So Near Yet So Far

Slough Town

Slough Town

Dodds (16), White (36)
Aylesbury United

Aylesbury United

Botterill (42), Hercules (80)
FA Cup Attendance: 1071 Jimmy Jacobs
The menacing figure of Aylesbury United strong man Cliff Hercules came between Slough Town and FA Cup glory at Wexham Park on Saturday.

There were just ten minutes left when the tall figure of Hercules sped out of the winter gloom like a bad nightmare for the Rebels defence. He took the ball in his stride and crashed it past Graham Cox and Slough's celebrations were back on ice.

On their way to this first round clash Slough have got themselves out of some tricky situations but on this occasion they were the victims or a great escape act by Aylesbury.

When brilliantly contrived and finished off goals were scored by Rowan Dodds and Keith White inside the first 38 minutes everything looked so good for Howard Kennedy's cup fighters.

But just when Slough seemed set to discover Aylesbury's escape tunnel and keep them imprisoned for the rest of the match a flaw appeared in their security system.

David Botterill's free kick on 42 minutes found its way through Slough's badly formed wall and suddenly the Ducks were flying again and this was the turning point in the match.

Even then Slough always looked the more dangerous side until Aylesbury's final fling resulted in Hercules' saving goal and an anxious ten minutes for the Rebels. But it wasn't all gloom for Rebels boss Howard Kennedy, who after the match said: "I am not that disappointed at least we're in the second round draw. We started really well but at the end I suppose I was thankful not to lose the game.

Kennedy continued: "The two goals they scored were gifts from us and they were the only two chances they had up to that point as they never really looked like scoring. We played well in the first half and scored two super goals and deserved one more at least. But then to give away a goal like we did just before half time was pathetic. Someone moved in the wall and I know who it was but I am not saying", said the Rebels boss.

Slough started as if they really meant business and on 12 minutes came so close to making a stunning start. Devon Petty pushed the ball through and Dodds' poked shot just beat the advancing Keith Baker only for Paul Saunders to race back and desperately clear off the line.

But Dodds was back to his best and four minutes later Slough were celebrating the early goal they badly wanted. Jimmy Jacobs received White's corner short and sent over a punishing cross which Dodds met with a bullet like header from 12 yards out: his fingertips to the ball he could only push it against the crossbar and then watch as it dropped into the net.

Slough couldn't have asked for a better start and they certainly made the most of it. Jeff Bateman and Tony Knight bagged up Aylesbury's terrible twosome of Hercules and Cliff Campbell while in the middle of the park Jacobs had the battle in hand as he stifled the Ducks' attempts to create anything constructive.

The goal which should have killed off Aylesbury then came on 38 minutes. Kenny Wilson crossed to the far post and from what looked an almost impossible angle White sent a superb diving header crashing into the net.

But four minutes later Slough gave away the kind of goal which can win and lose big games. Minutes earlier Graham Cox made a superb save to foil Botterill's shot but, on this occasion he was helpless as the midfield man's 22 yard free kick sailed through the Rebels badly formed wall and into the corner of the net.

The second half almost started sensationally for the Rebels. Within 30 seconds Dodds broke through and his cross found White who, then saw his goal bound shot somehow blocked away by Peter Head and Devon Petty headed the loose ball wide.

Referee Ian Hemley, did a superb job in handling Aylesbury's rugged tactics but the game gradually became a dour struggle and Saunders joined colleague Kevin James in the book after 62 minutes when he halted the lively Jacobs in his tracks.

Minutes later it was Paul Hackett's turn to be booked and then Petty was cautioned for kicking the ball away. Slough were still well in control of things and when Jacobs burst through only Baker's awareness saved the day. However, the ball broke to Dean Woodley but with Baker some 30 yards off his line he waited too long to shoot and with the danger passed it was White who finally fired in wide.

However, as the game entered its last 15 minutes suddenly the Slough panic" button started to ring. The midfield lost their competitive edge and the defence became ragged and looked suspect under pressure.

And with 80 minutes on the clock Aylesbury completed their escape act, as Kingstonian had been allowed to do in the previous round. Substitute Neil Pronger played the ball through and there was Hercules displaying all his power as he got in behind the static Slough defence and rifled a shot past the helpless Cox.

Suddenly it was a different ball game and in a frantic last ten minutes in which Ramo Bougoneau was booked for a foul on Dodds Slough completely lost their composure and had to hang on grimly to take the battle to Tring Town on Tuesday evening.

Aylesbury United Lineup

Baker, Mead, James, Saunders, Bougoneau, Hackett, Botterill, Coffill, Hercules, Campbell, Shrieves (Pronger 66 mins).


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