This was, for the most part, an entertaining match played in front of a sparse crowd on a freezing cold Thursday night at Holloways Park. Both sides played with a freedom, and particularly in the first half, plenty of open, attacking passing football was on show.
Slough started with Dan Burnell, but he was replaced after just two minutes as Steve Bateman looked to give Ryan O’Toole much needed game time. The former Hemel man was lively, and involved in most of Slough’s best moves, including the opening goal.
Adam Martin, coming back into the side after a back injury, had a solid game, and almost scored from fully 30 yards, but his shot crashed back down off the underside of the bar. O’Toole tried to tuck away the rebound, but was in an offside position.
Northwood’s Dean Warman should have done better as he attacked the back post, but his shot bounced down into the turf and straight at Jamie Jackson.
Slough took the lead in the 34th minute as Smith ran on to O’Toole’s ball and slotted past James Reading with his left foot, finishing off a flowing move.
Jerome Federico’s quick feet won him a free kick on the edge of the box, but the Northwood winger hit the top of the bar with his strike.
In the second half, O’Toole saw a shot deflected wide and Adam Logie slammed a free kick wide. The introduction of Sam Bateman from the bench added some spark and creativity to the midfield, and after Oliver Hawkins had cut inside and fired inches over the bar for Woods, the manager’s son won a penalty after being felled whilst running on to a forward ball. Ed Smith stepped up to send Reading the wrong way from the spot on 68 minutes.
The striker was close to a hat-trick, but his half volley on the turn hit the outside of the post.
With two minutes remaining, Northwood substitute Romaine Walker danced through the Slough defence and poked the ball beyond Jackson’s reach – a great solo goal, but not enough to stop Slough progressing to the semi-final on 6 March.
Northwood Line up
James Reading, James Fraser, Lee Grant, Brad Hewitt, Reece Yorke, George Nicholas, Jerome Federico, Mark Burgess (Bradley Wilkinson), Oliver Hawkins (Travonn St Leonce), Niko Muir (Romaine Walker), Dean Warman. Subs not used: Ryan Phillips, Ricky Rogers.