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Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
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The National League U19 Alliance

Four for Smith as Slough win at Rugby

Rugby Town

Rugby Town

Slough Town

Slough Town

Smith (42, 52, 57, 71)
League Attendance: 393 Edward Smith
Slough got back to winning ways in style at Butlin Road, repeating last season’s score line thanks to four goals from Ed Smith in an action-packed encounter on 'Non-League Day'.

The result will be a huge confidence boost for the squad, as well as managers Neil Baker and Jon Underwood, after a midweek FA Cup exit against Cirencester Town and two defeats in their first four league games.

It took a while for both sides to click into gear, and in the early going, Slough still demonstrated some nervous moments at the back, with Jake Somerville having to make a save from Rugby midfielder Michael Williams after a defensive lapse gave him a sight of goal.

At the other end, Slough attacked confidently and fluently, and Smith gave notice of the threat he carried by working space for a shot from the edge of the box, which Niall Cooper turned behind for a corner.

Whilst Rugby looked fairly comfortable in possession at times, they were not allowed to progress too far up the pitch, and Slough continued to press, with Scott Harris close to applying the finishing touch at the back post after a header across goal.

The game burst into life with around twenty minutes played. Scott Harris was played in over the top by Jamie McClurg, and he showed good strength to hold off his marker, turn and get in a shot which beat Cooper, but was blocked by left-back Craig Kelly on the goal line. With the referee adjudging it to have been with an arm, a penalty was awarded and Kelly was dismissed. Smith stepped up to take the kick, but Cooper guessed correctly, moving quickly to his left to push aside Smith’s placed effort.

Just minutes later, the game took another twist as Slough’s Michael Blount was sent off for hauling down Rugby hotshot David Kolodynski when clean through on goal. The referee had no option but to dismiss Blount, leaving the managers to reshuffle the side, with Guy Hollis replacing striker Scott Harris.

Both sides settled into their new formations, and Sam Youngs flashed a shot just wide from 25 yards for the home side. But on the cusp of half time, Slough took the lead with a goal which was to prove crucial. Slough capitalised on a misplaced pass from defender Alex Gudger, and McClurg chipped the ball over the top of the last defender for Smith to run on to. This time, he calmly bore down on goal, rounded Cooper and slotted in his third goal of the season to give his side a half-time advantage.

Rugby, needing to get back into the game, briefly threatened at the start of the second half, with Seb Lake-Gaskin busting past the challenges of Sean Fraser and Guy Hollis and forcing Somerville to make a good save.

Slough, though, doubled their advantage with seven minutes played. David Woozley found himself in unfamiliar territory, on the left wing deep into Rugby’s half, but he held the ball up well and fed Smith, who burst into the box before beating Cooper from an extremely narrow angle at the second attempt, after his initial shot had been blocked.

Five minutes later, Smith completed a hat-trick following a super team move. Woozley stormed forward again into the Rugby midfield, beating Ellis Myles before feeding Darren Wheeler on the left. Instead of taking the ball down and beating his man, Wheeler played a delightful first-time ball across goal into the path of Smith, who side footed past Cooper.

Slough were now in total control, their opponents stunned by the early second half goals, and the rest of the game was played out comfortably. With 71 minutes played, Slough broke forward with McClurg, influential throughout, feeding Smith again, 20 yards out. He controlled and found space to curl a superb shot past the beleaguered Cooper again, to claim his fourth of the game before being given a superb ovation as he was replaced by Johnnie Dyer.

Warren Harris was close to a fifth late on, but his shot drifted wide.

Rugby Town Lineup

Niall Cooper, Ellis Myles, Craig Kelly, Ed Booth, Alex Gudger (c), Sam Youngs, Michael Williams, Richard Blythe, David Kolodynski (Steve Palmer), Seb Lake-Gaskin (Andrew Spencer), Justin Marsden. Subs not used: Mason Rowley, Lewis Bishop.


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