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Worsfold scores with almost the last kick to seal spirited fightback by Slough Town

Ryan Bird celebrates his early equaliser with teammates

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Slough Town 4, Welling United 4

Slough Town produced an astonishing fightback to draw 4-4 with Welling United in a pulsating game at Arbour Park, substitute Max Worsfold sweeping home the host’s last gasp leveller.

For much of the 95minutes this was not pleasant viewing for Rebels’ managers Neil Baker and Jon Underwood, but their side showed a spirit and refusal to be beaten after falling 4-1 down early in the second period.

The Rebels looked to be pretty much dead and buried when Welling skipper Anthony Cook curled home a lovely free-kick for his side’s fourth in the 50th minute, but the Rebels gave themselves a lifeline when Matt Lench volleyed home Worsfold’s cross with 20 minutes to play.

As the clocked ticked around towards 90 minutes it looked like they’d run out of time, while Dipo Akinyemi missed a great chance to net his hat-trick in the 82nd minute having been played through one-on-one with Jack Turner.

However, hope flickered when Warren Harris side-footed home from a floated cross to make it 4-3 and Slough’s bench erupted in a flurry of arms and limbs when Worsfold kept his composure to sweep the ball into an empty net after Welling keeper Reice Cook had taken out Harris on the edge of the area. Referee Phil Staynings played a brilliant advantage to enable Slough to score their last-gasp leveller.

Slough were pleasing on the eye in the first half but were also suspect in defence and a soft touch in midfield. The visitors created and finished off their chances far too easily, and Baker admitted as much in his post-match interview.

The game was only three minutes old when Welling took the lead, Chiori Johnson beating Louis Lomas for pace down the right side and curling in an excellent cross. Turner could only fist it as far as Stefan Ilic who steered home a low, left-footed drive off the inside of the post. There was a huge let off for the home side in the 10th minute when Akinyemi raced clear on the left, but, with teammates in space in the area, he shot straight at Turner who saved well.

The Rebels had been playing the better football from the outset and began to create chances of their own after 15 minutes. First Paul Hodges lifted a shot over the crossbar after being teed up by Aaron Kuhl. He then tried his luck from slightly further out, the ball flashing a whisker wide of Cook’s right-hand post.

The home side levelled matters in the 22nd minute and on the balance of play it was fully deserved. Hodges put in a nice corner from the left and Ryan Bird directed a bullet header past Cook and a couple of Welling players on the goalline. You sensed the Rebels might go on to dominate the remainder of the half but instead the opposite happened. In the 24th minute they found themselves behind once more when Sam Togwell failed to clear a cross from the right and Akinyemi drilled the ball beneath Turner from close range.

Harris came close to another leveller with a clever backheeled finish that Cook saved smartly, but the home side found themselves further behind in the 38th minute when they switched off at a corner. The ball was played out to the unmarked Ilic whose cross come shot deflected into the net, with Akinyemi running off claiming the decisive touch.

Slough were sent out for a spot of training as they waited for their visitors to emerge from the tunnel at half-time, but when Kuhl sent an early ball over the top straight into the arms of Cook, he was withdrawn for Lench. Lench wasn’t deemed fit enough to start the match but with Slough struggling his presence was required.

It looked like Cook’s fourth for Welling, a fantastic curling free kick which beat Turner all ends up in the 50th minute, would settle the contest. But Slough brought on Worsfold for Hodges and Slough slowly turned the game in their favour. Bird muscled his way in but lifted the ball over the bar on the hour mark, but the substitutes Worsfold and Lench combined to good effect in the 70th minute with Worsfold hooking over a cross which Lench volleyed home on the run. 4-2 and suddenly it felt like anything was possible.

Akinyemi could and should have finished off the home side in the 82nd minute, but kudos to Turner and the backtracking Jack McKnight for thwarting him. Hopes were further raised when Daniel Boateig was shown his second yellow card after dragging down Dan Roberts in the 87th minute, but it still looked as though the Rebels had left themselves with too much to do. Their third goal arrived in the 90th minute, Harris ghosting in behind the Welling defence to side-foot home. Then, with keeper Turner launching ball after ball into the Welling area the visitors finally cracked. Harris managed to get onto a hopeful ball over the top. He was cleaned out by Reice Cook. The Slough bench howled for a free-kick and a red card, but the referee played a magnificent advantage with the ball running kindly for Worsfold on the left. His aim was true, and Slough had rescued an unlikely point from a crazy game of football.

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