East Thurrock United
Both teams came into the match needing all three points ahead of a busy festive period, but for different reasons - Slough looking to rediscover their form ahead of a potential push for a playoff spot, and East Thurrock in need of points to move themselves away from the relegation zone.
A lack of goals has been a source of frustration for the Rebels of late, and Jon Underwood and Neil Baker responded on Friday by bringing in young Oxford United striker Dejon Noel-Williams on loan. He took a place on the bench with Flood partnering Ben Harris in attack – and within two minutes, Flood had given Slough took the lead.
Warren Harris controlled the ball well and beat his man before driving into the box where he crossed low for Flood to sweep the ball first time past East Thurrock keeper Jack Giddens.
It took the visitors a while to respond and from early on it seemed their best chances would come from set pieces. This was the case on 21 minutes as a free kick was whipped into the box, and it was well met by an East Thurrock head which had Jack Turner backpedalling quickly to keep the ball from crossing the line.
But on 25 minutes East Thurrock were able to celebrate an equaliser. A long throw into the box had Turner coming out to claim, but the ball was just out of his reach and made it to Ryan Scott instead to touch it into an empty net. It was a defensive mix-up which the visitors capitalised on fully.
The Rocks nearly had another chance soon after when Turner left his box and was caught out wide, eventually fouling an East Thurrock striker to prevent an opportunity from being created. The Slough keeper received a caution as a result.
The Rebels regained the lead on the half hour mark when Flood rose highest to meet Dobson’s corner. Flood just about found enough space in a crowded box, and whilst it wasn’t the cleanest of connections, it was enough to send the ball looping toward goal and over the head of the defender standing on the line.
Slough looked to increase their advantage and nearly did so through Ben Harris but his header went just wide from George Wells’ cross.
Slough started the second half brightly but struggled to worry Giddens in the Thurrock goal.
Lee Togwell had the first chance but had to take it quickly as the defender closed in on him and so saw his shot go over the bar. Warren Harris was the next to try his luck but with a similar result to Togwell.
Chris Flood had a chance to complete his hat-trick but couldn’t get his shape right to head the ball on target from Dobson’s cross.
Slough then made a double change on 63 minutes, Chris Flood and Scott Davies being replaced by debutant Dejon Noel-Williams and Simon Dunn.
With little happening, Slough made their third and final change on 72 minutes - Ben Harris being replaced by Manny Williams.
However, just two minutes later Slough killed the game off by scoring a third goal to double their lead. The ball came to Simon Dunn in the middle of the pitch but it got stuck under his feet with Dobson in space screaming for it. Eventually Dunn fed Dobson and the Rebels winger set himself purposefully before hitting a thunderbolt which left Giddens rooted to the spot with the ball flying past him.
The final chance of note came to Noel-Williams, who did everything he could to throw himself at Dobson’s cross after the winger combined well with George Wells down the left side - but the striker couldn’t direct the ball towards goal.
As Jon Underwood noted afterwards, this was not the best performance from Slough but it resulted in a very welcome three points at the start of a busy festive period.
Report: Will Tuck
East Thurrock United Lineup
Jack Giddens (c), Lee Burns, Ibrahim Sori-Diallo, Ben Marlow, Lounisse Hamza-Merzook (Tom Derry 55), Steve Sheehan, Reece Prestedge, Ricky Hayles (Jonathan Nzengo 83), Sean Batt (Manny Omrore 67), Ryan Scott, Harry Lee. Unused substitute: Yannick Monga-Ebwa.