Rebels slip to last-gasp opening day defeat

Slough Town

Slough Town

Dorking Wanderers

Dorking Wanderers

Briggs (90+5)
League Attendance: 874 Jack Turner
Slough fell to an opening day defeat in National League South, with Matt Briggs scoring the winner in the dying seconds.

The first chance of the season came to Matt Lench, whose shot from distance was pushed wide by Slavomir Huk, conceding a corner. A minute later a long throw from Guy Hollis found his defensive partner Sam Togwell unmarked but his header went just over the bar.

Despite a bright start from Slough, it would be Dorking who dominated much of the first half. Matt Briggs - who had been on trial with Slough in pre-season - quickly made the most of his mismatch playing against Simon Dunn at left back. The quick winger turned Dunn inside out before firing a low shot at Jack Turner which was well saved with his feet.

On 15 minutes a dangerous corner from Lench flew across the six yard box just pleading for a touch, but it never came. Slough kept up the pressure for a few minutes and Ben Harris closed down a clearance from Huk but the ball went wide.

Twenty-three minutes in, Dorking created a great chance to take the lead. A long cross found Jason Prior unmarked to head back across to James McShane who was in space himself, and hit a low shot forcing Turner into another fine save low with his feet. A few moments later Briggs broke free down the right and chose to cross rather than shoot, however, the ball evaded McShane.

McShane went close again on 34 minutes but his shot hit the wrong side of the post, before Slough had the best chance of the half. Max Worsfold linked up with his previous Maidenhead teammate, Ryan Bird who got a touch ahead of the onrushing Huk, but his header wasn’t strong enough and Sami El-Abd was able to clear off the line.

One final chance fell for Prior before the half time whistle, which was warmly welcomed by the Rebels.

Able to reset in the second half, Warren Harris drove at the defence and made some space to shoot but a late tackle blocked the ball out for a corner.

The game then settled before the first moment of controversy. On 57 minutes Lench pushed forward before trying his luck from 30 yards. His shot however was blocked by El-Abd who appeared to stick his right arm out with the ball hitting his forearm somewhere near the edge of the box. Obvious shouts for hand ball were waved away by referee Richardson, who said the ball hit the defender’s shoulder. If only we had VAR!

Neil Baker and Jon Underwood then decided to make their first change replacing Ben Harris with Francis Amartey. All of a sudden, the team and the fans had a buzz and a sense the game would turn in their favour, and it did.

Lench did well to escape his guards and find a low cross which was cleared by El-Abd, with Bird lurking just behind like a vulture to tap in to an empty net. A minute later Sam Togwell was again unmarked from a long Hollis throw in, but just like earlier his header went narrowly over the bar.

Slough were now in full control but couldn’t quite create the chance to take the lead. But on 86 minutes a ball forward from Dorking left Sam Togwell exposed and forced to commit a foul to prevent a one-on-one. The experienced defender was rightly shown his second yellow of the game and left the Rebels down to ten men.

Arguably Dorking should have been down to ten themselves a few moments earlier as Ed Harris cynically brought down Warren Harris on a counter-attack whilst already on a booking.

Five minutes of added time were added and in the fifth Dorking controversially took the lead.

A long ball over the Slough defence found Briggs through on goal. The assistant referee raised his flag which caused the Slough players to stop – but Briggs carried on though and as he shot the linesman lowered his flag now deciding he wasn’t offside. Dorking celebrated the winning goal whilst Slough complained in vain.

A disappointing start to the season for Slough, who must now quickly put it behind them before Tuesday evening’s trip to Hungerford.

Report: Will Tuck

Dorking Wanderers Lineup

Slavomir Huk, Edward Harris (Sam Beard 71), David Ray, Sami El-Abd (c), Niall McManus, Jason Prior, James McShane (Isaac Philpot 77), Jake Gallagher (Giuseppe Sole 62), Matthew Briggs, Luke Moore, Tom Richards. Unused substitutes: Jerry O’Sullivan, Ben Dyett.


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