Burnell struck twice in the first half to give Slough a commanding lead before Adam Dickens was sent off early in the second half for a foul on Shaun Byrne, who was stretchered off as a result. Burnell wrapped up the points with a cool finish from outside the box with Marlow 'keeper Michael Watkins stranded, before a stoppage-time consolation from Blues full-back Jordan Lee-Brown.
This was a result which owed much to the energy and work ethic of Slough’s front two Sean Sonner and Danny Burnell, who hassled and harried the Marlow rearguard into numerous mistakes - though in truth it was a superb team performance from the Rebels, who settled into a neat passing game early on and barely allowed the hosts a sniff, nullifying the threat of skipper Leigh Mason, so often Marlow’s most influential and creative player, and leaving young Charlie Fanner precious little to do in the Slough goal.
It took Slough just seven minutes to find the breakthrough after a positive start, though Marlow centre-back Gavin Lane will want to forget it and the rest of the ninety minutes quickly. Sean Sonner was played in down the right, and produced a cross which was aimed towards Danny Burnell – but Lane could only steer the ball into the top corner of his own goal past a statuesque Michael Watkins as he tried to clear.
Marlow looked a little shell-shocked by the early goal and the intensity of Slough’s play as the Rebels started playing the ball around neatly and winning the ball back easily whenever it was lost. Paul Coyne saw a free-kick pushed away from danger by Watkins, but a second goal was not long in coming. With 21 minutes played, Paul Coyne won the ball in midfield and exquisitely played a quick ball in to Burnell with the outside of his right boot. Burnell showed superb control and finishing skills as he directed his shot into the bottom corner, giving Watkins no chance.
Things went from bad to worse for Marlow, who were forced to replace Mark Avery through injury, with Mitchel Woodward his replacement – and the Blues may point to communication problems at the back as Slough scored a third just minutes later. Whilst the first two were the result of clever build-up play, this was “route one” at its finest, as Charlie Fanner plucked a cross out of the air and played a long ball downfield, which sailed over the Marlow defence and was seized upon by Burnell, who ran onto the pass and lobbed Watkins from around 15 yards.
By now, Slough were fully in command and Paul Coyne in particular was instrumental in keeping possession and playing telling passes to find holes in the Marlow defence. Rebels could have extended their lead further, but Watkins got down superbly to push away a towering header from Steve Perkins as a free-kick was played in.
Slough went in to the half-time break with a commanding lead, but Marlow started the second half with purpose and the Rebels had to be alert to clear the danger after a goalmouth scramble in which Marcus Mealing saw an effort blocked.
But Marlow, after suffering a 3-0 midweek defeat to Hitchin, looked devoid of ideas and simply weren’t allowed to play as Slough continued to stamp their authority on proceedings, and Aaron Couch was given little chance to exploit his pace as Marlow’s midfield creators were unable to get on the ball. Charlie Fanner was tested only rarely with a couple of long-range efforts.
The game was effectively ended as a contest with 55 minutes played, as Adam Dickens was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card for a heavy tackle from behind on Shaun Byrne – a reckless show of frustration after his first-half booking for dissent – and Byrne was stretchered from the field after a delay for treatment, to be replaced by Adam Logie.
Slough refused to sit back and play out the remaining time, keeping their foot firmly on the throttle and using the man advantage by keeping the ball and forcing Marlow to work hard all around the pitch to win it back. Swift’s low cross almost produced another own goal, but this time Jordan Lee-Brown managed to put the ball wide with Sonner lurking.
But soon after, Slough did claim a fourth. Again, Sonner worked tirelessly to close down Gavin Lane and as Watkins went to clear a back pass, he succeeded only in blasting the ball against a combination of Lane and Sonner, and the ball fell kindly for Burnell on the edge of the box. The striker still had work to do in finding the target with defenders closing in, but superbly controlled his first-time effort and rolled the ball into the unguarded net to claim his second hat-trick of the season, and his sixth goal in five games against Marlow.
With the Rebels comfortable, Steve Bateman replaced full-backs Murphy and Sweeney with Chris Herron and Sam Bateman as Slough looked for more goals – and Burnell was unlucky again as his header from Sinclair’s cross hit the bar and dropped onto the line, where Watkins had fallen and was able to gather.
Burnell put another effort just wide and Sonner was denied by Watkins after being played in on the right hand side by another fabulous pass from Coyne.
All that was missing from the performance was a clean sheet, but this was denied as, one minute into added-on time, Marlow left-back Lee-Brown produced a fine curling effort which whistled into the bottom corner past the outstretched hand of Fanner after substitute Jermaine Roche’s progress had been halted.
Marlow Line up
Watkins, Case, Lee-Brown, Maclellan (Roche), Avery (Woodward), Lane, Mason (c), Isaac, Dickens, Mealing, Couch. Subs not used: Stone, Croxford.