06:48PM, Monday 22 April 2019
Slough Town 1-1 Eastbourne Borough
Slough Town missed the opportunity to cut the gap to the playoff places to one point after Eastbourne Borough grabbed a late equaliser at Arbour Park - a result that leaves Jon Underwood and Neil Baker’s men needing a lot of favours to see them sneak into the play-off places on the final day of the season.
The Rebels dominated proceedings and could have been miles ahead if it was not for Eastbourne keeper Sam Howes, who made countless saves to keep the game level.
But Billy Clifford’s late penalty looked to have given the Rebels the three points they craved until Nico Cotton’s late equaliser scuppered Slough’s realistic chances of making the play-offs.
Despite their unbeaten run, Slough started the match second best, and had Jack Turner to thank within the first minute – the goalkeeper was alert to dive full stretch to his left to keep out a dangerous Eastbourne header.
The away side maintained the pressure in the opening minutes before Slough began to get their foot on the ball and dictate the play. Matt Lench, so often the man that makes the Rebels tick, had the hosts first half-chance of the game but his left-footed effort dribbled wide of the goal.
But it was the midfield maestro who created the first real chance of the game for Slough, when his driving run and pass found Francis Amartey, but the young forward was denied smartly by Watford loanee Howes.
And the Eastbourne stopper was to deny the Rebels yet again with arguably an even better save. Slough worked the ball from left to right and then back again before Manny Williams cut inside and bent one towards the top corner. But Howes again was equal to it, palming the goal bound effort over the bar.
Slough continued to dominate the chances, but a competitive midfield battle played out through much of the first half as the sides went into the break level.
The second half saw much of the same, as the home side continued to pile on the pressure, and they should have taken the lead within five minutes of the restart.
Amartey raced away down the left and his cut back was well left by Williams for the arriving Lee Togwell – but the midfielder could only guide his effort wide of the post, when really, he should have scored.
Howes continued to deny Slough with a truly remarkable reflex save – tipping Well’s point-blank header over the bar when it looked destined for the net.
With time ticking down, Slough looked set to be frustrated but they were given their opportunity in the final minutes of the match. A ball into the box looked harmless enough, but a flick of an arm was noticed by the assistant referee and after consulting with the linesman, the referee pointed to the spot.
After the long delay, Billy Clifford, on as a second-half substitute thumped home his penalty, sending Howes the wrong way to give Slough a deserved lead.
But there was to be a cruel twist to the tale – as deep into injury time relegation threatened Eastbourne snatched a point. A long ball forward was initially well saved by Turner but Slough could not clear their lines and the ball was eventually smashed in at the far post by substitute, Cotton.
A cruel way to end the match for Slough, especially with Billericay falling to defeat. The season is not quite over for the Rebels, who have a slight chance of sneaking into the play-offs, but would need a win as well as the three teams ahead of them; Wealdstone, Dartford and St Albans City to all drop points as well as seeing Ricay lose with a four-goal swing in the Rebels favour.
Turner, Jackman, Hollis, Nisbet (Roberts 65’), Wells; S.Togwell, L.Togwell (Clifford 59’), Lench, Harris (Soares 72’), Amartey, Williams
Elsewhere, Maidenhead ended their road trips for the season with a 2-0 loss to play-off chasing Eastleigh.
A first half penalty from Paul McCallum and a wonder goal from Mark Yeates were enough to secure the Spitfires a play-off place in the National League.
Both goals came in the first half, with just six minutes separating them to knock the stuffing out of the Magpies.
Mike Fondop was the unfortunate man to give Eastleigh the chance to open the scoring after he handeled in the box and McCallum made no mistake with his spot kick.
And less than 10 minutes later the home side doubled their lead with the cheekiest of finishes when Yeates chipped Carl Pentney from 20-yards with an audacious effort.
The Magpies battled away through the remainder of the match but were unable to turn things around as they look forward to their final game of the season against Chesterfield at York Road on Saturday.
Windsor FC ended their season with in the Hellenic League Premier with a 1-0 loss to Wantage Town at Stag Meadow – a result which confirmed the away side as champions.
Mick Woodham’s men fell to just one goal in the second half as Steve Robertson’s low strike handed Wantage the win.
The result see’s Windsor finish their season in sixth position after a run of six straight wins before Good Friday helped them climb up the table.
But the Royalists have the perfect chance to bounce back from their two Easter losses when they take on local rivals Ascot United in the League Cup final on May 6.
Flackwell Heath came out on top of a local derby to finish their season on a high. A 1-0 win over league cup finalists Ascot United mean the Heathens finish their season with two wins on the bounce.
Ashley Howell made an instant impact from the bench as he came on late with less than 20 minutes to play and almost instantly handed the Heathens the lead with a clever finish, lifting the ball over the Ascot ‘keeper.
For Ascot, much like Windsor, they will be looking to bounce back with a cup win to finish their season.
Marlow FC overcame a man disadvantage to hold on to a 2-1 win and secure their place in the Bostik League South central division play-offs.
The Blues took the lead within the first minute through Kelvin Bossman, when he headed in past Partington in the Northwood net.
Charlie Samuel doubled the away sides lead with a low shot after some clever play by Jordan Edwards and Allen Bossman to get the ball to Samuel.
But Marlow were made to work hard for their victory as Isaac Olorunfemi was dismissed after his second yellow card for pulling back Trey Charles on the break.
But despite conceding late on from Tremayne Charles, Marlow held on and kept themselves well in the hunt to finish second, though they’ll need a win in their final game against Ware as well as favours elsewhere.
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