slough and one from Walton sent off just before half-time. The fisticuffs followed a crazy retaliatory tackle by Bryan Hammatt on Tommy Williams, for which he received a red card. The referee and linesman picked out Mark Pye and Lewis Craker as prominent in the melee and dismissed both. This set the scene for an intriguing second half, following a dull first in which Walton took the lead with a deflected goal and Slough equalised after a three-man move.

Graham Kemp, in his new role as assistant manager, led by example early on when making a penetrating run from midfield to link up with Dwight Marshall who fed Bryan Hammatt whose shot on target brought a save at the near post from Walton keeper John Gregory.

Slough were playing good confident football and pressurised the Walton defence, but while the Rebels looked comfortable they could not find a way through up front. Walton had a couple of half chances, with the busy Tommy Williams getting in good wide positions, but they did not have a cutting edge against a solid Slough defence.

On 20 minutes Marcus Richardson had a long shot saved, but shortly after should have scored when a measured ball over the top from Kenny Dyer put the tall striker clear of the defence. But his first touch let him down and the ball bobbled as he ran in on goal, and he ended up blasting high over the bar.

As often happens, a missed chance leads immediately to a goal at the other end, and so it was on Saturday, as Walton took the lead on 23 minutes. A free kick deep on the right was headed across the box by Ross Pickett, and Garfield Blackman dived in to head goalwards and the ball went in after being deflected by Steve Daly.

Slough kept plugging away and were rewarded with an equaliser seven minutes later when a ball forward was headed on by Richardson and then by Marshall for Junior Haynes to nip in for his first goal for the club.

Shortly after, Pye was given a yellow card for a tackle from behind but the officials were losing the respect of the players and the half ended in a shambles following the brawl and dismissals. Manager Steve Browne reshaped the side for the second half, playing 3-4-1 with Mark Hawthorne and Dave Rainford coming on for Dyer and Haynes.

With Marcus Richardson playing a lone role up front, the Rebels concentrated on defence and although Walton moved the ball around well, Slough were up to the task and left few holes for the visitors to exploit.

Slough showed superb discipline and took the offensive whenever they could and with 20 minutes remaining started to mount some telling attacks by feeding Richardson who did brilliantly holding the ball up and teasing defenders. Richardson's tenacity finally paid off to supply Marshall for Slough to take the lead. Kemp's vision started the move when he spread play from the left to find Richardson on the right wing. The striker looked to have taken on too much as he tried to dribble through three defenders near the bye-line, but in his inimitable manner he came out with the ball and slipped it inside to Marshall who hit it home at the near post.

Before Walton could recover from that blow, Slough made it 3-1 with a stunning free kick from Dave Rainford 25 yards out. As the Walton players were discussing the merits of the free kick. Rainford spotted the keeper off his line and took the kick immediately, hitting the top corner of the net with a delightful strike.

The nine men had pulled it around and a delighted Browne shook hands with all his players as they came off for a magnificent professional performance. Browne said later: "I can't condone such a horrific tackle. I will be taking action against Bryan. His actions led to the dismissal of another of our players. But the players worked their socks off in the second and won through well."

Walton & Hersham Line up

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