On a difficult pitch, Bracknell had the first chance of the game as Steve Daly’s headed clearance fell only to Ross Hogston, who sliced wide on his left foot.
Slough’s first effort on goal came from debutant Josiah Hunte. Daly played the ball into the returning Terry Davies, whose clipped cross was met by the head of Hunte, but the ball bounced off the angle of post and bar and behind.
The Rebels survived another scare on 19 minutes as Adam Crittenden’s cut back was sliced horribly wide by Ben Edwards in the middle, with most of the goal to aim at.
More nervy moments for Slough followed, before the visitors’ best move of the match resulted in Terry Davies putting a cross from David Thomas just wide after good work down the left wing.
Josiah Hunte found himself with two opportunities, but was unable to take either. His first came as Davies played him through, but Hunte slammed his shot wide of the near post. Soon after, Hunte met a low ball across from the left by Thomas, but he got underneath the shot and his flicked effort drifted over the bar.
Four minutes before the break, Bracknell took a vital lead. Slough failed to clear properly, and the ball fell to Jamie McClurg, who was able to poke the ball past a surprised Barnard into the corner of the net.
As the half came to a close, Abby Nsubuga forced a low save from McCarthy after being played through by Thomas, and Slough penalty appeals were waved away as a Bracknell defender appeared to fall on the ball after Daly had won a header from the resulting corner.
Slough had a lot to do in the second half, and set about their task quickly, with Daly forcing a good save from McCarthy with a header.
The play was end-to-end, with Slough looking to gain the advantage through playing down the slope in the second half. David Thomas blazed wide following a corner, before Slough’s equaliser arrived, predictably enough, from Terry Davies. In typical Davies style, he attempted a long-range shot on his left foot from 25 yards, which seemed to surprise McCarthy as the ball slipped past his fingers and into the corner of the net to bring the scores level.
Visibly boosted by this goal, Slough began to look the better team and looked as if they may go on to win the game. A ball over the top saw Davies do what he does best, attempting to catch McCarthy out with the element of surprise, but his early strike was right at the home keeper and McCarthy made a comfortable save.
Bracknell started coming back into the game after weathering the Rebels storm, and forced the key moment of the second half on 69 minutes.
Slough skipper Lee Riddell brought down Adam Crittenden, who was clean through on goal. Riddell was only booked by the referee, despite it looking to be a clear goalscoring opportunity with Riddell as last man. Adam Crittenden then inexplicably appeared to push the referee, and was promptly sent off. With Lee Riddell lucky to still be on the pitch, and Bracknell down to ten men, the home side restarted with a free kick in the middle of the pitch, just outside the box, which was ultimately wasted.
However, this moment of madness from Crittenden served to fire up the Bracknell players into the kind of response that had previously looked unlikely, and the home side took the lead just three minutes later.
A terrible attempt at a cross-field pass from Abby Nsubuga sailed towards his own half, and Bracknell took advantage with Dean Thomas, brought on a moment ago, finding space in the middle and firing home to Barnard's left – a hammer-blow to Slough’s hopes.
Heads dropped, and Abby Nsubuga was replaced soon after. Bracknell piled on the pressure and Slough were unable to cope with the onslaught as the home side, feeling aggrieved after the Riddell incident, took a 3-1 lead on 80 minutes. Dean Thomas was again on hand after a corner was not dealt with, and he was able to fire into the top corner off the bar to kill off the Rebels’ hopes.
With Slough pushing forwards and Riddell and Harper playing as auxiliary strikers, Bracknell could have snatched a fourth, but Barnard touched a dangerous cross-shot past the post.
Bracknell saw out the game by doing the basics, sitting deep and clearing long, whilst Slough weren’t getting a sight of goal to find a way back into the game. Much to the disappointment of the majority of the crowd of 277, Bracknell held onto their lead to give their new management team a great start, and leave the Rebels with a huge task on their hands.
Bracknell Town Line up
1. Paul McCarthy, 2. Mark Bartley, 3. Jamie Clarke, 4. Michael Buck, 5. Neil Baker (c), 6. Jason O'Connor, 7. Ben Edwards, 8. Jamie McClurg, 9. Stuart Tanfield, 10. Adam Crittenden, 11. Ross Hogston. Subs: 12. Michael Cook, 14. Dean Thomas, 15. Tom Nugent, 16. Graham Lewis, 17. Adam Cornell.