Matt Lench scored a second hat-trick in as many matches following his FA Trophy treble at Kidlington the previous week, the second of which was a beautifully struck shot which arced into the top corner – and from there, the Rebels never looked back and eased their way into the next round, equalling the Club’s best ever run.
Both clubs arrived at The Martin & Co Arena in good form – Gainsborough unbeaten in seven and the Rebels having won 17 of their 21 matches across all competitions so far this season, scoring 59 goals in the process. But the higher-ranked hosts were blown away in the second half, with Slough scoring a further five goals to add to Lench’s opener and could even afford for substitute Gavin James to miss a late penalty.
The early signs were good from Slough – Lench got a shot on target as early as the fourth minute which was saved easily by Henrich Ravas, and the keeper had to be alert again to block from Manny Williams.
The first real chance from either side came on the half hour mark, as Williams got a glancing header to Nathan Smart’s cross which was saved.
Slough deservedly took the lead on 35 minutes. Flood held the ball up for Lench, who danced his way into the box and past a number of challenges before beating Ravas with a low shot into the bottom corner.
The visitors almost added a second with Mark Nisbet firing across goal on the volley from a James Dobson corner.
Seconds after the restart, Lench added his second in spectacular style as he curled the ball into the top corner from around 20 yards after Dobson had been tackled – a stunning goal which sent the hundreds of travelling Rebels supporters into raptures.
Slough were in dreamland just six minutes later. Flood won a physical battle with Nathan Stainfield as the defender failed to deal with Lee Togwell’s ball forward, and Williams capitalised on the loose ball, working his way into the box before teeing up Flood, who stretched to poke the ball beyond Ravas for a third goal.
Gainsborough’s first proper chance was a cross-cum-shot from Craig King which clipped the crossbar.
But the visitors kept pressing, and after putting more chances off target, Williams got the goal his performance deserved on 71 minutes. Togwell was again instrumental, winning a challenge in midfield before taking the ball on and playing the striker in on goal, and he made no mistake, sliding the ball past Ravas.
A rampant Slough added a fifth from an unlikely source – Sean Fraser getting in on the act to score only his fourth goal for the club in 241 appearances as he found an empty net after James Dobson’s shot was parried by Ravas.
Six minutes remained when the Rebels added their sixth goal. Nisbet’s quickly-taken free kick found Fraser in acres of space out wide on the right, and he pulled the ball across for Lench to sweep home his third from around 15 yards.
The hosts looked for a consolation, but were twice denied by Jack Turner – the first a superb reaction save to keep out Bradley Wells’ shot and the second from Nathan Jarman a minute later.
There was still time for James to win a penalty after a shirt-pull from a defender, but the striker sent his spot-kick wide of the goal as the Rebels were denied a seventh at the death.
All eyes will now be on Monday evening’s draw for the Second Round, which will be televised live on BT Sport and BBC 2 from 19:00 – and on this form, nobody will want to be paired with the Rebels.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jack Turner
- 2 Nathan Smart
- 3 George Wells
- 4 Guy Hollis
- 5 Mark Nisbet
- 6 Lee Togwell
- 7 James Dobson 16
- 8 Matthew Lench
- 9 Manny Williams 18
- 10 Chris Flood
- 11 Warren Harris 12
Gainsborough Trinity Line up
Henrich Ravas, Josh Lacey (Bradley Wells 60), Matt Taylor (Alex Simmons HT), Shane Clarke (Jonathan Wafula 60), Nathan Stainfield, Michael Jacklin, Craig King, Jordan Richards, Nathan Jarman (c), Ashley Worsfold, Tom Davie. Unused substitutes: Ellis Storey, Taron Hare, Ioan Evans.