Rebels share the Spoils with City
Slough Town FC: Josh Jackman and Matt Lench get themselves
Slough Town 2, Oxford City 2
Without ever reaching the heights of their 41 victory over Hampton & Richmond Borough in mid-week, Slough Town showed another side of their game in this afternoon’s 22 draw with promotion chasers Oxford City.
The Rebels weren’t at their fluent best, a point made by joint boss Jon Underwood after the final whistle, but they battled and scrapped for every ball to hold off the challenge of a side who came into the game as the league’s leaders.
Not only that they managed to wrestle back momentum and take the lead midway through the second half having undeservedly fallen behind to an Elliot Benyon header in the 28th minute.
With their energetic young forward line of Alfonso Tenconi and Tyler Goodrham being kept on a tight leash by City’s resolute defence, the Rebels once again found some joy through set pieces, in particular Guy Hollis’ mayhem inducing long throws.
In the 52nd minute he launched the ball into the City area and a sea of bodies scrapped to flick the ball on or nod it clear.
The ball eventually squirmed through to Josh Jackman at the far post, and he turned and flashed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Up to that point City looked capable of holding onto the lead given to them by Benyon’s header from Josh Ashby’s rightwing free kick, but when Jackman hooked the ball past Ben Dudzinski all bets were off.
With momentum now with the hosts they poured forward in search of a second. The industrious Aaron Kuhl flashed low drive just wide of the post after a move that was started by a brilliant, searching, through ball by Scott Davies, who showed various flashes of genius. Goodrham then drove at the City defence and played in Kuhl on the right but his low cross was just a touch too close to Dudzinski who fell on the ball before Tenconi could pounce.
A second goal for the 1,100 plus crowd inside Arbour Park did eventually arrive, in the 73rd minute, with Hollis again at the heart of the action. He launched another ball into the City area, this time from the left touchline and Lee Togwell rose highest to
nod the ball down for the lurking Matt
Lench who scrambled home Slough’s second.
After their performance against Hampton on Tuesday, Underwood and Neil Baker might have hoped they’d hold onto their lead having nudged themselves in front, but attempting to push out from a City attack, they allowed George Harmon to ghost in on the blind side to a simple header over the top. The left-back still had plenty to do but he kept his head over the ball and lashed a wonderful drive past Jonathan North at his near post. There was little the Slough keeper could do as the ball whistled past him and into the net.
City pressed for a winner in the closing stages but created little in truth, and, while they’ll be happy enough to have escaped Arbour Park with a point, results elsewhere have seen new leaders Maidstone United and Ebbsfleet United leapfrog them at the top of the table.
Slough stay 11th but are now just a couple of points off the play-off places and this was another battling display which bodes well for the second half of the season. What’s more they’re now picking up points when not at their best.
They certainly shaded the opening 25 minutes and created a couple of half chances for Goodrham and Togwell.
The first saw the 18-year-old cut inside his man before directing a shot on target, but Dudzinski was equal to it.
Davies and Togwell then caused panic in the City backline as they attempted to divert a corner goalwards but the City stopper made a second sprawling save. Slough will have been satisfied with their efforts until Benyon escaped the clutches of Hollis and Togwell to head home just before the halfhour.
With City having kept clean sheets in each of their last four away games it felt like a significant blow, but when Slough aren’t at their free flowing best, they have other weapons in their arsenal to call upon and they used these to great effect in the second half with Jackman and Lench profiting from City’s inability to deal with Hollis’ long throws.