Rough Justice

Slough Town

Slough Town

R. Dodds (88)
Kettering Town

Kettering Town

Fee (47), Smith (80)
FA Trophy Attendance: 870 Devon Petty
Slough Town’s Wembley dreams were swept away in this bruising FA Trophy clash on Saturday as they fell victims of a highly professional Kettering performance.

Gola League Kettering came to Wexham Park to do a job in this second round clash and not even a typical Slough cup fighting dis-play was good enough to upset David Needham's disciplined outfit.

But on reflection the Rebels have every reason to feel they should have been in Monday's third round draw. They dominated large periods of a typical cup tie but when they most needed that little bit of luck which can swing big matches it deserted them.

In a pulsating second half the Rebels had four chances desperately cleared off the line and when Rowan Dodds did finally score in the 88th minute it came just too late to save Slough's Trophy dreams.

Speaking after the match Rebels boss Howard Kennedy said: "You can't be too disappointed as we played exceptionally well today and we didn't get what we deserved. But in two weeks’ time all everyone will remember is that we lost 2-1. However, on the bright side you could not have asked for a better performance from the side.“

Kennedy went on: "For such an important match it was a brave team to pick. Devon Petty had the best game I have ever seen him play for Slough Town at left back and Steve Playle did exceptionally well in midfield against their best player. “

And Kennedy added: "But I think we really missed Jeff Bateman today, because had he played I don't think Kettering would have had a kick."

With star defender Jeff Bateman and Tony Knight cruelly ruled out through injury Kennedy, gambled by playing Petty at left back and brought Playle into the midfield. David O’Flaherty and Terry Glynn were cup tied.

Slough had an early scare when Jim Kabia blocked Derek Harris' clearance and then shot wide but soon Kenny Wilson was setting about tormenting the Kettering defence.

With Slough's midfield battling superbly and the defence looking sound they were always in with a chance but although Kettering created few openings they looked a side that always knew exactly what they were doing.

Twice Harris caused aflutter when he sliced the ball over his own bar but the clearest opening came Slough's way on 41 minutes. Keith White, Playle and Jimmy Jacobs contrived a delightful move which ended with the ball at Jimmy Brown's feet some yards from goal. He shot instantly, but Mark Harrison was equally quick to react and made a brilliant save with his legs to foil Brown.

However, with the second half less than two minutes old Kettering struck a vital blow. Richard Dawson swung in a free kick and big central defender Greg Fee sent a powerful low header crashing into the net.

Slough now really turned on the pressure and they were desperately unlucky when in the space of four minutes twice Rowan Dodds saw efforts scrambled off the line with Dawson on the second occasion first crashing the ball against his own post.

Kettering started to resort to some crude tactics as play became increasingly physical, and Wilson was a particular target as time and again he was clinically chopped down.

Ian Crawley, Dawson and Ian Wood were all booked while Wilson also got himself cautioned when his patience finally ran out and he retaliated.

Still Slough surged forward and they missed a golden chance on 76 minutes. Wilson's thunderous shot was not held by Harrison but when a goal looked certain the ball bounced off Brown's knee and went harmlessly across the goal.

Then in the 80th minute disaster struck for the Rebels. Crawley's shot was deflected by Harris onto the post and with Chris Way rooted to the ground there was Mark Smith to score the simplest of goals from close range.

But that wasn't the end of the drama and after substitute Jim Hartridge had seen Steve Hines scramble his shot off the line on 88 minutes Dodds gave the Rebels a desperate lifeline. He neatly controlled Jacobs' cross from the right and then shot low past the diving Harrison into the corner of the net.

Kabia became the fourth Kettering player booked for kicking the ball away as referee Derek Daughtery added to the tension by playing an extra seven minutes, added on for injuries and time wasting.

And during that time Slough's bad luck was finally summed up when Kettering again scrambled the ball off the line as Dodds and Hartridge tried to force home Wilson's cross.

So Slough went out of the Trophy but the side were a revelation on recent performances. Howard Kennedy could not have asked for more from his team on the day; Petty was superb at left back while the midfield showed bite and drive and up front Wilson, Dodds and Brown finally formed a threatening partnership which always kept the Kettering defence on tenterhooks.

Kettering Town Lineup


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