A 1.00 pm kick off resulted in a hot day at Stag Meadow, but both
sides competed well in a close match. Slough saw the first
appearance of Andy Ballard, but Leigh Mason (pictured), though fit for light
training, was not yet fully fit.
After an even start, Braintree
came close after 10 minutes, when Braintree headed the ball back and
forth across the Slough goal, ending in a very good save by Parkin.
Though chances were few and far apart, they mostly fell to Braintree
and on a couple of occasions Slough had to block goal bound shots.
That said there was purpose about much of Slough's play, and it
seemed that a clear cut chance must come Slough's way sooner or
later. It did in the 36th minute, when the ball was centred after a
cleared corner. Braintree's marking was poor as it could have gone
to any of a number of Slough players. As it happened it fell to
debutante Ballard, who coolly slotted home.
Braintree manager, George Borg, was heard telling his team at
half time that if they didn't win he'd put them all up for sale.
The second half was as tight as the first, few clear chances, but
far from boring. Braintree seemed willing to hassle and chase the
ball more than Slough (and got 3 deserved bookings as a result), but
Slough showed more skill. Braintree changed their formation to 3 up
front after 70 minutes. Soon afterwards, Braintree got the equaliser
they had been looking for. Revell was allowed to drift towards the
box, and his low shot went in, with a suspicion of blame on Parkin
who was late down to a shot very close to him (though the grinning
and suntanned cameraman may show otherwise).
Both sides wanted the
winner, but were also careful not to leave themselves too open to
counters, and a draw seemed the likely outcome as the match entered
injury time. Much to the home fans delight though, a long throw was
met at the near post by Hodges, and flicked on a la Maidenhead. It
was met by Alexis running in, and Slough had their 3 points.
Anyone seen the Braintree players advertised for sale?