Rebels into playoffs after draw at Chesham

Chesham United

Chesham United

Pearce (1)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Enver-Marum (10)
League Attendance: 508 Mark Nisbet
Slough Town’s participation in the end of season playoffs was confirmed on Monday afternoon with this point at Chesham which, coupled with Banbury United’s defeat at Leamington, means the sixth-placed Oxfordshire club cannot now catch the fifth-placed Rebels.

Jon Underwood and Neil Baker’s side will learn their opponents and venue for the semi-final after they play their final league match against Redditch United at Arbour Park next Saturday, knowing that they could finish third, fourth or fifth in the table.

For Slough’s management duo it is the fourth time they have qualified for the playoffs as managers, twice with the Rebels – who of course won the Division One Central playoff final at Kettering in 2013/14.

The Rebels have not won a league match at The Meadow since August 1994, or any league match against Chesham since April 2000 – a run of nine games which includes seven defeats. That run looked like continuing within a minute of the opening whistle as the hosts took the lead in spectacular fashion.

Out of nothing, Dave Pearce volleyed goalwards from at least 30 yards out and caught Shaun Rowley completely by surprise, the ball sailing over him and into the goal.

The Rebels then had to withstand a spell of constant Chesham pressure. Sam Youngs hit a fierce strike from 20 yards which Rowley fisted away, and the Rebels keeper also made a good save from Ryan Blake.

But Slough worked their way back into the game and on nine minutes Simon Dunn found himself past the last defender and with just Richard Hayward to beat, but the midfielder’s shot lacked the power to beat the veteran keeper.

A minute later though, Slough were level. Gavin James sprinted down the right wing before looking up and crossing into the middle where Liam Enver-Marum powered a header past Hayward from six yards.

The visitors started to work the ball into dangerous areas, and won a number of corner kicks and throw-ins which Guy Hollis launched into the box, almost to good effect. The home side got a vital clearance in to deny Enver-Marum a second as the ball fell to him from one of Hollis’ deliveries.

The Rebels also had a couple of appeals for a spot kick waved away, first against Brett Longden as he and Enver-Marum chased a long ball forward, and later as Mark Nisbet appeared to be manhandled.

Slough continued to look the more likely as the first half wore on, and James Dobson was denied as his shot was turned over by Hayward a minute from the interval.

The visitors started the second half trying to test Hayward, and did so when Dobson swung in an early ball which the keeper did well to fist away with James in a good position.

The game became a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to keep possession for any length of time on a difficult, bumpy pitch. But Slough kept looking for a second and were unlucky not to get it on 61 minutes.

Chesham unsuccessfully claimed a foul against Enver-Marum, and the big striker was able to work his way into the box before pulling the ball across to James in the middle – but the ball bobbled up and hit him on the knee, and bounced over.

Later, a Dobson free kick went all the way through to the back post where Hollis could only head it onto the top of the crossbar.

The home side only threatened rarely, with Slough able to contain their opponents and repel their mostly aerial attacks.

The final whistle sounded and players, management and supporters waited to hear of results elsewhere which eventually came through and confirmed a top five spot for the Rebels.

Chesham United Lineup

Richard Hayward, Benji Crilley (Matt Taylor), Brett Longden, Stephan Hamilton-Forbes, Curtis Ujah, Adam Martin (c), Dave Pearce, Sam Youngs, Ryan Blake, Toby Little, Alex Ward (Danny Talbot). Substitutes not used: Kemani Murray, Maciej Tajs.


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