Late winner puts Rebels into FA Cup First Round

Slough Town

Slough Town

Haddow (2), Hodges (16), Wilkinson (88)
Salisbury City

Salisbury City

Matthews (6), Wallace (68)
FA Cup Attendance: 1195 Steve Daly
A bumper crowd of 1,195 saw Slough Town secure a place in the FA Cup First Round with a hard fought 3-2 victory against Salisbury City.

Unlikely hero Darron Wilkinson scored two minutes from time to send the Rebels’ fans wild after first half goals from Alex Haddow and Ian Hodges had been cancelled out by two Salisbury strikes.

Fans were still entering Stag Meadow as late as the half time interval for this eagerly awaited clash but even those arriving just a few minutes after kick-off would have missed a frenetic start to the match in which both teams scored inside the first five minutes.

With only two minutes on the clock a free kick was harshly awarded for a foul on Darron Wilkinson 20 yards from goal and Alex Haddow curled an exquisite left foot shot around the wall and into the bottom corner to silence the large travelling Salisbury support.

Their silence didn’t last long however as they were back on level terms within three minutes. A searching pass down the Slough right was not dealt with by Josias Carbon, which allowed the ball to be collected and laid back. As the cross was curled into the area, Robert Matthews climbed higher than the retreating Slough defenders to plant a firm header down and into the net past Jake Whincup.

Slough were lucky to remain in front after a series of goalmouth scrambles with Whincup struggling to command his area amongst the tall Salisbury forwards so it was against the run of play when the Rebels regained the lead after 16 minutes. A corner on the left was played towards the penalty spot with pinpoint accuracy by Glen Harris and was met by Ian Hodges to power the ball past Kevin Sawyer with a bullet header.

As the half wore on the Rebels began to defend deeper into their own half, which tested the nerves of their supporters although more was to follow in the second half.

It was not too much of a surprise that Salisbury were fired up at the start of the second half although Slough fans would have been disappointed at the way their team sat back and invited the visitors on.

A number of good chances were wasted with poor finishing so it was no real shock when City equalised although when they did it came from a generous refereeing decision. A long throw into the Rebels’ penalty area was flicked on and the ball struck Wilkinson high on the upper arm. Despite Slough protests that it was ball to hand rather than the other way round the spot kick was awarded and Adam Wallace stroked the ball to Whincup’s left as he went the other way.

Most Rebels fans feared the worst at that point as the visitors had been in the ascendancy for long periods before their equaliser although it was the home side that responded better to the Salisbury goal, mounting a greater number of attacks than at any point during the second half. In one of those, Christian Metcalfe was cautioned for contesting a fifty-fifty ball in the penalty area that resulted in an injury and him being replaced by Matt Seedel shortly after.

At this point Slough had already brought on Veli Hakki for Ryan Spencer although the midfielder was later substituted himself after seemingly injuring his ankle with Danny Steer entering the fray for the final ten minutes.

Slough were denied a clear penalty for a foul on Ian Hodges as both sides pushed for a winner although it was the home side that finally settled the tie with a goal two minutes before the end of normal time.

Josias Carbon collected a ball on the edge of the Salisbury box and jinked one way then the other trying to find space for a shot. Unable to find a way past the massed Salisbury defence he laid the ball off to Glen Harris who had similar trouble getting a clear sight of goal. As Rebels’ fans behind the goal urged someone to shoot, Carbon collected the ball again just outside the six-yard box, almost sitting on it as he tried to fend off challenges. Managing to get the ball out from under his feet, he found Darron Wilkinson with a clever back heel and the left foot shot from the veteran midfielder spun into the net via the outstretched hand of Kevin Sawyer.

Slough had to endure five minutes of added time in which Wayne Turk inexplicably missed an open goal which would have levelled the tie for a third time and from the resulting goal kick the referee signalled the end of the game amid joyous scenes from both Rebels’ fans and players alike.

The celebrations were made even sweeter in the knowledge that Paul Merson’s League One side, Walsall, would be the next FA Cup opponents in a game which all Slough fans hope will be staged at Stag Meadow.

Salisbury City Lineup


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