Late drama puts paid to FA Cup hopes

Cambridge City

Cambridge City

Newby (44 pen),McCann (88), Wilde (90+2)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Deaner (3), Hawthorne (63)
FA Cup Attendance: 650 Danny Honey
Cambridge City sent Slough Town crashing out of the FA Cup with an astonishing comeback right at the death of a gripping cup tie on Monday night. Two goals in the dying minutes of the match dashed the Rebels' dreams of a money-spinning first round tie at home to Nationwide Division 2 high-flyers Wigan Athletic.

It was Slough's inability to kill off Saturday's tie at Wexham Park that forced this replay after Christian McCann scored in the 90th minute and this performance will have left Rebels boss Graham Roberts reeling, especially if his reaction at the final whistle is anything to go by. Roberts raced off the pitch from the away dug-out and back down the tunnel, clearly annoyed that his side had not learned their lesson two days earlier.

It all started so well for Slough, when Andrew Deaner stooped to head the Rebels into a third minute lead after a great cross from Youness Nabil with the outside of his boot. The goal stunned a buoyant home crowd, but Chris Tovey's side was not willing to give up the fight.

Adam Wilde was a constant threat to Slough with his runs down the left and it was his free-kick that forced a good save from Danny Honey after 15 minutes. The Rebels had an excellent chance to increase their lead and effectively kill off the Dr Marten's Premier Division side when full-back David Timothy was found inside the box by midfielder Mark Hall. A clever run down the left by Hall saw him outpace the fullback but Timothy's shot, on the volley, was unconvincing and a good opportunity was spurned.

The warning signs were there for Slough as Wilde fired another effort just over the bar, although the home side struggled for the majority of the first half with the final ball. Wilde carved another hole in the Rebels defence to find Ian Stringfellow in yards of space on the edge of the penalty area, and his first time shot flew inches over Honey's goal.

Slough were already defending desperately and certainly didn't look like a side lying sixth in the Ryman League Premier Division. Hall went close after 40 minutes from Deaner's superb flick but City keeper Martin Davies did well to block his close range effort.

On 44 minutes disaster struck for Slough when, first, influential centre back Leon Townley was forced out of the game with a leg injury and then, a minute later, Wilde was brought down in the box after a reckless challenge by Mark Pye. Keith Newby converted the spot-kick, and Pye was shown the yellow card for his efforts to make his record two bookings and one sending off-in the last three matches.

Slough had looked impressive going forward and Mark Hawthorne in particular had a very good game. It was his powerful shot which forced a good save from Davies after 52 minutes. Scott Taylor then missed an ideal chance to put the home side ahead when Honey saved superbly from Wilde's rasping shot. Honey's parry fell to Taylor just yards from goal, but his lunging volley sent the ball wide.

On 63 minutes the Rebels put themselves in the driving seat. Deaner won the ball well in midfield and set Nabil off on one of his weaving runs. He in turn found Hawthorne who wasted no time in shaping for a vicious shot which beat Davies from outside the area.

But instead of prompting a professional performance by Slough in the last half-hour it only led to desperate, schoolboy defending by the Rebels. Honey had his best game yet for the Rebels and it was his heroics after 75 minutes that stopped Andy Pincher finding the back of the net with a volley on the edge of the box.

City then introduced McCann as a last desperate bid for a breakthrough and after this performance his name will be one that the travelling Slough supporters will remember for a long time now - for the wrong reasons! Wilde produced a dazzling run down the left, beating Denton, Timothy and Daly before crossing the ball around Honey to leave McCann with a simple tap in for the equaliser with just three minutes to play.

Extra-time loomed but City seized the moment. With the crowd in ecstatic celebration already, Neil Coburn found a gap in the shambolic Rebels defence to sidefoot past Honey and seal victory in this five-goal thriller — two minutes into stoppage time.

Roberts said: "I thought we played well enough having changed the system to 4-4-2. We dominated most of the game but they threw five strikers on in the last five minutes. It" a disappointment for everybody.

"If we could have gone in still one up at half-time we could have gone on from there to win the game. There was no need for Mark Pye to tackle him — he was going nowhere. But to concede the two goals as we did was poor. We never got the tackles in."

Cambridge City Lineup


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