This tie between two of the strongest sides in their respective divisions was expected by many to be an entertaining contest, and it did not fail to deliver as the 712 supporters in attendance were treated to a great advert for the famous old competition.
The match burst into life early in the second half, after a goalless opening 45 minutes ended in controversy.
Brad Wadkins hit the top of the bar with a lobbed effort in the opening minute and shortly after played a teasing ball into the box which Chris Flood stretched for, but failed to get any contact to.
Both sides demonstrated they are comfortable with the ball at their feet with large passages of possession but chances were few and far between. Dulwich’s Nyren Clunis was denied by Jack Turner on 11 minutes after a short backpass from Sean Fraser had put the keeper in trouble, and big striker Ashley Carew was well off target with one shot before firing another into Turner’s midriff.
The dangerous Dumebi Dumaka also saw a strike held by Turner before later having a goal disallowed by an offside flag.
Slough also had their moments, but despite thoughtful build-up play too often their final ball was lacking and as a result did not register a shot on target in the first half.
On the stroke of half time, Sanchez Ming caught Slough winger Matt Lench with a high boot and referee Stephen Bates decided it warranted a straight red card. The issue is topical at the moment with a number of high-profile cases in the top flight, and after the match joint manager Neil Baker was quick to admit he had some sympathy with Dulwich over the decision.
Slough’s fortunes turned as quickly as the weather at Arbour Park as heavy rain started to fall at the beginning of the second half. Less than 60 seconds had been played when Turner kept out Clunis’ strike with a leg - but the resulting corner was headed firmly past him by Mark Weatherstone to give ten-man Dulwich the lead.
But Slough responded strongly and peppered the Dulwich goal, forcing a series of corners with Simon Dunn twice having efforts deflected wide and Alan Inns also. The pressure told as Brad Wadkins diverted a Flood shot past Preston Edwards to equalise on 53 minutes.
The home side looked the more likely - Dunn clipped the outside of the post with a strike and Edwards pushed over Lee Togwell’s strike after he was expertly found by the head of Flood.
Dulwich, though, started to look comfortable despite being a man light, and Slough made changes to liven things up, with James Dobson and Manny Williams introduced.
But instead it looked as if the Rebels had shot themselves in the foot as they failed to clear and let in Clunis, who fired the ball into the bottom corner on 75 minutes to give Dulwich a lead to hold on to.
Slough’s response needed to be quick - and it was, as three minutes later the all-action Lee Togwell finished neatly with a side-foot volley from Dobson’s cross.
Togwell raced into the net to collect the ball with Slough’s focus now firmly on winning the match and avoiding a replay at Champion Hill on Tuesday evening. And six minutes from time, Dulwich’s resistance was broken as Williams touched Flood’s cross past Edwards to turn the game on its head.
Slough celebrated an eighth consecutive win in all competitions and look forward to Monday lunchtime’s Third Round Qualifying draw. Further good news for the Rebels is that goalkeeper Mark Scott was able to take a place on the bench after being medically cleared to play football, six months and a week after breaking his neck.
“We’ve shown brilliant character to come back twice and then go and win it”, said joint-manager Neil Baker.
“When the side’s as good as Dulwich, the numerical advantage does not always translate into a win, so I’m delighted with the result”.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jack Turner
- 2 Sean Fraser
- 3 George Wells
- 4 Alan Inns
- 5 Mark Nisbet
- 6 Lee Togwell
- 7 Matthew Lench
- 8 Simon Dunn
- 9 Brad Wadkins 18
- 10 Chris Flood
- 11 Warren Harris 16
Dulwich Hamlet Line up
Preston Edwards, Mark Weatherstone, Frazer Shaw, Ibrahim Kargbo, Ricky Hayles, Michael Chambers, Nyren Clunis, Kenny Beanet (c), Dumebi Dumaka (Nana Boakye-Yiadom H/T, replaced by Muhammadhu Faal 82), Ashley Carew (Nathan Ferguson 82), Sanchez Ming. Subs not used: Michael Onouwgun, Quade Taylor, Mohamed Mohamed.