Miller (pictured right) almost single-handedly denied Hampton
the Ryman League title whilst simultaneously sending them into
the play-offs, but the league
leaders fought back and deservedly won the league in emphatic
was Hampton who dominated from the off and it was only down to
some desperate defending, good goalkeeping and some woeful
finishing that kept the score down at 0-0.
Midway through the
first half, Abby Nusubga was substituted with a leg injury and
was replaced by Matt Miller. It was Matt Miller that provided
Slough's only threat throughout the entire game, catching the
home side out twice.
With the Rebels'
first meaningful attack of the game, Matt Miller turned his
marker and found himself in acres of space to lob Matt Lovett in
the Hampton goal and send the travelling faithful ballistic.
"You're gonna choke in the play-offs" suddenly echoed round the
this minor setback for the home side, the game continued in
remarkably similar fashion, with Hampton dominating play yet
somehow managing to avoid finding the net.
however changed on the stroke of half-time. Hampton quickly took
a disputable free-kick on the right win to find ex-Rebel Ian
Hodges (pictured left) unmarked at the near post for the
Hampton made it two
goals in five minutes soon after the start of the second half,
when it was Ian Hodges again to head Hampton into the lead
following a cross from the right wing.
Following these two
breakthroughs, the game again went back to Hampton dominating
play and not scoring. on the balance of play and the amount of
chances they were creating Hampton could easily have been into
double figures. As it was, the lead was only 1 goal and as long
as it stayed like that Slough were always in with a shout.
their intent not to go down without a fight with a couple of
attacks of their own. Steve Hale, playing his last ever game,
unleashed a cracker of a shot, only to hit the upright with Matt
Lovett well beaten.
This seemed to
increase Slough's confidence, as soon afterwards Steve Hale
found himself in another dangerous position but saw his shot
blocked by a defender.
Hampton could sense
the Ryman league title coming ever-closer but still
couldn't find that killer goal. Marcello Fernandes found himself
one-on-one with Jamie Jackson, but somehow managed to send his
shot dreadfully high and wide of the far post.
on came another ex-Rebel in Glen Harris (pictured right) for a
cameo appearance late on,
with much heckling and booing from the Slough faithful.
Hamton were rueing
those many missed chances as from out the blue, disaster struck.
Matt Miller, put through on goal with five minutes of normal
time remaining, beat Matt Lovett to the ball and lobbed into the
net to send the Slough fans wild for the second time in the
afternoon. Had we denied Alan Devonshire, our arch-nemesis the
title? Had Hampton blown it at the last minute yet again?
The answer was a
flat No. From the restart, Hampton marched up towards the Slough
goal, Stuart Lake ran towards the penalty area and shot into the
bottom right hand corner to send the Hampton fans wild.
was the sense of relief, that they did what they has threatened
to do all game - put the game beyond all doubt. Ian Hodges was
judged to have been fouled in the area. Elliot Godfrey stepped
up and sent Jamie Jackson (pictured left) the wrong way to seal
the Isthmian League Title.
The final whistle
triggered the inevitable pitch invasion. Despite Hampton's
dominance, Slough still managed to make a game out of it and
almost pulled off a shock result.
So Hampton go up to
the Blue Square South in ecstasy, and Slough go down into who
knows where. It was two years to the day since Slough beat
Hampton 3-1 to win the Bryco Cup. How times change. Ian Hodges
scored two goals that evening as well. Whatever happens from now
on, April 28th will no doubt be a special date on his calendar.