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Bath City (H)
Sat Aug 24
15:00

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Bath City (H)
Sat Aug 24 15:00
The Vanarama National League South
20th
2pts

Proud Rebels Out Of Cup

| FA Cup
Att: 2371
Slough Town
M.Scott (65)
1 - 2
Torquay United
Sale, Moore (40)
Paul Manning
Les Briley thought his side had done enough, Mark Fiore was quite clearly gutted but the Slough fans were round if somewhat frustrated. Slough's hopes of an FA Cup giant killing act were all but ended by a hesitant first half showing where they gave their league opposition the respect perhaps due only to another, rather more formidable, United. It left them so much to do, but in a quite breathtaking second half display they came agonisingly close to achieving a second chance at Plainmoor next week.

A staggering finger tip touch from Torquay's otherwise less than impressive goalkeeper Ashley Bayes lifted Steve Scott's blistering half volley onto the crossbar and that was, unfortunately for the home side, the end of the road - to Wembley. For Torquay, there was only relief, defeat would have made them the first league side to crash out of the FA Cup to non-league opposition in three consecutive seasons.

Such a fate looked unlikely throughout a one sided first half - the only threat to their mission seemed the outstanding Mark Fiore - at this stage he appeared the only man in yellow who believed Torquay were beatable. He actually had the first chance of all, a second minute left footed drive which from eight yards he should have got on target - but didn't.

Torquay replied with a feverish determination to get the job done, and wind assisted they tore into the shaky Rebels, Trollope and Hathaway tested Bunting, the latter's shot bouncing awkwardly in front of him and Curran surging forward was another to let fly - albeit more in hope than much more. A goal looked likely and Torquay, reveling in the space they were still surprisingly allowed, obliged their large contingent of travelling supporters.

From a Slough point of view it was a sloppy strike to concede. Trolloppe's cross eluded both Kelly and Bunting and Hathaway unchallenged picked up the loose ball and delivered an inviting cross for the lanky Mark Sale to stoop and head in.

Now surely this would shake Slough from their apparent slumber - sadly not. Russell Edwards was forced to head clear from under his own bar as Slough continued to back pedal. Very much against the run of play Slough somehow nearly levelled. Fiore crossed tantalizingly, deceiving Bayes and Colcombe, and Stanley arrived at the far post for the final touch; Slough hearts lifted, but the roar stuck in throats as the effort slid a yard wide.

Normal service was swiftly resumed, Sale's cross, Trolloppe's volley, Bunting helpless and the ball inches wide. Another Fiore cross flashed in front of Bayes' unprotected goal before Torquay turned the screw emphatically. First Foster forced a tip over save from Bunting, referee Phlip Don the only one in the ground who thought it a goal kick.

But now Slough's task was to hang on desperately for the interval, a chance for Briley to reorganise and inspire - he did both but only after his side had conceded a second. With five minutes remaining before the break Slough failed to clear a free kick and the bull like Darren "Bruno" Moore powered in a header after Sale had knocked the ball cross goal, cue pitch invasion, rare scenes indeed! Colcombe and Foster were close to adding a third before Mr. Don said enough but the task facing Slough now, certainly on the evidence of what had already gone would surely prove beyond them.

It was, felt the majority, all over bar the shouting. Clearly that was done by the fuming Briley in the privacy of Slough's dressing room. He probably needed few of the ten alloted minutes. Re-enter Slough all passion and pride they'd been "Brileyised" and they meant business.

Russell Edwards thumped a menacing header wide of Bayes' goal from Hancock's corner and Fiore went close, sliding in on the goaline in a vain attempt to touch the ball past Bayes. Sayer headed past the post from Hancock's floated free-kick and then real drama.

From 25 yards Mark Quamina drove hard and low for goal, Bayes couldn't gather and Morrys Scott, one of three yellow shirts following up, scored - offside ruled Mr. Don - not so revealed Sky cameras later, "a scandalous" decision fumed Briley.

Ten minutes later came Scott's revenge. Fiore's cross was cut out by Curran. A corner, 25 minutes left. Bayes rose to collect, appeared to have it then on landing dropped it, scramble, goal. The long leg of Scott poking the ball in and igniting the fuse to a furious last period.

Torquay lost huge defender Moore with a shoulder that he puts out every week, going again. The seasiders were rocked but marshalled admirably by player-boss Don O'Riodon, they tried to kill the tie off. Sale should have done so, but after long striding his way past Hancock pulled his shot tamely across goal.

Now it was Bunting's turn to keep his side in it, first a comfortable save from Trollope's glancing header then a miraculous one to deny Foster from 12 yards. Bunting appeared to be going the wrong way but somehow corrected and threw out a right hand to amaze us all, particularly Foster.

Lee Walker replaced the industrious Stanley but it was a surprise that Briley didn't see a role for himself at this stage, a cool head amongst so many busy losing theirs could have been decisive. He could though have done little about the incredible sequence of play that carried the game to a frenzied, fantastic end.

Bayes picked up a back pass with just three minutes left. Torquay massed themselves on the line and Fiore thrashed a shot at goal - it thumped into a Devon wall, eventually coming out to Steve Scott and only Bayes knows how it sped towards him as he diverted the ball onto woodwork.

Torquay broke out, Slough were exposed, Hathaway fed Sale, Sale drifted round Bunting, surely a goal, enter the heroic Hancock sliding the ball out. He had though, said Don, used a hand - penalty. Foster stepped forward but his nervy strike was comfortably saved by Bunting and with yet another aerial bomb he launched Slough forward once more.

Wexham Park's rarely heard noise like it, the crowd of 2,371 were hating every nail biting second and yet loving it at the same time. Gull's substitute Duane Darby, came on and immediately had the opportunity to seal Slough's fate. Incredibly after rounding Bunting he lifted his shot over an empty goal. Composed it wasn't, exciting you bet!

There simply wasn't enough time, Slough's gallant bid had begun 45 minutes too late and Briley and his battle weary troops were left to acknowledge the ovation of a crowd, that though deeply disappointed knew Slough had given everything in that memorable second half.

Torquay United Line up

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