Rebels and Bishops Battle To Draw

Slough Town

Slough Town

Barnett o.g. (10), Miller (42)
Bishop's Stortford

Bishop's Stortford

Southam (15), Essandoh (75)
FA Trophy Attendance: 332 Alan Foster
The F.A Trophy hasn’t been to good for Slough these past few years, last years 6-4 1st round defeat at Lewes is a good example of that. This past Sunday The Rebels set out on the long road to repeat their achievement of reaching the semi-final during the 76/77 and 97/98 seasons. But standing in their way of the next round were Ryman Premier side and winners of this very competition in 1981, Bishop’s Stortford.

However it’s going to take a replay on Tuesday night at Woodside Park to split the two teams, after the first 90 minutes at Stag Meadow the two teams are locked at two goal each, but it seemed lady luck was on Slough’s side as it took a couple a bizarre and quite fortunate goals to ensure the Rebels will get a second bite at the cherry.

Tony Boot and Captain Steve Daly were both still missing, but Steer and Hyatt returned to the subs bench for added back up. It was an electric start for both sides, with both having chances to take an early lead. With just five minutes gone Alex Haddow was fouled on the edge of the Slough penalty and a free kick was rightly awarded. Glen Harris whipped in the kick but it just dipped to late and ended up going over the bar.

Bishop’s Stortford were first to step up a gear and showed off some neat passing but a beefy tackle from Adrian Browne stopped Stortford in their tracks. Alex Haddow picked up the loose ball and spotted Ian Hodge free on the left wing. Hodge crossed into the area for a Slough player but the ball connected with Stortford defender Barnet and the ball rolled into the back of the net, that was Barnet’s second own goal for Slough, however a goals a goal and Slough were in the lead, but not for long.

Bishop’s Stortford were not going down without a fight and they were quick to respond. Captain Dave Rainford crossed into the area and found an unmarked Southam and he struck past a stranded Alan Foster to draw level for Stortford.

It was now Slough’s turn to up their game, Paul Barrowcliff made an important tackle and passed accurately to Ryan Spencer, Spencer and Harris made a series of well timed passes however the final strike from Spencer went well wide. Against the run of play Stortford broke and Essandoh turned Browne but his accurate and well hit strike was amazingly tipped onto the crossbar by an acrobatic Alan Foster.

Football can have some controversial moments at times, and the 332 fans in the ground were about to witness one of those moments. Alex Haddow was brought down near the half way line but the referee deemed it to be a fair challenge. Stortford were in possession and the man on the ball stopped so Haddow could receive treatment however the whistle had not gone and as the ball was not out of play so Matt Miller used his initiative and won control of the ball, he shot past the Stortford keeper to give Slough the lead at half time. Of course there were protests from the Stortford camp but the referee was having none of it, if there’s one lesson Stortford can learn it’s play to the whistle.

Bishop’s Stortford came out after the break looking for revenge. They had numerous chances throughout the half including a Rainford shot hitting the crossbar, and Essandoh header going wide and a Southam shot being saved by Alan Foster. However you always felt than an equaliser was coming and in the 75th minute it arrived. Essandoh found space on the right wing, he went in alone and his low strike into the left hand corner of the goal was unstoppable.

Danny Steer was brought on to replace Alex Haddow and almost immediately the quality of crosses improved. Paul Barrowcliff laid a ball on for Steer, his sublime cross met the foot of Matt Miller but the ball floated over the bar.

Injury time came and Slough had a great chance to steal the match in the dying minutes. Another superb cross from Steer found the head of Ryan Spencer but his effort rolled agonisingly wide.

Slough can now look forward to the trip to Bishop’s Stortford on Tuesday that they just about deserve. For the last 10 minutes Danny Steer and Paul Barrowcliff looked lethal down the left wing and should be in Eddie’s plans for the replay. There is no doubt about it, we are improving and if we play to the best of our beat ability we will beat Stortford on Tuesday night.

Our congratulations go out to Freddie Hyatt who he has become a father for the third time, our best wished go to him and his family from all at the Slough Town Website Team.

Bishop's Stortford Lineup


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