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1998/99 season review

Season Review 1998/99
by Michael STFC on 04/04/2005

A season review of out 1998/99 season, out first back in the Isthmian League after our expulsion from the Conference the previous season.

1999/00 Season Review
1998/99 Season Review

From the sublime to the ridiculous, from even contemplating a shot at challenging for the Vauxhall Conference title to just hoping we'd have a club operating at any level within the space of a few weeks. Events of the summer in 1998 have been well documented and in terms of playing football in 1998-1999, it wasn't until a week before the season began that Ryman Chairman Alan Turvey announced the new consortium-led Rebels would be allowed into the Ryman League Premier Division. In terms of playing staff, all but four of the Vauxhall Conference squad had departed - remaining were two goalkeepers in Ben Miles and Paul Wilkerson, midfielder Mark Fiore and defender Paul Hardyman, who had accepted the temporary position of team manager. The former Portsmouth stalwart had a week to pool together a squad of complete unknown to face title hopefuls Sutton United that Saturday.

Despite their heartbreak at the fall of grace from the Conference, the Slough fans still turned up in numbers at Gander Green Lane to see almost a complete new team wear the Rebels shirts. There was little expectation, most supporters hopeful that we wouldn't concede more than two or three goals. In the end, a fortunate deflection off a Sutton defender gave Slough a slender lead they fought to protect up until the final whistle, whereupon our new heroes came over to celebrate with their new fans. It gave a bit of false hope, as we entertained Bishops Stortford at The Park in a new home strip which was less amber and more yellow. A 2-2 draw was followed by a 3-1 victory over Chesham United, who boasted goalkeeping legend Bruce Grobbelaar amongst their line-up. The Zimbabwean international's tendancy to wander out of the area gifted Fiore a wonder goal from some 30 yards out to seal victory.

September began with a morale-boosting 2-1 win at Gravesend & Northfleet before a fruitless journey to Walton & Hersham, whose depressing Stompond Lane ground was the stage for an even more depressing 0-2 defeat. A 1-0 win at Abingdon Town in the League Cup was followed by a 1-0 home win over Aylesbury United, both games finding a matchwinner in Eddie Denton. A trip to cosy Hampton saw us concede a last gasp equaliser to level at 2-2. Purfleet then came to Wexham Park and took all three points in a 2-3 victory before the Rebels had to salvage a 1-1 home point against Billericay Town with an injury time equaliser from Richard Pierson. Slough ended their second month in the Ryman League on a sour note, with both Mark Fiore and Graham Kemp seeing red in the 0-3 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.

October brought an FA Cup replay at Fleet Town, who held Slough 1-1 at The Park before succumbing to the Rebels 0-2 at home. A disappointing 0-3 home defeat against Harrow Borough was followed by a spirited fightback at St.Albans City, who held a three-goal lead until goals from Gary McVie, debutant Bryan Hammatt and Matt Bicknell in the final minute rescued a point. More FA Cup action was found in the 3-1 home dismissal of Halstead Town before a nonsensical 2-5 defeat at Hendon, played in farcically torrential downpours. The Rebels ended the month with a 1-0 Puma Cup win against Bromley amid the controversial
decision to relieve Hardyman of his duties and instill former Rangers and Spurs defender Graham Roberts as Slough Town manager. Many fans decried the shabby treatment dealt out to Hardyman and the change of control earmarked a fresh new era of bad public relations between Roberts and the local Press.

November was predominantly FA Cup month as we held Crawley Town at their impressive new Broadfield Stadium before Bryan Hammatt dug out a 90th minute winner in the 3-2 replay victory. This sandwiched a remarkable League match against Enfield at The Park, when Andrew Deaner's strike in the final minute made it 2-0 to Slough, only for the visitors to snatch two injury time goals and an unimaginable point. The following week, we made the journey to an old Conference stomping ground in Macclesfield Town's Moss Rose Stadium, where headers from Pierson and Deaner were eventually cancelled out, the bandana-wearing Sodje equalising in the dying minutes to prevent a Cup "shock". In the meantime, Slough had lost to Basingstoke Town (0-1, home) then beaten Baldock Town 3-1 in the FA Trophy before the FA Cup replay at Wexham Park - the tie brought a 1-1 scoreline, extra-time and a 8-9 penalty shoot-out victory for the Silkmen once Mark Holzman had skied his sudden death effort. Slough ended the month with a disappointing 1-2 defeat at Bromley in the League and a passable 3-1 League Cup win at Staines Town.

December heaped more more misery on the Rebels, despite starting off with a 3-0 home victory over Walton & Hersham. Slough were then humiliatingly knocked out of the Berks & Bucks Cup 1-3 at home by local "minnows" Burnham, followed by a scoreless draw at Aylesbury United and a Kerry Dixon inspired 0-3 home defeat by Boreham Wood. The Rebels dipped out of the Puma Cup 0-2 at Walton & Hersham before Bryan Hammatt's brace secured a point in the 2-2 draw at Dulwich Hamlet.

January didn't get much better, starting with a 1-0 defeats at home to Heybridge Swifts and away at Chesham United before some respite came in the 1-0 victory at Bishops Stortford. This reprieve was temporary as Rushden & Diamonds returned to Wexham Park for a 1-2 FA Trophy victory, with Sutton United then getting the same result in the League.

In stark contrast, February brought a 100% League record thanks to the arrival of now legendary skipper Steve Daly, brought in from Boreham Wood. His impact was clear, guiding us to unreplied victories at the dauntingly in-form Purfleet (4-0), Hampton (3-0, home), Carshalton Athletic (3-0, away), St.Albans City (1-0, home) and Harrow Borough (2-0, away). Sandwiched in there was another Berks & Bucks Cup defeat at Maidenhead United, the hosts running out 2-4 winners.

March signalled the indifferent loss of form once again as we petered out 0-1 at Boreham Wood, then surrendered 0-1 at home to Dagenham & Redbridge. The highlight of the month was a 2-1 success at Billericay Town, before going on to endure forgettable 1-1 draws against Hendon at home and Aldershot Town away. Slough suffered their last two defeats of the season, 1-2 at both Heybridge Swifts and Enfield, sandwiching a 1-0 home victory over Dulwich Hamlet, with a well executed early taken free kick from Lee Archer in the final minute. After Enfield, Slough remained unbeaten for the rest of the season, drawing 2-2 at home to Aldershot Town and 1-1 with Carshalton Athletic before gaining three victories; Samuels and Endersby sealed the 2-0 win at Basingstoke Town before Browne, Pye, Hammatt and Denton finished off Gravesend & Northfleet 4-0, the Rebels ending on a positive 2-1 victory at Wexham Park over Bromley with goals from Hammatt and Quail.

League Record:

Ply Won Drew Lost GF GA GA Pts
42 16 11 15 60 53 +7 59

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