Short’s thunderbolt, coming out of the blue with eighteen minutes remaining, had looked unlikely for so long, as despite having the better of the play, the Rebels were frustrated by a hard-working and resolute Curfews side who restricted them to very few chances.
Chertsey’s defence has been far less charitable in recent weeks after heavy defeats against Northwood and Rugby, but the home side collapsed late on as Short’s strike broke the deadlock, and Slough scored three more late on.
Windy conditions at Alwyns Lane ensured that the first half was not a great watch, with both teams, and in particular the hosts, finding it difficult at times to keep the ball on the pitch.
Garry Aulsberry tipped a Darren Wheeler free kick wide for a corner for Slough’s best chance, and Jamie McClurg’s fierce volley from the edge of the box may well have ended up in the roof of the Chertsey goal but for Daniel Alderton’s block.
Aulsberry made a simple save after rushing back to his line to catch Wheeler’s attempted lob from way out on the left, whilst Chertsey’s best chance came from Ryan Blake – who spent time at Slough in pre-season – whose goalbound strike from distance was turned over by Jake Somerville, a fine save.
This scrappy game showed no sign of yielding a goal as the second half wore on. Warren Harris, kept reasonably quiet until late on, got a rare shot on target, but straight at Aulsberry.
The introduction of Jake Parsons for Castello gave Slough added attacking threat, but the hosts should really have taken the lead with their best chance. Striker Alan Musoke found himself through on goal, despite appearing to be offside, but he sliced horribly wide with just Somerville to beat.
The hosts were made to pay for that miss in spectacular fashion. The ball fell to George Short 25 yards out, and the 19 year old midfielder hit across the ball on the half-volley, first time, and looked on as the ball found the top corner, past Aulsberry’s despairing dive – leading to jubilant celebrations for Short’s first Rebels goal.
The goal spurred Slough on to kill the game off, and did so with a fine individual goal from Harris, who skipped past several challenges and into the box, before placing the ball into the bottom corner with eight minutes remaining.
Three minutes later, Harris turned provider, slipping the ball through to Wheeler, who placed the ball beyond Aulsberry.
Johnnie Dyer’s header was saved by the keeper, but Slough did register a fourth in stoppage time as Wheeler was allowed time and space to weave through the demoralised Chertsey defence and finish casually past Aulsberry again to give the scoreline a gloss which felt harsh on the hosts.
Chertsey Town Line up
Garry Aulsberry, Anson Cousins, Ryan Blake (Joe Green), Daniel Alderton, Matt Morris, David Johnston, Ricky Hogsden, Steve Brown, Alan Musoke, Tom Betts, John Flood. Subs not used: Chris Payne, Matt Brunt.