In what was a predominately tetchy and scrappy affair, left back Ben Walster’s well struck free kick just after half time was the difference.
Slough’s joint manager Jon Underwood summed up the game after the final whistle.
“We (Slough) were nowhere near the levels we have set ourselves today”, said Underwood. “We were flat and they (Hitchin) were organised and very solid”.
The first half saw little goal mouth action for either team but it was Hitchin who started much the brighter with Matt Lench, Robbie Burns and Kane Smith all going close in the opening minutes.
Despite that, it was Slough who nearly led against the run of play when dead ball specialist James Dobson saw his free kick rebound off the post with Elijah Adebayo not able to control the rebound.
It was Lench who was to have Hitchin’s best chance of the half, as he latched onto Dan Hicks’ short back pass and rounded Mark Scott but hit the side netting with the empty net at his mercy.
Hitchin had dominated the first period with a high tempo, pressing game which was putting the Rebels off their usual stride. Callum Donnelly was their main man in this regard, never giving the home side a moment’s respite and proving a constant menace in the centre of midfield, a tactic which continued into the second half.
The winning goal came four minutes after the restart as Hitchin won a free kick on the edge of the area and Walster did what Dobson had failed to do earlier and scored from the set piece, curling the ball across Scott and in off the far post.
After the goal, Slough limited the visitors to mainly long range attempts, but failed to create any real chances themselves. This was until injury time when suddenly the home side started to trouble the Hitchin backline.
First, Dobson’s whipped cross was met by keeper Scott, up from the back, but his header was cleared off the line.
From the resulting corner, the ball fell to substitute Lewis Putman who drilled through a crowd of players only to see Johnson turn the ball round the post just when it looked like it was creeping in.
Even deeper into added time, Charlie Moone saw another header cleared off the line but in truth an equaliser would have flattered the disappointing Rebels.
Hitchin Town Line up
Michael Johnson, Will Wright, Ben Walster, Josh Bickerstaffe, Dan Webb (c), Lewis Rolfe, Kane Smith, Callum Donnelly (Liam Brooks 81), Lucas Kirkpatrick, Robbie Burns (Brett Donnelly 88), Matt Lench. Subs not used: Josh Coley, Mason Spence, Michael King.