The win is potentially huge in the context of both teams’ seasons, with Slough remaining in third place with just five games left.
In the opening minutes, both George Short and Johnnie Dyer volleyed wide when they may well have done better, whilst Smith was unlucky as the ball bobbled past his foot as he tried to control Warren Harris’ low cross into the box as Slough broke forward.
Slough were the dominant side in the opening 15 minutes, and James Dobson broke clear on the left, only to see his cross cleared at the near post.
The rest of the first half was tight and cagey, with much of the play from both sides being up in the air as the pitch made free flowing football difficult. Neither side would budge in the opening 45 minutes, but the game came to life early in the second period.
Sean Fraser crossed in for Dyer, who headed down, but the ball bounced off the surface and over.
Minutes later, Harris worked hard to engineer a chance, volleying across goal from the right, where Smith had an effort blocked by a combination of defender and goalkeeper, the ball somehow staying out of the Barton net.
But from the resulting corner, Barton failed to clear their lines, and the ball fell kindly for Dyer, whose strike was not clean, but was on target, going in via the far post to give the Rebels a deserved lead – the striker’s 20th goal of the season.
Slough almost scored a second when a Guy Hollis long throw fell to top scorer Smith, whose technique in volleying the ball was perfect, but he was unlucky to see his effort rebound back off the far post and to safety.
The hosts’ equaliser came on 63 minutes as Knight beat both Dobson and Dyer, afforded too much time and space to strike at goal from 25 yards, the ball swerving and dipping over the head of Jake Somerville, who looked to have been deceived by the flight.
Four minutes later, Slough were back ahead, with Barton furious at a refereeing decision. The official had spent considerable time with his assistant before deciding to show Dobson a yellow card as tempers threatened to boil over.
When play resumed, a throw-in was awarded to the Rebels, with the hosts believing they should have possession of the ball. Slough profited, as Liam McDevitt headed Hollis’ long throw to the edge of the box, where Smith was on hand to control superbly before firing into the top corner on his left foot, giving Kyle Forster no chance.
Substitute BJ Christie had a glorious chance to equalise late on as he evaded the attention of Sean Fraser, but headed over the bar unchallenged.
Slough survived a scare deep into stoppage time as Barton refused to give the ball back after Somerville had thrown it out of play to receive treatment – unsporting in the eyes of many, but an example of just how vital the result was between two sides desperate to finish in the top five.
For Slough, the victory was fully merited, with Baker and Underwood's side putting in yet another committed, all-action performance, superbly marshalled by the imperious Dave Woozley.
Barton Rovers Line up
Forster, Hoenes, Lincoln, Gatti, Andrews, McDevitt, Reynolds, Knight, Case, Forsythe, Hall. Subs: Christie, Anderson, Vaughan, Abraham, Sweeney.