Match Report - Stratford Town (Home - League)
A last gasp equaliser for Rebels
0 - 1 (Taylor, 54m); 1- 1 (Inns, 90+3m)
Man Of Match: Warren Harris
Slough struck late at Arbour Park to break the stubborn resistance of in-form visitors Stratford, with Alan Inns rescuing a point in Sean Fraser’s 250th appearance for the Rebels.
The game looked lost deep into stoppage time with Stratford holding on to a lead provided by striker Michael Taylor, and a combination of committed defending and important saves from goalkeeper Louis Connor frustrated the home side time and time again. But Inns’ first goal for the club won a point which was the least his side deserved.
Joint manager Neil Baker described the result as two points dropped, and cited a lack of cutting edge despite his side’s dominance in the match.
In the first half Slough were well on top, winning a succession of corners from which Brad Wadkins saw a chance deflected wide and Inns denied by a Connor save.
Wadkins, handed a start after impressing in substitute appearances recently, rose to meet a cross from Warren Harris, but he headed over. At the other end, Jack Turner’s first meaningful contribution was to hold a Ben Stephens strike.
Another Slough corner was worked to Manny Williams on the edge of the box, and his low strike through a crowded penalty area rolled wide of the goal. The home side kept the pressure on, winning another corner which Simon Dunn delivered, but Mark Nisbet put the ball just wide of the near post.
Stratford weathered the storm, and then had a brief spell of pressure which resulted in Turner having to push aside a strike from Stephens.
But Slough fashioned more chances, with Wadkins having a header deflected wide and Inns connecting with a header which Connor was equal to.
Three minutes before the interval, Slough worked the ball to Nisbet, who slid an inviting cross into the box, only to see Stratford defend well once again to deny Wadkins a chance.
For all Slough’s pressure, the opening goal did not arrive and nine minutes into the second half, Stratford delivered a classic sucker-punch. A simple long ball forward split the Slough defence and left Michael Taylor with a clear run on goal, and he finished coolly past Turner. It came just after Connor had denied Dunn with a fine save, with heroic defending blocking Harris’ follow-up shot.
Slough introduced Chris Flood and James Dobson just before the hour mark, and the two quickly combined to set up a chance, with Dobson crossing for the striker to get a header on target, but Connor saved.
Connor was at it again on 70 minutes, producing an incredible close-range reaction save to deny Chris Flood with his face, after Dobson had played in a dangerous low cross.
With Slough chasing the game, Stratford almost scored a second with Turner out of position, but Taylor put the ball over an open goal.
Minutes later, the striker had another chance as gaps opened up, but this time he was denied by a fingertip save from Turner, with the ball rebounding back off a post.
Stratford defended deep and slowed the game down at every opportunity, with full-back Lee Thomas just one of many who could have been cautioned for timewasting. And the visitors looked to be leaving with a hard-earned three points until Slough’s 18th corner of the match was met by the head of Inns, who finally beat Connor and a defender on the line to snatch a point.
Slough Town: Jack Turner; Sean Fraser; George Wells; Alan Inns; Mark Nisbet; Lee Togwell; Nathan Webb (James Dobson); Simon Dunn; Manny Williams (Chris Flood); Brad Wadkins (Gavin James); Warren Harris
Stratford Town: Louis Connor, Daniel Summerfield, Lee Thomas, Andrew Gallinagh (Liam Francis), Louis Recci, James Fry (c), Eli Bako (Justin Marsden), James Hancocks, Michael Taylor, William Grocott, Ben Stephens. Unused substitutes: Edwin Ahenkorah, Jazz Luckie.