The result is a disappointing start to 2017 for the Rebels, who will hoping to maintain their good form from the first half of the season and push for a playoff spot, in front of a bumper crowd. But on today’s evidence, Chesham United look well equipped to push for the top five positions themselves.
Chesham attacked from the off, and Matt Taylor brought a low save out of Mark Scott in the opening minute. Two minutes later, Warren Harris was almost set clear by Gavin James for Slough, but Chesham keeper Ashley Jones saved at the winger’s feet.
The open start to the match continued with Dave Pearce’s driven cross being held by Scott at the second attempt, and in the 12th minute a vital interception from Mat Mitchel-King took the ball away from Lee Togwell as the ball almost fell to him in the box.
Togwell then tried to lob Jones from over 40 yards out, but the keeper was able to back-pedal and catch the ball under the crossbar.
The opening goal came on 21 minutes courtesy of James, but owed much to the trickery of James Dobson out on the left wing. Dobson beat two defenders and drove into the box, where he teed up Togwell for a strike. Jones could only parry the shot, and James made no mistake, firing the rebound into the roof of the net.
Chesham looked to respond quickly, and on 27 minutes Ryan Blake blazed over the bar from a good position after Barry Hayles won possession, whilst four minutes later, Brad Wadkins headed a deep cross from Pearce off target.
Slough generally had the better of the play in the first half though, and Simon Dunn fired in a strike from 25 yards which Jones held, and the keeper also fielded a low effort from Harris.
Chesham went close to levelling at the very end of the first half, but veteran striker Hayles failed to make contact with a ball into the box.
Slough will regret not doubling their lead from a Dobson corner kick in the 51st minute, as first Mark Nisbet saw a header cleared by the post, and the loose ball was headed goalward by Dunn, but Brett Longden was on hand to head the ball off the line on the other side of the goal.
Three minutes later, Chesham drew level, as the evergreen Hayles nipped in between Nisbet and Dan Hicks to head home a Pearce cross after a quickly-taken corner kick caught Slough cold.
And just two minutes after that, The Generals completed a quick-fire double and took the lead with Pearce finishing from close range after Wadkins’ shot was not dealt with.
Having looked relatively in control, Slough looked shell-shocked by this response from Chesham, and struggled to offer much in the visitors’ defensive third. Chris Flood was frustrated by the experienced defensive pairing of Mitchel-King and Darren Purse – who earlier suffered a bloodied nose in a collision with the striker - throughout, but he managed to squeeze in a shot which was easily saved.
Jones turned behind a fierce strike from Dobson and Slough thought they had equalised when Hicks connected with a Harris cross, but he headed the ball wide.
Chesham looked in no mood to surrender their lead, and Slough’s efforts were in vain as the Generals’ back four stood firm against both ground and aerial attacks, with the game becoming increasingly scrappy.
Sean Fraser, who would have loved to celebrate a better result on his 200th appearance for the club, got in a low cross which substitute Charlie Moone could only mishit off target, and deep into stoppage time Moone had one final chance which Jones held to make sure of the three points for his side.
Chesham United Line up
Ashley Jones, Benji Crilley, Brett Longden, Mat Mitchel-King, Darren Purse (c), Adam Martin, Dave Pearce, Matt Taylor, Barry Hayles, Brad Wadkins, Ryan Blake. Substitutes: Toby Little, Sam Youngs, Stephen Hamilton-Forbes, Taylor McKenzie, Shaun Reece.