The Rebels will be returning to Slough soon, with the new Community Sports Facility under construction, but the setting for the opening league game was a very warm Holloways Park, with the home side fielding four debutants – Mark Nisbet, Simon Dunn, Gavin James and Charlie Moone – with a further four new faces on the bench and the returning James Dobson drafted straight in to the left wing berth with Lewis Putman and Harrison Gilkes sidelined with short-term and long-term injuries respectively.
In the opening five minutes James Hall put a long shot wide of Mark Scott’s goal and the Rebels cleared the ball away as St Neots threatened from a free kick.
Moone was in the thick of the action early on, seeing an effort disallowed for offside on six minutes before having another shot easily saved. But on the quarter hour mark, Donkin’s tip over from a Gavin James header resulted in a corner, which was swung in by Dobson and headed into the back of the net by an unmarked Moone for a debut goal.
Dobson showed neat footwork to work space for a shot which he lashed wide four minutes later, and Moone clipped another shot just over as Slough again managed to get in behind the visitors.
St Neots struggled to get back into the game as things settled down after an action-packed opening spell, and the best they could offer by way of a goal threat was a shot from Peter Clark from out wide, which was dragged well off-target.
Slough could have extended their lead when Dobson released James down the left wing. The striker raced towards goal and cut inside, but his finish was weak and held low by Donkin.
The visitors’ task became a great deal harder after the dismissal of skipper Tom Ward on the stroke of half time. Following a confrontation with Moone, the centre half was adjudged to have committed an act of violent conduct and was sent to the changing room a minute or so early.
Slough kept the pressure on in the second half and used the extra space wisely as Saints appeared to tire in the heat. Sam Donkin turned behind a shot from a Warren Harris on 49 minutes after Gavin James held the ball up superbly, but Harris was on target four minutes later as he superbly guided a pass from Paul Stonehouse, who found himself linking with Dobson high up the pitch, into the top corner.
The home side were comfortable from then on, and could have extended their lead through Moone, who was again denied by Donkin after he beat two defenders and worked his way into the box. Guy Hollis headed the resulting corner just over the bar.
Moone had a second effort ruled out after a foul by substitute Brad Hewitt, whilst Saints' first real effort on target came from James Hall in the dying minutes, but his back post header was saved by Scott as he preserved his clean sheet.
St Neots, meanwhile, are yet to beat the Rebels after seven attempts to date.
St Neots Town Line up
Sam Donkin, Dom Mason, Tom Wood, Rogan McGeorge (Dan Hobbs), Tom Ward, Taylor Parr, Claudio Ofosu (Charlie Butt), Peter Clark, James Hall, Dubi Ogbonna, Declan Rogers. Sub Not Used: Alex Archer