Match Report: Cinderford Town (home)
James hits two as Slough defeat Foresters
1 - 0 (Harris, 23 min); 2 - 0 (James, 45+1 min); 3 - 0 (Flood, 51 min); 3 - 1 (Welch, 65 min, pen); 4 - 1 (James, 71 min)
Man of Match: Gavin James
Slough Town strengthened their chances of securing a playoff place with a comprehensive win over bottom club Cinderford Town, which keeps the Rebels in third place.
The Rebels' on-loan goalkeeper Shaun Rowley was under-utilised in a first half which the home side dominated. By contrast, his opposite number Cameron Clarke kept out numerous efforts in the opening 20 minutes as Slough really should have put the game beyond doubt early on.
Joint manager Neil Baker was purring at the performance of his side in the first half, but was less impressed with the second.
“In the first half we were exceptional at times, they couldn’t live with us. How we weren’t four or five up at half time, I’ll never know.”
However, after going three goals ahead early in the second half, the Rebels conceded two penalties, one of which the visitors converted. “I don’t think we hit the heights in the second half. We got a little bit sloppy and could have let them back into the game”.
Cinderford attacked from the off and Nick Harrhy saw a shot blocked, but Slough soon clicked into gear and Clarke was called upon to turn behind an effort from Gavin James after Simon Dunn’s shot was blocked.
In a frantic first five minutes, Clarke saved Flood’s flick from a corner before he was beaten by James, but the flag was up for offside. In response, Jarrad Welch tried to apply bend and dip to a free kick from way out, but it sailed over Rowley’s bar.
But Slough kept hammering at the door, and Cinderford hacked the ball off the line after another James shot had squirmed through the grasp of Clarke.
There was no let-up from Slough as James Dobson clipped a pass through for Dunn who fired wide, and then Dobson himself looked certain to score at the far post, but Clarke got down quickly to save.
Within two minutes Clarke had made two more good saves, keeping out James and then Dobson from the edge of the box.
Eventually though, Clarke was beaten on 23 minutes as Warren Harris headed home at the back post from Paul Stonehouse’s long cross.
Slough continued to threaten, but not with the same regularity as they did early on. James’ strike from a tight angle was turned behind and Nathan Smart’s header from the resulting corner was deflected wide.
Cinderford offered little in the way of a goal threat, but remained only a goal behind and could have levelled when Harrhy raced towards goal, but he was denied by a covering tackle from Smart. Instead, James raced onto a Flood flick-on before rounding Clarke and finding the net on the stroke of half time to make it 2-0.
It was only a matter of time before Slough struck again, and Flood found the net with a thumping header from Dobson's inch-perfect cross on 51 minutes.
It was so nearly 4-0 two minutes later, but Sean Fraser smashed a shot against the underside of the bar with Clarke beaten.
Slough won a series of corners with the pressure on the Cinderford goal almost relentless, but out of nowhere the visitors won a penalty for a handball offence on 65 minutes, and Welch sent Rowley the wrong way from 12 yards.
The home side were sloppy again shortly after, with Rowley forced to make a save, and then incredibly Cinderford were awarded a second spot kick after Welch was tripped. This time though, Rowley got down to make a debut penalty save as Welch tried to find the same corner as he had four minutes earlier.
They were soon made to pay, as James grabbed his second and Slough's fourth on 71 minutes, spinning and firing past Clarke from six yards after Flood’s towering header down.
James was denied a hat-trick as he hit the crossbar eight minutes from time as Slough coasted to victory with their three-goal lead restored.
Match Report courtesy of Slough Town FC website