Strong's error puts Town on way out

Maidstone United

Maidstone United

Gregory (38), Silvester (55), Wallace (57)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Gane (3)
FA Trophy Alan Gane
SLOUGH Town, elated when Alan Gane gave them a third minute lead, were destroyed by a tragic error by Richard Strong, whose weak back pass made Maidstone a gift of their second goal and put them on the way to winning Saturday's FA Trophy second round tie.

Centre-back Strong's blunder was one of several errors committed by Slough whose dreams of reaching a Wembley final were completely shattered by a third goal two minutes later. Slough's 'patched up' team had been equal to their task until these two hammer blows. But in the long run it was superior fitness and mobility - rather than football skill - that enabled the Southern League side to gain revenge for last season's Trophy defeat.

Town had got off to the best possible start. Alan Gane, who had his best match for the club this season, gave them a third minute lead by driving the ball low past keeper Dickie Guy after collecting a cross from the left.

Maidstone quickly fought back, but keeper Richard Teale foiled them with some smart saves, while right-back Tim Turl broke up some menacing attacks down the left. It was in the sticky centre of the field where Glenn Coupland was remarkably mobile that most of the danger stemmed, and for some time is was difficult for Slough to build more attacks.

Suddenly, in the 23rd minute, Barrie Friend found a way down the left and set Micky Kiely up with a half chance which he chipped over the head of Guy, only to see the ball drop just over the bar.

Maidstone secured a well deserved equaliser in the 38th minute when John Beyer hesitated and Brian Gregory nipped in to slip the ball between Teale and the near post.

The second-half saw Slough facing a lowering sun for the first 10 minutes. Just after that critical period had passed, Slough unaccountably went to pieces. During recent weeks the Rebels have made a habit of conceding two goals in quick succession and now it happened again.

In the 55th minute, Strong elected to pass back to his goalkeeper, and forgetting about the gluey morass, he underhit the ball which wobbled to a halt just outside the penalty area. Peter Silvester raced onto the dead ball and slipped it past the advancing Teale.

The Rebels had scarcely drawn breath when Kenny Wallace, cutting in from the right, unleashed a tremendous left-foot shot which whistled into the net beyond Teale's reach - a goal worth travelling a long way to see.

It was clearly not to be Slough's day. If another great shot from Alan Gane had gone into the net after beating Guy all ends up in the 61st minute instead of hitting the bar it might have been a different story.

A quarter of an hour from time Strong was just as unfortunate when he hit a fine long shot which slowed in the mud and was stopped by Guy and Kinnear with most - but not all - of the ball over the line.

Two minutes from the end, with Slough committed to attack, Coupland ran clear, only to hit the post, to provide the visitors with the only bit of luck that they were to receive during the match.

Maidstone United Lineup


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