Lee red ruins Rebels night



Williams (60), Bass (70), Carey (3-2)
Slough Town

Slough Town

West (15, 68)
B&B Senior Cup Attendance: 525 Mark West
The needless 88th minute sending-off of Brian Lee overturned two Mark West strikes and sent the Rebels out of the Berks & Bucks Cup at Reading's hands on Tuesday.

Lee - already booked for an earlier challenge became the third Slough player to be dismissed in four matches after pulling Michael Meaker's shirt as a high ball was played over their heads, leaving the defence helplessly exposed as the game went into extra time.

The Conference visitors had done enough to be quietly confident of victory before the incident, with their first division hosts' makeshift defence - which included player-manager and striker by trade Jimmy Quinn and Wexham Park reject Michael Thorpe, always a step behind play.

The closure of three-quarters of the ground to fans ensured a lack of atmosphere which - when added to the traditional lack of excitement associated with the competition - made for a battle of nerves between the two sides.

The Rebels had seemed more prepared and committed at first - West gave them the lead on 15 minutes when he stooped low to head in Cliff Hercules' nod from Lee's cross, and they held out for another half-hour against a Stuart Lovell-led front-line which was far from reserve team fare.

Indeed, had Ansil Bushay not typically fluffed a perfect chance when set up by West's square ball, who knows what might have happened? West also stabbed Baron's flick-on straight into Shepherd's arms and put another over, but Chuck Moussadik was kept well awake by a Quinn curler which was heading in at the far post before he uncoiled like a spring to put it wide.

Reading stirred into life 30 minutes before the dressing room beckoned for the break. Williams was allowed to steal his way all along the left touchline, and finished a solo move by sidefooting low under Moussadik's body.

The Rebels, however, were quickly up off the ropes. Eight minutes later and West showed why he is the most deadly finisher by far in non-league football, as Andy Clement's punt released him. Two defenders stood off in awe, he ran his way into the area and then rifled in a shot which owed most of its success to its power but a little to Shepherd's sloppy keeping.

Urgency wasn't top of the Royals' priorities at this point, and they took their time coming back. Alan Paris - moved to central midfield to squeeze the ineffective Steve Bateman and Lee Harvey into the back-line - showed the way masterfully in his new role and even Bushay was able to round the defence, before shooting wide of the post.

But when Slough decided to begin playing for time with 20 minutes left, they risked more than they could afford. Bass was left unmarked from the edge of the area, and finished well.

Then Lee went and so did hope. Moussadik's save from Meaker in the final minute brought about the extra period, but shortly afterwards he was beaten as Carey's lofty cross from 25 yards out flew over the attack and straight into the corner.

Clement had to clear another off the line and a Quinn header required an agile save, while Carey even missed an open goal after Moussadik had unwisely advanced to the halfway line to help the attack.

The only consolation is the knowledge that a wet Tuesday night in Abingdon has been avoided, but with Lee now facing a suspension to add to those already imposed on midfielders Neil Catlin, Mark Pye and Clement, that is little to get excited about.

Reading Lineup


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