Wembley dreams shattered

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Slough Town

Turl (16), Davies (21)

2
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Dagenham

Harkins (29, 82), Holder (56)

3

Date: Saturday, April 16th 1977 | Competition: FA Trophy | Attendance: 1800

Man Of Match: Terry Brown

SLOUGH Town's impossible dream of reaching Wembley, despite losing the first leg of their F.A. Trophy semi-final 3-0 at Dagenham, looked like becoming reality as they raced into a 2-0 lead after only 21 minutes of Saturday's pulsating second leg. But they then gave away a gift goal and Dagenham came back from the dead to score twice more and gain a 6-2 aggregate victory.

An ankle injury to skipper Dennis Malley could not be used as an excuse for Slough's collapse. Both Malley and fellow centre-back John Beyer failed to give keeper Trevor Porter enough cover and his play suffered because of it.

All three Dagenham goals came from defensive errors and the first was the sort of mistake even parks players avoid.

It was a particularly tragic way to go out of the Trophy in view of the fact that manager Joe Arpino's brave gamble on a 4-2-1-3 formation had succeeded, though I would have played Bob Underwood at left-back where Alan Gane was out of position.

Terry Brown, recalled up front to play alongside Dave Russell and Paul Lee - who had been ruled out at one stage because of tonsillitis - gave Dagenham no end of worry with his non-stop aggression. Kieran Somers, switched to play behind this trio, used his sight and weight to provide a stream of knock-ons and the chances came thick and fast.

Dagenham had a let off in the ninth minute. Brown, taking a pass from Reardon in his stride, hit the ball hard and low towards the far post where keeper Huttley got down remarkably quickly to foil Russell.

In the 16th minute Slough struck. Lee's corner from the right was headed down by Somers and right back Tim Turl coolly hooked the ball into the far side of the goal.

The 1,800 crowd went wild with delight and five minutes afterwards the terraces erupted as Slough scored again. Centre back Moore was beaten by a Somers flick and Lee raced down the right before cutting the ball back for Roy Davies to thump past the bewildered Huttley.

But the roars died in the throats of the excited Slough fans in the 29th minute when Dagenham cashed in on slack defensive play to reduce the arrears. Harris knocked the ball through and, with Gane, Beyer, and Turl slow to move, Mal Harkins slammed it home.

With Slough committed to pushing men forward, Harris now started to take advantage of the room left in midfield and one run ended in him passing for Harkins to shoot inches wide. But Slough were dominating the majority of the play and when Somers nodded on a long ball from Gane the Dagenham defence held its breath as Brown's flick went just over the bar.

The second half took a little while to get off the ground but Harris livened things up with a fine shot on the turn in the 56th minute. Porter somehow managed to tip the ball away. Slough failed to clear the corner and saw their hopes of reaching Wembley shattered when Russell was slow in closing down on Jim Holder who hammered home a thunderbolt of a drive.

The Rebels were determined not to give up without a fight, however, and as they forced play into the Dagenham goalmouth once more it seemed that Lee was pushed as he was about to shoot. The ball fell to Somers but he miskicked.

There was a clash between Brown and Willie Currie soon afterwards and the players were, perhaps, fortunate to escape with a lecture from the referee.

Still Slough pressed and ex Spurs player Frank Saul was content to boot the ball over his own bar after Somers had nodded down a Davies cross. Huttley then had to make a superb one-handed save to tip over a Brown lob.

Eight minutes from the end Dagenham hammered the final nail into the Slough coffin. After Malley had failed to clear, Porter could not stop the jostling Fox getting his head to the ball and Harkins turned it home.

A minute later substitute Bartlett was brought on for the injured Malley, and Turl went to centre-back, but it was too late.

So history was repeated. Dagenham, who had knocked Slough out of the Amateur Cup in the 1971 semi-finals, had again beaten their old rivals to reach Wembley.




The Vanarama National League South Vanarama Motorama

Saturday, 10th November

vs Sutton United

Draw 0-0 (Away)

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League Table [Full Stats]

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 St Albans City 17 25
12 Hemel Hempstead Town 17 25
13 Slough Town 15 24
14 Eastbourne Borough 17 24
15 Dulwich Hamlet 17 22

Top Goalscorers [Full Stats]

Pos Name Goals
1 Mathew Stevens 11
2 James Dobson 8
3 Chris Flood 4
4 Ben Harris 4
5 Louie Soares 3
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