Parsons Stars As Rebels Draw

Aylesbury United

Aylesbury United

Slough Town

Slough Town

B&B Senior Cup Frank Parsons
Frank Parsons has had his critics since he took over in goal for Slough Town from Richard Teale this season, but on Tuesday evening he was undoubtedly the Rebels hero when he produced a five-star performance in a pulsating Berks and Bucks Senior Cup quarter-final tie at Aylesbury United.

Had it not been for Parsons then there is no doubt that Slough's reign as holders of the trophy would have ended, because it was only his magnificent penalty save from Dave Jones in the dying seconds of normal time, coupled with a string of superb other saves, which prevented Aylesbury from claiming a place in the last four.

And so for the second time within a week Slough were involved in another dramatic cup tie which produced two hours of almost non-stop action with near misses and chances going begging at both ends on a gluepot of a pitch.

The way both sides battled in the conditions, especially during extra-time, was quite incredible as two evenly matched teams served up a highly entertaining game which though lacking in goals lacked nothing in excitement and action.

Slough manager Terry Reardon made several changes from the side which drew with Croydon on Saturday. Steve Adams was out suspended and Eggie James was a late withdrawal due to food poisoning, while leading scorer Dave Russell was on the substitutes bench.

Steve Hardwick returned at left back releasing Les Barrett into midfield, while Rowan Dodds returned up front and new signing Jim Walsh played his first match for the club in a midfield role.

From the start it was obvious that the conditions were going to play a big part in this match especially in the midfield area where the pitch was like a quagmire.

However, both sides adapted superbly to these conditions, and at times the standard of football produced was of a very high order.

After a bright start from Slough in which Steve Norman saw a header clip the crossbar, Aylesbury started to put pressure on the Slough defence and twice Billy Holmes went close to putting his side ahead.

Dave Yerby then came to the Rebels' rescue six minutes before half time when he blocked a Mick Martin shot on the line following a goalmouth scramble from a corner on the right.

The second half saw the match really spring into life with play switching rapidly from one end to the other and both sides coming desperately close on numerous occasions.

Steve Brinkham started to stamp his authority on the game from the Aylesbury midfield with a string of superb balls, while Holmes powerful running posed a constant threat to Slough's defence.

After 51 minutes Parsons produced a tremendous one-handed save to keep out a low well driven shot from Holmes, and then Les Barrett was on hand to stop a goalbound header from Kevin Davies on the line.

With Rowan Dodds having one of his best ever games for the Rebels and Dylan Evans working like a trojan against one of his former clubs, Slough always looked capable of breaking down the Aylesbury defence, and it took a brave save by Keith Baker to foil Barrett after 68 minutes.

Parsons then again came to Slough's rescue when he made a superb double save from first Holmes and then Trevor How, while Holmes missed probably his side's best chance when he sliced well wide of the goal with only Parsons to beat, after a superb ball from Brinkham had split the Slough defence.

Barrett was then again foiled by Baker, while the Aylesbury goalkeeper did well to firmly grasp a low driven shot by Dodds.

With only seconds of normal time left the spectators had settled for extra-time when referee Ian Jefcoate awarded Aylesbury a penalty after Joe Moloney had fouled Holmes in a goalmouth scramble.

As Jones walked up to take the kick it looked like curtains for Slough, but then came Parsons' super save. Jones struck the ball like a rocket towards the top left hand corner of the net, and somehow Parsons managed to divert the ball over the bar for what can only be described as a "wonder save".

The importance of the save was reflected by the fact that seconds later the referee blew for full time and so Slough's hopes were still alive.

Extra-time slowly began to take its toll on both sides as the pace understandably dropped, although it was Slough who came closest to perhaps winning the match.

Evans missed a fine chance following further good work by Dodds, who was replaced by Russell one minute before the end of the first period of extra-time.

In the second period both sides pushed desperately for a winner, and after six minutes it looked as though a header from Evans might settle the tie. But with Baker beaten the ball flew just over the crossbar.

At the finish of another memorable match a draw was certainly the fairest result, and both sides deserve credit for the tremendous spirit and endeavour they put into the game.

While Parsons was clearly the Slough star, every member of the Rebels' squad gave more than 100 per cent and it was a fine team effort.

The replay is at Wexham Park on Tuesday evening.

Aylesbury United Lineup


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