Slough's shameful exit

Poole Town

Poole Town

Baber (45, 57, 66)
Slough Town

Slough Town

FA Cup Attendance: 1109
Saturday, October 29, was one of the saddest and most shameful days Slough Town have experienced for many years.

Not only did the Rebels FA Cup dreams end - they were deservedly beaten by Poole - but in the space of four minutes they had three players sent off in the second half.

It cannot be said that Slough's personal indiscipline alone cost them this fourth qualifying round tie - they were already trailing 2-0 at the time - but what followed between the 58th and 62nd minutes of this game was disgraceful.

The match erupted just one minute after Mark Baber had put Southern Leaguers Poole 2-0 ahead.

First Steve Norman was sent off following a bad foul on Nicky Bridle, and while the Slough full back was receiving his marching orders came the most unsavoury incident of them all.

The new Rebels captain, goalkeeper Frank Parsons, was involved in an unnecessary incident with Ray Ames, and deservedly received his marching orders.

And just four minutes later Slough were reduced to eight men when Mick Doherty - who had been booked earlier - was dismissed following a wild challenge on Phil Matthews.

Add to this bookings for Slough's Keith White and Tony Doherty along with Poole's Ames and Kevin Mulkean and the whole affair was a thoroughly bad tempered one which did little to help football's already tarnished image.

It has to be said that both sides were as bad as each other and whether players were rightly or wrongly sent off and booked it was a situation which should never have been allowed to develop.

Some of the blame has to be placed on referee D Morgan of Westbury, who failed to stamp his authority on the game in the early stages and consequently it turned into a wild ill-disciplined affair.

In the first eight minutes Poole were guilty of three wild tackles on Slough players, one which at least warranted a booking, and from that stage onwards there was a series of bad fouls and niggling incidents which always threatened to get out of hand.

Unfortunately all these incidents completely overshadowed the match, although for such a crucial game it was a terribly disappointing affair with very little football of any note played by either side.

However, one cannot take away the fact that Poole deserved victory and their hero was certainly midfielder Baber - who netted all three of his sides goals. On a bumpy difficult surface Slough - without the injured Gary Attrell - always looked as though they would struggle and never got into their stride.

They had slightly the better of the opening exchanges with Rowan Dodds and Henry Pacquette missing half chances before right on the stroke of half-time Poole went ahead.

Derek Courtney was hauled down by Tony Doherty as he broke clear and in a way justice was done when from the resultant free-kick Baber curled the ball home, just beating Parsons at the base of the post.

Within 12 minutes of the second half the Courtney - Baber combination struck again. A fine ball from the former split the Slough defence and Baber crashed the ball past Parsons with delightful precision.

Then followed those unsavoury four minutes and reduced to eight men the contest was over for Slough - although those remaining on the pitch did restore some pride for the club with a battling display in the last 27 minutes.

Baber completed his hat-trick on 66 minutes when he knocked home a Matthews cross past Eddie Hutchinson, who took over and performed well in Parsons' absence.

Poole were also guilty of several other missed chances but by now it just did not matter.

The whole affair was a sad reflection on what should have been a cracking game of football and was epitomised when in the 85th minute Poole defender Mulkean was booked for throwing the ball in the face of Slough player Francis Araguez, who was watching the match from the touchline.

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