Both sides had gone 128 days without a game due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the match to be played behind closed doors at Arbour Park. And although form went out the window due to the long delay, both sides picked up where they left off, with Dartford having been in fine form and Slough having lost their last two games, at home against Hungerford Town and away at Weymouth.
In the end, a poor start to the second half was to cost the Rebels after a tight opening 45 minutes, with the instinctive finishing of Charlie Sheringham doing the damage.
Neil Baker and Jon Underwood would have been the happier of the two management teams at the break, with Dartford having threatened little, whereas Slough missed two presentable chances to open the scoring.
The opening exchanges were predictably even, with Matty Lench unlucky to find his name in the referee’s book after winning the ball in a tackle.
Josh Jackman headed onto the roof of the net from Lench’s cross on 19 minutes, the best opening of the game to that point.
Just three minutes later, Slough went closer still as an unmarked Ryan Bird put a free header just over the bar from another Lench delivery, this time a corner.
It took until the 36th minute for Dartford to get close enough to trouble Jack Turner’s goal, but Tyrique Hyde’s shot from outside the box was wayward.
A minute later, Lee Togwell hooked across a low ball from the left touchline and Warren Harris got in front of his marker, but failed to connect fully with the ball, leaving goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay to gather comfortably.
Things were looking good for Slough at half time, but that quickly unravelled just two minutes into the second period.
Sheringham’s first was a simple finish at the back post as he escaped the attentions of Josh Jackman to finish Jordan Wynter’s low cross.
Just eight minutes later, Sheringham had his second. Elliott Romain’s shot from the edge of the box took a big deflection off Ryan Bird before striking the post and falling kindly for the striker to tap home.
Slough made the first of their five permitted changes with Dan Roberts replacing Lee Togwell, and later Aaron Kuhl and Scott Davies were also introduced as the Rebels tried to reverse the momentum.
But Dartford had a stranglehold on the match, and Romain blazed over the bar from a good position as the visitors looked to extend their lead.
All Slough could offer was a free kick from George Wells, which he curled over the angle of post and bar.
A third goal followed for Dartford five minutes before the end, with substitute Luke Wanadio scoring the goal of the game. With Slough committing players to attack, Wanadio drove towards goal, cutting in from the left before thumping the ball low and hard inside Turner’s near post.
There was still time for Dartford to almost add a fourth, with Bird blocking a strike from Ky Marsh-Brown and Hyde shooting wide when well placed.
The final whistle sounded a few minutes later to leave Slough to reflect on what might have been, after another season of improvement in National League South.
Image: Philip Benton
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jack Turner
- 2 Josh Jackman
- 3 George Wells
- 4 Sam Togwell 15
- 5 Guy Hollis
- 6 Lee Togwell 17
- 7 Max Worsfold 12
- 8 Matthew Lench 14
- 9 Ben Harris
- 11 Warren Harris
- 18 Ryan Bird
Dartford Line up
Alhaji Sesay, Jordan Wynter, Craig Braham-Barrett, Noor Husin (Lee Noble 79), Josh Hill, Tom Bonner (c), Jack Jebb, Tyrique Hyde, Elliott Romain (Ky Marsh-Brown 87), Darren McQueen (Luke Wanadio 82), Charlie Sheringham. Unused substitutes: Preston Edwards, Nick Arnold, Ronnie Vint.