Slough lose at Top Field

Hitchin Town

Hitchin Town

Arlick (37), Hammond (67), L. Donnelly (81)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Martin (74), Hibbert (78)
League Attendance: 295 Simon Sweeney
Slough's return to league action after a month of cup involvement ended in disappointment with a 3-2 defeat at league high-fliers Hitchin Town.

With injuries stacking up, Steve Bateman introduced new signing Leon Hibbert from Corby to add some steel to the Rebels midfield.

Both sides exchanged early chances, as Zak Burke and Jamie Arlick fired wide, before Elliot Buchanan put a header just over the bar. The lightning-quick Jeff Hammond beat Fenton for pace on the right wing before cutting inside, but Dean Harper got across to put in a saving tackle.

After a fairly even start to the game, Hitchin took the lead after 37 minutes with a well executed finish from Jamie Arlick. The ball was given away in midfield, and Slough were punished as Ieuan Lewis, the home side’s man of the match, played the ball across the box to Arlick, whose first-time finish across Perks found the bottom corner.

Early in the second half, Hitchin should really have extended their lead further, but Perks blocked superbly from Burke twice, before another effort moments later was blocked on the line.

Slough needed a response, and almost registered a goal through debutant Hibbert, but the midfielder lifted his shot a yard over the bar from a long throw.

As was the case the previous Saturday, Slough only looked like scoring when the game looked beyond them, and Hitchin had looked to have sewn the game up with a second goal on 67 minutes. Hammond evaded the challenge of Bowden-Haase and sent a low effort past Perks and in off the post to spark wild celebrations.

Whilst the defending was not of the standards set so far this season, nobody can doubt the resilience of Steve Bateman’s Rebels, and Slough found themselves level at 2-2 within nine minutes.

Firstly, in the 74th minute, a corner kick was headed on by Bowden-Haase and nodded toward goal by Martin, with the ball clearly crossing the line before the Hitchin defenders could attempt to scramble it clear.

Five minutes later, Slough were level. Clever interplay involving substitute Craig O’Connor saw him through on goal, and Bennett saved at his feet with the rebound being rolled into the bottom corner by Hibbert.

Slough now looked well on top and the more likely team to score, but were caught out again just three minutes later. Richard Howell was allowed to run into the area and square the ball to the onrushing Luke Donnelly, who delivered another clinical finish, shooting high into Perks’ goal.

Showing no signs of being deflated by this, Slough immediately went on the attack once again, and Simon Martin had a free header in the six yard box, but somehow put his header wide of goal from O’Connor’s inviting cross.

Paul Edgeworth had a late effort saved by Bennett, but Slough ultimately ran out of time and will rue missed opportunities and sloppy defending, albeit against one of the league’s stronger sides.

Hitchin Town Lineup

Bennett, Fontenelle, Gilbert, Smith, Reece, Lewis, William, L. Donnelly, Burke, Arlick, Hammond. Subs: Velandia, B. Donnelly, Howell, Lee, Gentle-King.


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