The result was a surprise to many, with Slough having suffered a heavy defeat and early exit from the FA Trophy the previous weekend at the hands of Gosport. Margate, meanwhile, are unbeaten in the Ryman Premier Division but also exited the FA Trophy to lower-league opposition.
Emotions were poles apart at the final whistle, with Slough overjoyed and Margate reflecting on a disappointing performance, but in this game of very few chances, the visitors made theirs count four minutes before the interval.
Margate had the better of the first half without seriously testing James Warrington. The Kent side won a number of early corners and Tommy Murphy fired an attempt wide from a Dean Pooley throw-in.
But Slough remained sturdy at the back, with Alex Brown particularly dominant against the ‘Gate strike force of Carl Rook and Ryan Dolby, the latter looking the more likely to make something happen. The hosts fired wide from distance through Richard Avery, and Murphy again from a partially cleared Dan Stubbs corner.
With half time approaching, Slough had threatened only from a long-range pot-shot from Dan Burnell – but the striker capitalised on hesitancy from defender Laurence Ball to steal the ball from him and poke it past Gary Holloway to give his side the lead.
The second half saw Margate really struggle to penetrate the Slough defence, which looked in no mood to grant the hosts a way back into the game cheaply. Avery sent another shot wide from the edge of the box and Murphy fired another shot from distance straight at Warrington, but Slough also had chances to extend their lead. Burnell played a neat one-two with Ed Smith on the edge of the box, but Holloway kept out his fierce strike from a difficult angle.
Nathan Bowden-Haase headed two efforts wide and Dom Rhone blazed a shot over as well, but with eight minutes left Margate players had their heads in their hands as substitute Alex Rhodes, who scored a midweek hat-trick in a Kent Senior Cup demolition of Sittingbourne, fired a good chance wide after Warrington had failed to punch away a cross and Slough struggled to clear.
Warrington saved a volley from Matt Bodkin and a late cross caused concern as it clipped the top of the Slough goalkeeper’s crossbar, but the Rebels held on to seal their progress.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 James Warrington
- 2 Sean Fraser
- 3 Dominic Rhone 15
- 4 Alex Brown
- 5 Nathan Bowden-Haase
- 6 David Woozley
- 7 Ollie Burgess 14
- 8 David Deeney
- 9 Danny Burnell
- 10 Edward Smith 16
- 11 Stuart Swift
Margate Line up
Craig Holloway, Phil Starkey (Matt Bodkin), Dean Pooley, Richard Avery, John Beales (c), Laurence Ball, Mark Corneille, Dan Stubbs (Alex Rhodes), Carl Rook (Tommy Whitnell), Ryan Dolby, Tommy Murphy. Subs not used: Femi Omogbehin, Michael Alaile, Tyler Christian-Law, Josh Matless.