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The Vanarama National League South
11th
62pts

Imber Mistake Caps Late Comeback From Wanderers

| B&B Senior Cup
Att: 562
Wycombe Wanderers
McCarthy (47), Skiverton (80, pen), Patton (82)
3 - 2
Slough Town
Brazil (55), Nolan (62)
Gary Brazil
Slough Town's hopes of finishing a trying season on a happy note were ended on Tuesday night when old foes Wycombe Wanderers produced a late rally to knock the Rebels out of the Berks and Bucks Cup.

The spirit gained from their last two league performances was there to see as Slough responded to Paul McCarthy's 47th minute strike to take the lead through Gary Brazil and Tony Nolan. At that point, the storyline seemed to be written. A semi-final against Aylesbury, with Cliff Hercules playing against the club he scored nearly 300 goals for, with a final at Wexham Park to aim for.

But the Nationwide League side had other ideas, Terry Skiverton levelling from the penalty spot with 10 minutes to go before a goalkeeping error from Noel Imber gifted Aaron Patton the winner two minutes later. The fixture was a throwback to the classic Conference duels of the early 90s, so it was disappointing to see a crowd of just 562 watch the Rebels pursue their last chance of silverware.

Blues boss John Gregory played a team sprinkled with the club's youth talent, but built around the backbone of former Brighton skipper McCarthy, midfield warhorse Brian McGorry and former Aston Villa striker David Farrell. Brian McDermott countered with the experienced midfield trio of Mark Fiore, Andy Clement and Gary Blackford, though all three would be withdrawn before the end.

The Blues played some tidy stuff in the opening 45 minutes, but it was Slough who forced the chances, with Dominic Barclay forging himself two openings in quick succession, but unable to mix power with accuracy. The best chance fell to Gary Blackford shortly before he was substituted on the half hour, when keeper John Cheesewright spilled the catch from Skiverton's skied clearance, but Alan Becton was on the line to block Blackford's sharply-taken effort.

However it was the Blues who took the lead just after the interval when Maurice Harkin pulled inside Michael Murphy to deliver a low cross into the six-yard box which McCarthy crashed home first time.

The Rebels didn't lose their composure, and with the extra space that was becoming available finally found time to spring the offside trap that Wycombe had been tinkering dangerously with in the first 45 minutes. It was a ball over the top in the 55th minute from Garry Smart that did the trick, Gary Brazil racing clear to strike confidently past Cheesewright.

Seven minutes later the Rebels were ahead, after Gary Wraight dragged Mark Fiore down five yards in front of the penalty box. The sting was taken out of Andy Clement's free-kick, but with the ball bouncing temptingly in the box, it was Nolan who thumped it into the roof of the net on the half volley to open his senior account for the Rebels in style.

The goal will no doubt be a confidence booster for the youngster as he seeks to fill the void left by Rob Smith's nine-month absence with knee ligament problems. The Rebels defence were capably dealing with Wycombe's attempt at a late rally until 10 minutes from time, when it appeared that the linesman and referee had different views over a trip on Farrell.

Referee Philips eventually pointed to the penalty spot, and while the Slough players were stunned by the sequence of events, Skiverton made no mistake from the spot. And before the Rebels could re-group, it was all over, in disappointing fashion for young keeper Imber who had made an encouraging performance on Saturday at Telford.

Anthony Clark's pass seemed to have too much pace for Aaron Patton to reach, but as Imber slid down to smother the ball, it bounced off his chest and fell perfectly for Patton to side-foot in from a narrow angle.

The Rebels appear to be returning to full health in the Conference, but any defeat to Wycombe means that for most Rebels fans, the diet of bitter pills will continue.

Wycombe Wanderers Line up

Cheeseright, Harkin, Patton, McCarthy, Hall, Beeton, Wraight, McGorry, Farrell, Allen, Skiverton. Subs: Clark (for Allen, 68), Rowlands, Baird.

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