Evo-Stik League Southern – Central Division
Rugby Town 0 Slough Town 4
Valley’s title ambitions took a massive hammering in the heavy home defeat to Slough on Thursday evening.
Dave Stringer’s side put in arguably their most ineffective performance of the season against a side still harbouring their own hopes of a play-off place.
Their cause was not helped by the award of two soft penalties which gave the visitors a two goal lead within the hour, but in truth Rugby always looked second best on the night – creating little to trouble Slough keeper Jamie Jackson.
Valley looked edgy from the off, and there was little sign of the free-flowing football that had seen them romp to a thirteen match winning run at Butlin Road.
Their best chance – and the potential match turning point came on 21 minutes – when David Kolodynski was denied at close range by an excellent saving tackle by Rebels’ skipper Dave Woozley after Lewis McBride had found space on the right hand side.
Slough’s first penalty came shortly after, when Steve Palmer was punished for a clumsy challenge on Jake Parsons, and Ed Smith calmly stroked the spot-kick down the middle of the goal.
McBride shot wide and Seb Lake-Gaskin put one straight at Jackson ahead of the interval.
Slough returned after the break still looking equally strong though, and Dave Bevan used his legs to good effect to keep out a Smith effort, before the award of the second penalty of the night when Alex Austin’s touch deserted him in the box before he clipped Ryan Toole’s ankles.
This time Smith put the ball low to the left beyond Bevan’s reach, and from that point a Valley comeback never looked on.
The visitors struck twice more in the closing minutes of the game, as the Rugby defence lost its shape and focus.
Sean Fraser’s free-kick was helped home at close range by Kyle Anthony on 87 minutes, and then the same player was on-hand to grab his second after Bevan had initially denied Adam Logie.
The hosts’ only shot of a sorry second half came when Lake-Gaskin forced Jackson into a low save late on.