Slough slain by Leadbitter

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The Independent Online
Slough Town 0

Plymouth Argyle 2

Harvey (og) 61, Heathcote 77

Attendance: 3,013

A SOGGY afternoon in Slough is a depressing prospect at the best of times, but Plymouth Argyle dug in yesterday and battled to a deserved victory over potentially problematic opposition. For the fourth year running they had been drawn away to a non-League side in the FA Cup first round. Argyle won the other three and, though it took some time to command, this victory was comfortable by the close.

Slough Town fought all the way but did not have the class to trouble their Third Division opponents. The GM Vauxhall Conference side fielded two ex-Plymouth players, Andy Clement and Mark Fiore, while their manager, Dave Russell, was in charge of the Marlow team - also beaten 2-0 at home by Plymouth at this stage two years ago. Russell's revenge looked possible until half-time, when Argyle stepped up a gear. A flurry of early bookings by the referee, Paul Durkin, disrupted the first half, and made it difficult for either side to establish a pattern of play. The pace of Ansil Bushay was the part-timers' most potent weapon, but he was well policed by the equally quick Paul Williams.

Indeed, Kevin Blackwell, in the visitors' goal, had no shot to save in the first half, while Argyle came closest when Clement cleared a Ronnie Mauge header off the line just before the interval.

Chris Leadbitter missed a chance in the first half, shooting straight at the goalkeeper, Delroy Preddie, but he made amends with a part in the 61st-minute opening goal. Chris Billy made one decent run down the right flank and, under pressure from Leadbitter, Lee Harvey turned the winger's low cross into his own net. With 15 minutes to go, Neil Catlin sent a looping header just wide, but two minutes later Argyle doubled their lead. Leadbitter's free-kick was met by a header from Mick Heathcote, and the travelling fans were celebrating once more.

"It's about quality at the end of the day," Russell, the Slough manager, said. "We didn't have enough of it." But for Neil Warnock's expensively assembled Plymouth side, Cup and League expectations remain high.