Rebels Are Going Replay Mad!!

| FA Trophy
Att: 663
Slough Town
0 - 0
Margate
Unknown
Slough were forced into their fourth replay in six FA competitive games with this uninspiring draw at Wexham Park. A well known battle tactic is to take out the opposition's leader and with that the troops tend to wilt and lose heart. This was the case at Wexham Park with Rebels boss Alan Davies at home and in bed with a dose of flu.

Slough missed his organisational abilities and generally looked lost as both as a team and individually, players lost their definitive roles. Just when Slough needed one of the senior players to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, it never happened and they kept running into walls of defence.

Margate only troubled Slough once, and then could have snatched a win that would have been even more shocking than this result. In the 90th minute Tony Harwood got the better of a Mark Hill error and raced in to cross to Graham Brenton who could only side foot wide when he should have done much better.

Slough had their best chance in the 91st minute when Francis Joseph poked an Allan Pluckrose cross goalwards but when Neal Stanley finished the move virtually on the line he was adjudged offside.

This could all prove costly at the end of the season as Slough forsaked a Conference League match at Boston on Wednesday for this replay and are now dropping well behind in the fixtures — which may be crammed into a hectic end of season programme.

Steve Scott played his first full competitive game for the club when returning from injury, but after a useful first half display wasn't involved much in the second period when closely marked.

Credit must go to Margate who are on a good run since a change of management a few weeks back. Their five man defence, that kept tight, closed down the Rebels' forward movement quickly and they got men back behind the ball as soon as possible. This FA Trophy third qualifying round saw Slough play all the football in the first half but they were unable to make the most of it against lowly Beazer Homes League Southern division side Margate.

The first chance fell to old pro Peter Kitchen who blasted wide from a tight angle. Slough replied by Francis Joseph finding Stanley in space but his cross was pushed onto the bar and out by keeper Kevin Hudson. Shortly after Francis Joseph found himself clean through but scrambled defending forced the corner. But Slough looked every ordinary against a scrambling side that shut down every avenue and when it called for the ball to be used wide, the Rebels still persisted with the path straight through the middle.

Slough did put together a peach of a move midway through the half that lightened the game. On the half hour Pluckrose outpaced the Margate midfield and played a delightful one-two with Steve Thompson on the edge of the box with Pluckrose shooting through the middle only for his thunderbolt to crash against the bar and out.

The Rebels began to knock the ball around well, but when it came to the final third of the field, they found the Margate defence too numerous and well organised to threaten. The whole day got dull as the game wore on and a surprisingly sparse crowd with all the noise coming from 10 Margate fans produced a poor atmosphere.

Margate were never threatening but despite both Pluckrose and Stanley nipping the finish wasn't there. The Rebels began the second half a lot slower than the first and really were lacking in imagination when moving forward. Their failure to get behind the Margate full backs and whip in some decent crosses began to tell as the centre of the park was a wall of bodies.

Stanley found himself through on a mistake but was all too easily robbed in a good position. Joseph's aggression was Slough's main striking feature and he came so close when he turned and chipped the oncoming Hudson, but the ball bounced agonisingly wide. Joseph made a good run to beat two defenders but his effort flashed across the face of goal.

Slough were failing to hit the target and missed the assured presence of Paul McKinnon to hold up the ball. Their lack of width, and Steve Whitby pushing into midfield to leave three in defence just made things even more cluttered. Mark Mallinson, whose application was an example to all, made a superb tackle to deny Kitchen who got clean through a frail Rebels rearguard.

At the other end, Joseph blasted over and then Hudson was called upon to deny Pluckrose, who began to overlap well. Twice Thompson went the wrong way with the ball at his feet and both times found no way through the Margate defence and eventually ran into Joseph.

The best moments came right at the end. Thompson weaved through the defence on 89 minutes but having taken on too many players he ran out of pitch and the moment was lost. Margate then missed their chance of glory and the Rebels' late strike was ruled offside and so they will have to do it all again down on the Kent coast.

Margate Line up

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