The result gets Slough back to winning ways in the league after last Saturday’s draw against Daventry at Holloways Park, and keeps Steve Bateman’s side in with a good chance of at least making the playoffs, with another big game at Daventry to come on Tuesday evening.
Slough won a couple of corner kicks, the last of which Dave Woozley headed wide. James Warrington was then called into action to turn a fierce strike wide of goal from a narrow angle as Fleet perhaps made the more promising start to the match.
Burnell then hit a shot straight into the arms of Pryce from 25 yards as the Fleet defence backed off, but had better luck in the 22nd minute. Jake Parsons came inside from the right and got in a shot which Burnell, played onside, trapped and in the same movement fired between the legs of the onrushing Pryce to open the scoring.
Boosted by the goal, Slough went on to dominate the play, and only an important block and clearance from Pat Cox denied Burnell a second.
Slough went close again when the ball was worked to Danny Murphy in space, but his fierce strike was deflected behind, seemingly off the arm of a defender.
But Slough did double their lead in the 41st minute, with Parsons scoring the pick of the bunch. He drove at goal and struck a shot from the edge of the box which seemed to bend inside at the last moment, going in off Pryce’s far post and leaving him with no chance.
The goal was to be the first in a crazy three-minute spell. Almost immediately from the restart, Fleet made a beeline for the Slough goal with good interplay between James Field and player-manager Craig Davis, and striker Jack White curled a neat finish wide of Warrington from just inside the box.
Within a minute, Slough had restored their two-goal cushion. Ryan O’Toole, after scoring his first for the club at Frome on Tuesday, ran on to a long pass forward, held off the challenge of left-back Harry Davies and poked the ball into the net before Pryce could reach it.
This gave Slough a 3-1 half-time lead which really should have been extended minutes into the second half. O’Toole again broke through the Fleet backline thanks to Adam Martin’s pass, but Pryce did well to deny him as the striker took too long over the finish.
Fleet went close as a deflected header fell onto the roof of Warrington’s net, and whilst not posing many problems for Slough, the Rebels did appear nervy at the back at times. At the other end though, Slough were playing the ball around nicely, and were afforded lots of time to do so by the hosts.
Burnell was a foot wide with a dipping volley from 30 yards before O’Toole made certain of the three points in the 65th minute with Slough’s fourth goal. Once again he broke free of the Fleet defence and this time held off the challenges of Cox and skipper Gavin Miller before firing into the bottom corner.
The theme of conceding a goal shortly after scoring continued as, four minutes later, Miller reduced the arrears by finding the back of the net as he headed in Davis’ corner.
Both sides had half-chances to score as Fleet looked to try and make the final twenty minutes difficult for Slough. The home side looked a threat particularly in the air, with Slough at times looking uneasy, but managing to hold their own. Fleet’s main problems were at the back, and O’Toole missed a hat-trick chance as he scuffed a shot after super work to beat his man and bring the ball into the box. He later blasted a shot from distance which Pryce had to tip over.
O’Toole was not to be denied though, and after Pryce had yet again denied the Rebels with a superb flying save from substitute Kyle Anthony’s header, he completed his treble with virtually the last action of the game, a cool side-footed finish past Pryce after Anthony had played him in on the left side of the box. It capped a fine individual performance and strong team performance.
Fleet Town Line up
Ryan Pryce, Phil Moore, Harry Davies, Leigh Rumbold, Gavin Miller (c), Pat Cox, Ben White (Mark Vockins), Craig Davis, Jack White (David McCallum), Mark Watkins (Danilo Cadete), James Field. Sub not used: Nick Hutchings.