Trophy Dream Over

Merthyr Tydfil

Merthyr Tydfil

French (24), Holtham (2-2), Jones (90+2)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Catlin (1-1), Bushay (75)
FA Trophy Attendance: 417 Ansil Bushay
Wembley must wait for another year after the Rebels' FA Trophy dreams came to an unfortunate end in Tuesday night's tangle with Merthyr.

Slough equalled and often surpassed their Conference opponents, and looked to have won the game after strikes from Neil Catlin and Ansil Bushay had put them 2-1 up.

The conditions made for difficult, static play, with few chances created in the drizzly rain. Bushay had the best Rebels chance of the first half on 10 minutes when he powered through the centre and was only stopped by goalkeeper Wager spreading before him.

Preddie's shirt was still without a speck of mud on 24 minutes, as Merthyr took a slipshod and undeserved lead when Rogers' corner found a completely unmarked French, who headed firmly into the corner of the net.

It was a typical Slough goal - having offered Morrys Scott and company virtually nothing, one moment of weakness was to cost dear.

The Rebels suffered from their inability to use the possession which they had the best of. Wager in the home goal had little to do, with West and a rejuvenated Bushay stranded up-front and lacking any breaking support from the overworked midfield.

But the front twosome got the second half off to a more promising start, with the number nine curling one shot round the rain-soaked upright and Bushay seeing a close-range effort cleared off a packed goal-line by Jones.

Little of note had passed by the hour, when Garfield Blackman came on for Tony Dell (who is definitely not a fullback) and was announced as Barry Blackman - the famous Welsh sense of humour shining through again. His arrival was followed closely by a fine save from Preddie, chosen as Trevor Bunting was busy with a new delivery to his family, turning Webley's shot round the post with bravado.

If the Rebels were to score, it was always going to be from an unorthodox route and so it proved. A salvo of long efforts having proved useless, Catlin exerted his enigmatic influence by hitting the target direct from a right-wing corner, aided by Wager's hand and the crossbar.

Two was stretching it a little, even given a marked upturn in Rebel morale and doge efforts from Sayer and West, but two it was on 75 minutes, courtesy of a flash of divine brilliance from the much- improved Bushay. Blackman threaded the ball through to him in a distinctly offside position, but the rest was superb - shimmy round 'keeper, recovery and blasted shot into top corner.

Taking the ineffective Morrys Scott off did wonders for Merthyr and eventually dashed the notion that Slough had somehow rescued hope from the furnace of futility, as a late revival won the Conference side the game.

They equalised when a Preddie parry let in Holtham to fire into the net. Fate was sealed two minutes into injury time by Nathan Jones, screaming in the winner from 30 yards straight into the top corner.

But Tuesday nights will be a lot better without a clutch of Trophy fixtures and Slough can seek solace in an interesting if not rewarding night out.

Little sleep will be lost over this one.

Merthyr Tydfil Lineup


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