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Momentum switches hands as Slough Town lose entertaining clash with Maidstone United

Slough Town 2, Maidstone United 3

Momentum switched hands several times as Maidstone United eventually came out on top in an entertaining clash at Arbour Park.

The Stones visited Slough off the back of last week’s stunning 6-0 win over Concord Rangers and, while this was a much more even affair, they showed once again why they’re likely to be one of this season’s title contenders.

The Rebels also gave as good as they got before falling to a late goal. This was a match that could very much have gone either way.

George Porter was their match winner, escaping the clutches of his marker to head home with four minutes left on the clock.

However, their road to victory was far from smooth. The game had barely got going when the hosts took the lead through Paul Hodges clever finish. A ball over the top in the second minute drew Stones’ keeper Ravan Constable out of his goal and, when the ball bounced off the back of Slough striker Dan Roberts’, he was caught in no man’s land as Hodges lobbed the ball back over his head and into the unguarded net.

The Stones were only behind for a matter of minutes, however, and the Rebels’ management team were desperately disappointed with the marking which led to Scott Rendell’s eighth minute equaliser.

A free-kick on the right was whipped in by Joan Luque and Rendell was left unmarked at the far post to power a header past Jack Turner.

Chances were traded as both sides showed great nous to beat the others’ press. Matt Lench brought a flying save from Constable in the 11th minute after some trickery on the edge of the area.

Rendell was forced off with an injury midway through the half but his replacement, Ibrahim Olutade, gave the visitors more of a threat with his direct runs unsettling the Rebels’ defence. He came close to a second in the 39th minute when he got in front of his man to side-foot Justin Amaluzor’s low cross just wide.

But they grabbed a lead their first half play just about deserved two minutes later. Porter was the man to get it, calmly side-footing past Turner after being teed up in the box by Olutade.

The first 10 minutes passed without incident, but momentum switched firmly back to the home side in the 55th minute when Lench flicked the ball on for Roberts who swept in a low cross from the left that Hodges finished at the far post.

The game was now anyone’s and Slough had a few chances to get their noses in front. In the 67th minute Hodges was a whisker away from claiming his hat-trick when he turned well in the box and fired inches wide of the post. He tried his luck again a few minutes later with a shot that skidded along the deck before being gathered in by Constable. With Roberts having been taken off to preserve him for Slough’s trip to Chippenham Town, the home side lost a little attacking impetus.

The final momentum switch saw Maidstone have the better of the final 15 minutes. Porter appeared to be fouled in the box but the referee waved away the visitor’s appeals when it seemed they had a very good case for a penalty. In the 74th minute Porter poked the ball wide after anticipating a knockdown in the area and Turner saved brilliantly from the midfielder again with 10 minutes to play.

Constable went wandering out of his goal again in the 85th minute, presenting Slough substitute Warren Harris with a shot to nothing at an unprotected net from out wide, but the angle was acute and Harris’ effort drifted away from the target much to the Stones’ keeper’s relief.

Maidstone’s winner followed a minute later, Porter’s clever movement from deep outfoxing the Rebels’ defence as he headed past a static Turner.

The home side threw caution to the wind in the closing stages but the Stones defence, marshalled by former Maidenhead United central defender Joe Ellul, held firm. The result takes them second in the table while Slough drop a place to 10th.

It’s a busy week for the Rebels who visit Chippenham on Tuesday and Billericay Town on Saturday before hosting Hungerford Town the following Tuesday.

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