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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13

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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Lady Luck Is Laid To Rest

Berkhamsted Town

Berkhamsted Town

Hobbs (36)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Anderson (28 pen), McKinnon (53, 1-3), Donnellan (88)
FA Cup Attendance: 612 Paul McKinnon
There was little problem for Slough in reaching the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup against Berkhamstead. A welcome brace of goals came for Paul McKinnon, who with a little luck could have scored a hatful.

Both Steve Thompson and Phil Burns returned after injury to line up against a side that has had success away from home in the Diadora League division two this season but has yet to take three points from a game on their own ground.

It wasn't hard to see why. Their tiny, compact home is squeezed in between a canal, railway and housing development and the pitch is a rough array of undulating bobbles and divots.

Slough got off to a useful start and McKinnon was unlucky when his tremendous shot cannoned off the bar after just five minutes. He followed up with a shot from a corner that was hooked off the line. From a free kick Darren Anderson saw his header just scrape the post and Thompson turned the home defence inside out only to have his deft chip cleared at the far post.

But Berkhamstead did have their moments and the Slough defence was caught square on more than one occasion, with Burns having to be quick off his line. Just as Slough's early start seemed to have gone to waste, with the midfield ineffective, and the Rebels failing to get behind the home defence, McKinnon was bundled over in the box as he teed up to shoot. Darren Anderson stepped up to crash home the penalty after 28 minutes.

This was the signal for Slough to fade slightly and they paid the price after 36 minutes when Paul Hobbs sent a superb header over Burns from the far post to level the scores.

It was still all square at half time thanks to the woodwork — Thompson's shot hit the bar on the stroke after Gary Donnellan's effort had been blocked.

The turning point came seven minutes into the second half. Colin Fielder's pass took a deflection in to the path of Alan Pluckrose, who raced on to cross the ball to McKinnon and he controlled well to fire the ball home. McKinnon leapt for joy at finally getting the better of lady luck who has prevented him from bagging a host of goals already this season.

The Rebels were now well on top but the final ball into the box often wasn't accurate enough and pressure wasn't converted into goals. But the lead was finally extended when Thompson, too good for Berkhamstead, raced through on the right and picked out McKinnon at the far post who buried the ball in the back of the net.

Now Slough started finding acres of space and Thompson was in his element, but the game slowly died with some poor refereeing and pushing and shoving in midfield. Slough were up to everything that the home side had to offer and were never really in trouble.

And with two minutes remaining as both sides were beginning to look towards the final whistle, Donnellan played a fine one-two with Fielder and crashed home his shot and the job was done.

Berkhamsted Town Lineup


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