So that’s November: seven games, six victories, one draw. Eighteen goals scored and two conceded – and five clean sheets. And considering that October had ended with that dismal 0-5 at Chelmsford, this run of successes is all the more striking.
All five goals were beauties – no scruffy goalmouth scrambles – and this was a whole-team performance. When your centre-half is scoring with a volley that Harry Kane would be proud of, and when your full-backs are spending as much time in the opposition half as in their own, you can only admire.
A word, first, for Slough Town, very welcoming football people but a club in transition. Long-serving management team Neil Baker and Jon Underwood have just stepped aside after an exhausting decade, and you had to feel for Scott Davies as he took his first game in full charge. Half an hour in, with his team 0-3 down, Scott subbed himself in order to take a hard look from the touchline. We wish him well.
The Rebels had actually made a lively start, and Ben Harris saw his goalbound header deflected over by the impressive Jack Burchell. Then James Vaughan copped an early yellow for a midfield trip – referee Ben Atkinson putting an early marker down, perhaps, in a contest which would produce very few contentious moments.
With 15 minutes played, and Borough increasingly dominant, Chris Whelpdale chased a Kai Innocent ball down the left touchline, brilliantly snaffled it from the defender, and played the perfect ball across the Slough goalmouth for Jake Hutchinson’s emphatic finish: 1-0.
Soon afterwards, the Rebels briefly claimed an equaliser – but Ben Harris had punched, not headed, Josh Jackman’s cross into the net, and earned only a caution for his trouble.
And on 24 minutes, home keeper Rhys Forster should have caught James Hammond’s corner but only flappily punched it out to Vaughan, who pinged it back in, Whelpdale set it nicely, and the sweet left foot of Dickenson did the rest: 2-0.
Another five minutes, another team goal. Hutch to Shiloh Remy: a shimmy, a darting run and an intelligent pass to Leone Gravata for a precise low finish across the keeper and into the bottom right corner: 3-0.
A hamstring tweak robbed Borough of the commanding Brad Barry, but his replacement at right back, Milly Scarlett, produced an eye-catching hour of tenacious and enterprising football. Quite frankly, when the Sports are in this sort of mood, the Gaffer himself could have slotted neatly into midfield, and his assistant manager could have turned in a decent half-hour in central defence…
If the victory was set up with those first-half strikes, it was nailed seven minutes after the break with a magnificent team goal, turning over the Rebels’ high press: Worgan to Burchell at right-back – up the touchline to Remy – inside to Whelps – back to the racing Remy – long cross to Hutch at the back post: 4-0.
It was football with the hand-brake off. And at ten past two on a chilly Saturday, fifty minutes before the rest of the world had even kicked off, Borough were home and hosed. If it was a county cricket match, they would have declared and strolled in for an early tea interval….
But wait: with fifteen minutes to go, Slough were on the scoresheet, courtesy of a very slightly generous penalty award. Lee Togwell’s drive from thirty yards struck Dickenson on the hand, and the spot kick was whacked home by the buoyant perpetual-motion figure of Aaron Kuhl, the man with the biggest hair in National South: 4-1.
Undismayed, the Sports saw out the final quarter-hour in confident mode, with Jake just inches from completing his hat-trick from a lightning right-wing break. And substitute appearances for Jaden Perez – often an unsung hero but what a team player – and for club skipper Charlie Walker. And what better way to remind us of his status than a sweetly taken stoppage-time goal. Beat the offside trap, control and feint, and drill the shot across the goalkeeper: 5-1.
There is a long demanding winter ahead, and Danny will not let a couple of results carry the team away. But heck, it capped an impressive November, and it finally banished that 0-5 at the Gulag….
Borough: Worgan; Barry (Scarlett 41), Burchell, Dickenson, Innocent; Vaughan (Perez 61), Hammond; Remy, Whelpdale, Gravata; Hutchinson (Walker 73).
Unused subs: Holter, Mbonkwi. Att: 573
Borough MoM: for a new arrival to be so accomplished, it has to be Jack Burchell