Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Tuesday 27th September 2016
Brakes came unstuck at Arbour Park as league leaders Slough Town marked their first midweek fixture at their new stadium with a ninth successive win to open up a 3 point lead at the top of the table.
Paul Holleran’s side have failed to score in both of their league defeats so far this term, but as was the case at Chippenham it was not for the want of trying. Slough may be riding the crest of a wave of enthusiasm created by their homecoming after 13 years of nomadic existence at Beaconsfield and Windsor, but it was evident that they are a vastly different animal to last season. Neil Baker and Jon Underwood have got them extremely well organised and very difficult to break down, and they are also scoring plenty of goals.
Rob Thompson-Brown and Richard Taundry both found the arms of Rebels keeper Mark Scott with early free kicks as Leamington settled down on the 3G surface, while Warren Harris was within a whisker of connecting with a low ball across the box from James Dobson for the home side.
The Rebels fans appeared somewhat subdued throughout, as if still taking in their new surroundings and getting used to their team playing in their own town again, but some were prematurely celebrating when a shot from Mark Nisbett rippled the side netting as it flew wide. However, they did not have to wait long to celebrate for real as Slough went in front 9 minutes before half time. Gavin James was left with far too much time and space to stab home at the far post as Brakes failed to deal with a right wing corner.
Jack Edwards headed off target from a Connor Gudger cross but Leamington went into the dressing room a goal down. Courtney Baker-Richardson replaced the injured Ahmed Obeng at the beginning of the second half and quickly got involved, driving a powerful first time effort just past the post.
Gudger saw a shot blocked after a neat exchange of passes with Ryan Rowe, who toiled hard for an opening all evening, while Baker-Richardson’s well struck volley was unfortunately straight at Scott.
The killer second goal arrived in slightly dubious circumstances as Slough had been denied the award of what looked a far more legitimate free kick moments earlier, than the one that was given which led to Dobson finding the bottom corner from around 25 yards.
James Mace had a chance to halve the deficit but keeper Scott held onto the ball well. Thompson-Brown’s well struck effort deflected behind off team mate Zak Lilly, who then saw Scott parry a screaming effort from Rowe’s backheel, the ball spinning into the air and looping towards the net, only for Paul Stonehouse to scramble back and clear his lines.
Rowe headed straight at the keeper from close range, before Thompson-Brown really extended the Rebels’ stopper with a great turn and a thunderbolt of a strike which was pushed over the bar.
Edwards’ late drive was grabbed at the second attempt by Scott as Leamington succumbed to defeat, but they were beaten by a team on top of their game at present, and could not be faulted for their effort.
Slough Town: Mark Scott, Sean Fraser ©, Paul Stonehouse, Guy Hollis, Mark Nisbett (14 Dan Hicks, 46), Lee Togwell, James Dobson, Simon Dunn, Gavin James, Nathan Webb (15 Gurkan Gokmen, 90), Warren Harris.
Subs not used: 12 Josh Jackman, 16 Lewis Putman, 18 Brad Hewitt.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Ben George (15 Joe Magunda, 75), Connor Gudger, Darren Pond (14 Zak Lilly, 60), Jamie Hood, James Mace, Rob Thompson-Brown, Richard Taundry, Ryan Rowe, Jack Edwards, Ahmed Obeng (12 Courtney Baker-Richardson, 46).
Subs not used: 16 Tom James, 17 Lee Moore.
Referee: Mr Dan Simpson
Assistant Referees: Mr Samuel Gregory & Mr Jonathan Bolland
Brakes Man of the Match: Jack Edwards.