Slough did not know much about their opponents from Canvey Island who have made a rapid rise up the leagues from junior football, but their achievement of reaching the play-off final meant the Rebels were expecting a tough physical encounter.
One Rebel who was familiar with the Rangers team was Elliot Buchanan who appeared on loan for Concord during last season and he had the first opportunity after 6 minutes as Bowden-Haase picked him out with an excellent cross field ball to release him down the left flank. Able to cut inside, his shot was dragged wide.
But Slough did not have to wait long for the opening goal which arrived from a Tommy Hayes corner. The two towering centre backs had come forward and they linked for the goal with Graeme Edwards heading back across goal and Nathan Bowden-Hasse powered home from 6 yards with the Concord keeper stranded.
After 15 minutes O’Connor held up the ball well and turned Easterford before firing a shot which Brightly could not hold; unfortunately for the Rebels there was no one on hand to poke home the rebound and Brightly smothered the ball.
Concord had good spells of possession but seemed to struggle to create any clear opportunities; however Jackson was forced into a save when the skipper Cowley fired a long range shot optimistically at goal. It was almost too hot to handle and Jacko beat the ball away.
This however seemed to give Concord confidence and they had their best spell of the game as Slough’s midfield struggled slightly with Hayes and Buchanan filling unusual roles. However, the defence held firm coping well with everything that was thrown at them. On the half hour Bowden-Haase showed his strength and composure as he held off Butterworth and brought the ball clear after the Concord man had seemingly been played through.
Slough had a constant outlet up front with Martin holding the ball up well and O’Connor a constant threatening presence as he harried the defence. This was bought clearly into perspective when O’Connor turned his man who ended up on the floor in a heap. This bought incensed claims from the Concord management team but the referee allowed played to continue and Easterford was able to resume without appearing any the worse for wear.
O’Connor was now at the centre of everything good that Slough produced and after good link up play with Martin, his shot was charged down. He was then brought down and the resulting free kick was headed clear. From the resulting corner it appeared that Bowden-Haase had doubled Slough’s lead only for it to be ruled out for a push at the far post from Edwards.
Slough did double their lead immediately in the second half, O’Connor chasing down a back pass and forcing Brightly, the Concord keeper, into a horrible misjudgement as he missed his kick and wandered off disconsolately. O’Connor was now left to run clear at goal and with great composure and huge cheek he stopped the ball on the line before back heeling it home for his first goal for the Rebels.
With a two goal advantage Slough were able to soak up comfortably the possession and sporadic attacks mounted by a clearly rattled Concord side. Slough thought they had broken the offside trap in the 59th minute as Martin broke away from the defence. However, he was flagged offside and subsequently booked for kicking the ball away.
Another break down the right flank saw Sweeney and Hayes link up and Sweeney’s cross was headed back by Buchanan and the defender was forced to clear.
On 80 minutes there was more ill temper when Jackson dived low to collect the ball from the feet of Heale who appeared to follow through on the Slough keeper. This provoked angry remonstrations from the Slough players and the two benches. Bowden-Haase was booked for his complaints to the assistant.
Slough refused to be rattled and were seemingly comfortably seeing things through to the final whistle when in injury time, Hayzelden the left back over lapped, cutting past Hayes, who chopped him down for a clear penalty. Danny Heale steeped up but his penalty was well saved by Jackson diving low to his right.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jamie Jackson
- 2 Simon Sweeney
- 3 Danny Murphy
- 4 Rob Kean
- 5 Nathan Bowden-Haase
- 6 Graeme Edwards
- 7 Thomas Hayes
- 8 Elliott Buchanan
- 9 Simon Martin
- 10 Craig O'Connor
- 11 Paul Edgeworth
Concord Rangers Line up
Brightly, Watson, Hayzelden, Kear, Easterford, Skelton, Hopkins, Conley (c), Taylor, Heale, Butterworth Subs: Carlile, Beggs, Nelson, Scopes, Buckfield