Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 28th January 2017
Brakes’ long stint as Southern League Premier Division leaders came to a crashing halt as they were humbled by a Slough Town side who emphatically ended their poor recent run of results with a resounding victory that firmly re-establishes their own promotion credentials.
Red cards for Ryan Rowe and Jack Edwards merely heightened the misery for Paul Holleran, who acknowledged that his side got what they deserved as their so far impressive goals against tally took a massive hit.
The game sparked into life on 14 minutes after an uneventful opening, Chris Flood curving a great effort into the top corner past Tony Breeden, who was rooted to the spot. There was barely time for Leamington to get back into the game before they found themselves two goals behind, but they hardly helped themselves, wasting numerous opportunities to get the ball clear and allowing Gavin James the chance to dig the ball out of the crowd and into the bottom corner.
Jack Edwards saw a header cleared away from goal before cutting inside to fire in a shot at goal that lacked the power to trouble Rebels keeper Mark Scott. Joe Magunda then conceded a free kick from which Flood curled in a low shot that was saved by Breeden.
Matters became considerably worse for Leamington when a challenge from Jack Edwards sparked an unsightly melee, resulting in a red card for Ryan Rowe, who had apparently shoved an opponent during the fracas. Edwards also picked up a booking which he would come to regret later on.
The game was practically over as a contest before half time, Flood bagging his second of the game with a thunderous header at the far post from Simon Dunn’s precise free kick.
Edwards headed well over from a good position as first half substitute Darren Pond fired over a free kick after Ahmed Obeng was brought down, but Leamington were rarely getting into positions where they even looked like causing a threat to their visitors, and almost conceded a comical fourth goal when Breeden’s clearance from the left wing went straight to the feet of Slough skipper Sean Fraser, who lifted it back towards goal. Flood’s header was going in until Connor Gudger hooked the ball off the line.
Paul Holleran threw on his last two substitutes as Richard Gregory and Jordan Goddard replaced Callum Gittings and Obeng, and Gregory forced Scott into his only real save of the game when the keeper came off his line well to block as the former Stratford Town man attempted to nick the ball past him.
The game really was up when Flood grabbed his hat trick strike with just over 20 minutes to play, crashing the ball in at the near post from Webb’s ball in from the touchline. Edwards was shown a second yellow card in the aftermath for an offence committed in the build up to the goal.
Six minutes later Dunn set up a simple tap in for debutant substitute Ashan Holgate to score with almost his first touch of the ball. Webb forced Breeden into a save and Courtney Baker-Richardson fired well wide at the other end, but there was further pain to come for Brakes, which incensed the home support. Richard Taundry had been off the pitch receiving treatment, but despite several pleas to the officials to be allowed to re-enter the pitch as Slough attacked once more he was ignored, and Rebels substitute Charlie Moone was played in to set up Dunn to apply another close range finish.
Paul Holleran was clearly extremely disappointed with the events of the afternoon, saying ‘It’s been a very disappointing day for us, and I think when we look back at the video analysis we’ll see that the bread and butter things that we normally do so well, we didn’t do them today and they’ve punished us with clinical finishing. When you concede two and three goals as quickly as that the momentum swings. Slough are a good side, we were well aware of that. They may have had a blip recently, but as I’ve said to the players in the dressing room, they have come and have done a proper job on us, and we had no answers. Our answers were throwing the dolls out of the pram, getting involved in silly situations. One or two people are blaming the referee but listen, it’s all our own fault, we totally deserved what we got today, and were probably fortunate to come off only six goals down.’
‘This group of players, even with one or two missing I never saw that coming. We’ll get beat in games, that happens in this division, there are some good teams in it, but never in that manner, so that’s a real disappointment, for me and the staff. The players are fully aware of how I feel. They’ve let themselves down, me and the supporters. This should have been a cracking, entertaining game, but sadly only one team turned up.’
Slough joint boss Jon Underwood was understandably far more upbeat. ‘Obviously from our point of view we’re delighted. I thought that even before the sending off we were in control, we adapted to the game quicker than Leamington did. We were on top of the game and scored a couple of great goals, the first goal was a fantastic strike.’
‘We’ve not been playing well recently, we knew coming here was going to be tough but full credit to our lads for starting off the way they did. Obviously the first sending off really helped, and (Jack) Edwards was already on a booking, so to do whatever it was he did probably wasn’t the cleverest thing to do, but I think the game was already done by that point. I thought we were thoroughly professional throughout, we know what a good side Leamington are and we’ve obviously caught them on a poor day for them, and a good day for us. In this league it doesn’t matter what position you are, if you’re not on your game then you’ll get beaten. There’s a lot of twists to come, it’s so tight up there now so today won’t make or break anyone’s season. It was important for us to get back to winning ways, but knowing Paul I am sure he will get his boys bouncing back.’
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Callum Gittings (15 Jordan Goddard, 60), Joe Magunda, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe, Rob Thompson-Brown (14 Darren Pond, 39), Ahmed Obeng (12 Richard Gregory, 60).
Subs not used: 16 Ben George, 17 Jamie Hood.
Slough Town: Mark Scott, Sean Fraser ©, Paul Stonehouse, Nathan Smart, Mark Nisbet, Lee Togwell, Manny Williams (14 James Dobson, 76), Simon Dunn, Gavin James (17 Ash Holgate, 70), Chris Flood (16 Charlie Moone, 70), Nathan Webb.
Subs not used: 12 Dan Hicks, 15 Warren Harris.
Referee: Mr Richard Price
Assistant Referees: Mr Luis Martin & Mr Steve Durnall
Brakes Man of the Match: Joe Magunda.