Depleted Rebels scrape through tricky tie

Croydon Athletic

Croydon Athletic

Slough Town

Slough Town

Daly (9)
FA Cup Attendance: 161 Steve Daly
The Rebels’ FA Cup trail began at Mayfield Road and they made it through to the Second Qualifying Round thanks to an early first half goal from skipper, Steve Daly. They were indebted though to some resolute defending as Croydon Athletic turned the latter stages of the match into an all out assault on the Slough goal.

The game kicked off in driving rain and a strong wind into the faces of the Slough players, in stark contrast to the conditions the last time the two teams met at Mayfield Road. Despite the elements, the Rebels started brightly and took the lead as early as the ninth minute. A corner from the Slough right picked out Steve Daly arriving late in the box and his powerful downward header went in despite the best efforts of a Croydon defender to stop it crossing the line as it bounced off the turf.

Slough’s makeshift line-up, with defender Nick Gyoury forced into a midfield role, continued to enjoy some decent possession against a quick Athletic side although on many occasions the final pass was lacking and the home keeper had little to do for much of the first half. In contrast, Jake Whincup, recalled to the Rebels goal in place of Michael Parkin, kept his side in the game with a smart save when he held the ball despite the wet conditions then produced a fine block on the edge of his box as the onrushing Athletic forward tried to poke the ball past him.

The goalmouth action increased during the second period as Athletic pressed for the equaliser that would have forced a replay and Slough tried to exploit the space that this left. In a frantic last twenty minutes both sides came close to scoring with Josias Carbon trying a speculative dipping volley which just missed the angle of post and crossbar.

Shortly after, the same player combined brilliantly with Glen Harris on the edge of the box which resulted in Harris firing a shot just wide.

An incredible goal line clearance from James Saulsbury kept the Rebels ahead with ten minutes to go as a ball into the box ricocheted to an Athletic attacker who beat Whincup, only to see the Slough defender divert the ball to safety.

At the other end a neat Slough move left Ryan Spencer in space inside the box although his stinging drive was well parried by the excellent keeper in the Athletic goal.

Michael Murphy repeated the heroics of Saulsbury going into the last few minutes of the match when he again cleared from his own goal line with the home side pressing for the equaliser.

As the game entered its final minute, Jake Whincup, who was generously allowed to play by his club Hornchurch, pulled off the save of the season so far when he scrambled across his line to somehow keep out a header.

The final whistle blew shortly after and the Rebels ensured their place in Monday’s draw.

Croydon Athletic Lineup


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