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Sun Jul 19
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The Vanarama National League South
5th
60pts

Late Goals See Rebels Progress In Trophy

| FA Trophy
Slough Town
Friend (26), Evans (46), Thomson o.g. (88), James (90+2)
4 - 2
Bath City
Hayes (17), Adams o.g. (44)
Joe Moloney
Two own-goals in the dying minutes of the match sent Slough Town — who had twice come from behind — to a dramatic victory over Alliance Premier League outfit Bath City in a thrilling FA Trophy first round proper clash at Wexham Park on Tuesday evening.

In the second round the Rebels will be at home to Rossendale United, from the Cheshire County League, on February 6. Rossendale beat Buxton 2-1 on Tuesday evening.

With just two minutes of what had been an absorbing tie remaining both sides and the spectators had virtually accepted that a replay would be required at Bath on Monday evening, with the sides locked together at 2-2.

However, then came one of the most sensational finishes to a game ever seen at Wexham Park.

With 88 minutes gone Slough forced a corner on the left. Dave Russell swung the ball into the heart of the Bath penalty area where it struck the unfortunate Barry Thomson and deflected into the net to put the Rebels ahead for the first time in the game.

And then in the second minute of injury time Thomson's nightmare continued when he helped Slough to a fourth goal which settled the tie once and for all.

A long ball by Russell sent Dylan Evans clear on the right and as he crossed to the unmarked Eggie James, Thomson deflected the ball towards his own goal. Bath goalkeeper Chris Ogden appeared to have prevented the danger, but the ball slipped from his grasp and trickled slowly over the line, with James putting the finishing touches.

On their second half performance Slough just about deserved this splendid victory, in a match which could hardly be described as a classic although it produced virtually non-stop action at both ends and plenty of mistakes in the muddy conditions — which at times were a nightmare for defenders.

Afterwards a delighted Rebels manager Terry Reardon said he was "very pleased with the fight his side showed against a useful Bath team."

"I thought we outfought them over the full 90 minutes and never gave up," commented Reardon.

Reardon was also pleased with the result for the sake of the Slough supporters, many of whom had made the match possible by clearing the pitch of snow on Sunday and Monday.

The Rebels boss felt their efforts had been rewarded by Slough's performance, and he also commented on the tremendous spirit within the club at present.

From the start it became apparent that the heavy conditions and lack of match practice for both sides in recent weeks would effect the standard of football produced.

With just 17 minutes gone Bath made the sort of start they must have dreamt of during their journey up the motorway to Wexham Park. A free kick from Martin Shaw was only headed out to Peter Hayes and from 20 yards he cracked home a fine goal.

However, it took the Rebels just nine minutes to get back on level terms when the tenacious Barry Friend somehow forced his way into the Bath penalty area with the aid of several rather fortunate rebounds off defenders before hooking home a splendid shot past the startled Odgen into the top right hand corner of the net.

Although Bath generally looked the sharper side during the first half, it looked as though the teams would go in level at the interval, before tragedy struck for Slough.

With just a minute of the half left a poor ball by Steve Adams was intercepted and Dave Singleton broke on the right. He crossed into the Slough penalty area and in trying to prevent the danger Adams turned the ball into his own net past the diving Parsons.

But the second half could not have started better for the Rebels when after just 40 seconds they were back on level terms. Friend crossed from the left and as Roy Butler challenged Ogden the ball broke loose and Evans scored from about 10 yards, as the Bath defenders appeared to be waiting for a foul to be given on Ogden.

There then followed a period of quick-fire action at both ends. Bath's prolific striker Graham Withey, who Joe Moloney marshalled superbly throughout, missed two fine chances while Rowan Dodds went desperately close at the other end.

With 15 minutes left James replaced Butler and this certainly brought new life to the Slough attack as the Rebels' substitute immediately posed an added threat to the Bath defence.

As the match entered the dying minutes both sides looked somewhat weary as the pitch became heavier and their lack of recent match practice began to tell.

And when with three minutes left Dave Palmer miraculously hooked what looked a certain goal from Dodds off the line everybody had virtually accepted a replay.

But then came the dramatic final stages to a memorable match which sent the Slough supporters home dreaming of a possible place in the Trophy final in May — although there is a long way to go yet!

Bath City Line up

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