Rebels defeated in season opener at Maidstone

Maidstone United

Maidstone United

Wanju-Smith (pen 37), Greenidge (61)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Goddard (34)
League Attendance: 1978
Ten-man Slough started the 2023/24 season in defeat with a difficult 2-1 loss to Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium, writes David Tancred.
The Rebels nearly got off to the perfect start as Matt Lench whipped in a corner towards Tyrese Dyce, who didn’t get a clean connection with the header and the ball eventually went out for a goal kick. 
In the 23rd minute, Sam Corne had a long-range effort which went way over the bar. 
Maidstone continued their pressure with Hubert Graczyk being forced into a save in the 25th minute, with the cross evading everyone in the box and being dealt with by the Slough keeper.  
Jeanmal Prosper almost gave Slough the lead in the 29th minute after a long-range effort left newly-signed goalkeeper Lucas Covolan scrambling with the ball going just past the post.  
Johnny Goddard gave the Rebels the lead in the 34th minute, after brilliant work from the Slough attacker saw him drift past several players before his shot was deflected into the back of the net.  
Unfortunately for Slough, the lead was short-lived after the referee deemed a handball was committed by Jeanmal Prosper in the Slough penalty area, which allowed Sol Wanjau-Smith to convert from the spot, sending Graczyk the wrong way.  
Dan Bayliss got an important block in the 53rd minute to deny Wanjau-Smith from close range. 
But then Dan Bayliss was sent off a minute later after the referee alleged that the centre-back had tripped Wanjau-Smith, and as last man received a straight red card.  
Slough tried to reorganise, with striker Tom McElroy sacrificed in favour of Gabe George but in the 61st minute, Stones took the lead through defender Reiss Greenidge. After his first header was saved on the line by Graczyk, the rebound fell to Greenidge again with the ball going in at second time of asking.  
In response, Rebels threw on veteran striker Jefferson Louis in an attempt to get back into the game and Slough nearly got an equaliser in the 72nd minute. Matt Lench whipped a corner into Joe Dandy whose header was deflected out for another corner. 
Slough came close late on as in the 84th minute, Gabe George whipped in a free kick which was headed out by Maidstone. The rebound fell to Matt Lench, who drilled the ball first time on the volley only to see it cleared off the line.  
Despite the defeat, the Rebels put in a valiant effort in the game with both sides having periods on top in the game - however the red card denied the Rebels many more attacking opportunities. 
Slough will look to turn their fortunes around at Arbour Park against Dover Athletic next Saturday in our opening home match of the new season.

Image: Helen Cooper

Maidstone United Lineup

Lucas Covolan, Gavin Hoyte, Reiss Greenidge, George Fowler, Raphe Brown, Sam Corne, Sol Wanjau-Smith, Lamar Reynolds, Ogo Obi, Liam Sole, Conor Kelly. Substitutes: Chi Ezennolim, Razzaq Coleman De-Graft, Devonte Aransibia, Harley Earle, Levi Amantchi.


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