Match day

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Welling United (H)
Sat Apr 20

Match day

Team logo
Welling United (H)
Sat Apr 20 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Rebels held away at Farm Park

AFC Hayes

AFC Hayes

Rhone (pen 84)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Burnell (75)
League Attendance: 158 Paul Coyne
Slough Town were displaced at the summit of the Evo-Stik Division One Central after a highly controversial refereeing decision led to the award of a late penalty for hosts AFC Hayes, which was converted to deny the Rebels a deserved victory.

A combination of a bumpy pitch and damp conditions at Farm Park led to a tricky playing surface, and, given the respective league positions of the two clubs, a tight opening 45 minutes was not unexpected.

Slough, though, could have taken an early lead as the 'Brook' defence failed to clear a corner, but Nathan Bowden-Haase failed to make sufficient contact to force the ball home with his back to goal.

The first half was punctuated by a series of stoppages, with the Slough attackers constantly being flagged for offside, as well as a number of fouls given for innocuous challenges by referee Roberts. Slough were left frustrated after the official penalised a Brook defender for a foul, but had play been allowed to continue, Ben Abbey would have found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Simon Grant.

Sean Sonner, making his 100th Rebels appearance, did well to control a massive clearance from Alex Brown and force a save from Grant, but chances were at a premium, and Hayes threatened only from distance, testament to Slough's well-marshalled defence.

Shortly before half-time, Paul Coyne went closer still to breaking the deadlock, but Grant got across well to turn his free-kick around the post.

Slough started the second half much the stronger, and James Warrington, having recovered from a nasty-looking knee injury sustained on Saturday, made his first save of note, dealing comfortably with a strike at his near post.

Tempers started to flare after the home side reacted furiously to a tough tackle from Danny Murphy, in an advanced position near the opposition corner flag, but the officials correctly waved away the protests. However, a Brook official was banished from the dugout as protestations continued.

Slough grew stronger and stronger as the game wore on, and looked to turn their dominance in possession into a goal. A stinging effort from Sonner out of nothing was punched wide by Grant, and the goalkeeper was extremely fortunate to get away with a slip as he attempted a clearance, with the hard-working front pairing of Sonner and Abbey closing him down quickly.

Sonner was close to making full contact as he slid in to meet a low cross from Ben Abbey, which surely would have put Slough ahead.

But it was Burnell's introduction, in place of Abbey, which was to prove decisive. The striker almost had an immediate impact as a fierce drive from Sonner hit him and flew over, rather than the back of the net.

With fifteen minutes remaining, though, Slough finally took the lead. This time, Sonner stayed onside from a ball played over the top, and showed good control to bring the ball inside and slide the ball across the face of goal for Burnell to sidefoot past Grant – the striker both delighted and relieved to have netted his first goal in nine games.

But further drama was to follow, as, with ten minutes left to play, James Warrington came rushing out of his goal to meet the ball as it was played forward. The goalkeeper judged the situation perfectly, saving a poked effort from a Brook attacker and turning the ball away from danger, before colliding with the player. However referee Roberts, despite having a clear view of the incident, interpreted this as a foul and awarded a penalty kick, to the amazement of the vast majority in attendance, including AFC Hayes players.

The Slough players were understandably furious at the decision, particularly as Warrington was shown a yellow card after receiving treatment. But the decision stood, and after a long delay, Dominic Rhone stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and put his side on level terms.

Further yellow cards followed as the visitors' frustration threatened to boil over, but Slough kept searching for a winning goal and came agonisingly close when Alex Brown's header from a free-kick won by substitute Charlie Mpi was cleared off the line by Oliver Duffy, an intervention which ensured his side would hold on for a point.

AFC Hayes Lineup

Grant, Duffy, Owens, Defty, Duffy, Buckley, Smith, Ochoa, Chakaodza, Ahir, Rhone. Subs: Vincent, Murphy, Charlery, Maharjan, Woods.


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