Off the back of a 9-0 drubbing at AFC Wimbledon and having gone six games without a goal, Slough came up against play off chasing Margate and could have expected another humbling but were unlucky not to have come away with their first win since October. Facing up against the leagues top scorer, Danny Hockton, Slough were always going to be up against it but they got the bit of luck some of their performances have deserved, yet missed, and got themselves a respectable 2-2 draw, having led twice.
All of the notable action came in the second half where three red cards were shown, two being for the visitors, and all four goals coming in the last third of the game.
Whilst the first half may have been without goals, both sides had their chances and Slough certainly started the better of the two sides. Rav Braith fired wide after ten minutes and Lucas Bizon setup George Moleski a minute later, but the midfielder shot well over from 25 yards.
Hockton then had his first sight of goal but doesn't catch the ball cleanly and Carl Dennison was able to gather comfortably with James Pinnock in close proximity should the keeper have let anything get away from him. Slough were able to get a lot more of the ball in the opposition half than has been seen in recent games and it allowed them more attacking influence, with Matt Miller being the primary outlet for many of the Slough attacks.
The two sides continued to exchange chances without really testing the opposing keeper before a good old goal mouth scramble in the Margate box saw two Miller efforts blocked before the ball was finally put out for a corner. Jimmy Jackson first narrowly wide with 27 minutes gone, and the Gate winger brought the best out of Dennison eight minutes later as his effort which was destined for the top corner was plucked from the air by Dennison.
Margate were close to opening the scoring with three minutes to play in the halves best chance. Jay Saunders is put through and he cut inside from the left, hitting a low drive across goal. Rebels captain Steve Daly got a block in, managing to deflect the ball onto the post and the ball bounced clear. From the resulting clearance, Terry Davies pulled a fine save from Charlie Mitten to round out the half, cutting in from the left wing and curling an effort towards the far post but the Margate keeper was equal to it, pushing it wide for a corner.
Slough started the second half brightly with Davies cutting inside from the left before firing over and should have taken the lead with four second half minutes player. Miller found space in behind Pat Sappleton and just before striking his shot and unfortunate bobble from the uneven pitch saw him skew his effort wide when well placed. Davies saw another effort go just wide as Slough looked lively in the opening five minutes of the half. Margate changed things up with Rob Haworth replacing Lee Protheroe after 55 minutes and Saunders had two good efforts in the next three minutes, but neither effort was on target.
The pitch again played its part as Danny Jeffries lined up a shot having been played in by Davies but his effort also went wide. Perhaps learning from their earlier skewed opportunities, the Rebels took to the air and Steve Daly went agonisingly close to putting the Rebels in front with a headed effort, Davies again the provider this time from a free kick.
The unthinkable happened on 62 minutes. Slough scored! And took the lead!
Miller receiving the ball well outside the area let fly and left Mitten with little chance and sent the Slough supporters into raptures. They had indeed remembered what it was like to celebrate a goal and this was their first after 635 minutes of football since Terry Davies scored against Tonbridge.
The lead was short lived however as Hockton provided a demonstration of his goal scoring prowess. Winning a physical battle with Daly, the lethal striker ran through and lifted the ball over an advancing Dennison from a narrow angle to restore parity to the score line with 69 minutes played. Prior to this, Miller had a chance to double the Slough lead but had shot just over.
With fifteen minutes left to play came the flash point of the half which resulted in George Moleski and Jay Saunders shown the red card. Lloyd Dennison crossed from the right, the ball was half cleared to Jeffries who shot wide. Something prompted a mass brawl which involved all the players from both sides and resulted in both team restarting with a player less.
Margate's task was made more difficult when Sappleton was shown his second yellow card with nine minutes to play after the defender had fouled Davies. This came just after Dean Standen had put an effort narrowly wide of Dennison's left hand post.
In a move to tighten things up a little, Louis Smith came on for James Pinnock, but it did not stop Miller from putting Slough back in front with just four minutes left. Two goals in one game after six games without, this was dreamland! Daly, who had gone close with a headed effort earlier in the game, saw Mitten produce a fine save to keep out another headed effort but this time Miller pounced on the rebound to put Slough in front.
Hockton again though showed his quality and deprived Slough of a much needed victory as the clock rolled onto 90 minutes. The striker put his free kick right in the top corner and again evened the scores. Margate, clearly lifted by the equaliser, pushed on for the win and could have snatched it in injury time with two chances. In the 94th minute, Haworth saw an effort sting the fingertips of Dennison but the ball was still goal bound after the keepers intervention and Slough were relieved to see Mark Bartley sweeping up on the line and clearing the ball from danger.
The chances weren't over though and Slough fans were holding their collective breath as Hockton lined up another free kick from a very similar position to where he scored the equaliser. This time though the prolific strikers effort was not on target and Slough claimed an unlikely point against their much fancied opponents.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Carl Dennison
- 2 Rav Braith 14
- 3 Mark Bartley
- 4 Steve Daly
- 5 Michael Donovan
- 6 Abby Nsubuga
- 7 Terry Davies 15
- 8 Danny Jeffreys
- 9 Matt Miller
- 10 Lucas Bizon 12
- 11 George Moleski
Margate Line up
1. Charlie Mitten, 2. Greg Oates, 3. Justin Skinner, 4. Lee Protheroe, 5. James Donovan, 6. Pat Sappleton, 7. Dean Standen, 8. Jay Saunders, 9. James Pinnock, 10. Danny Hockton, 11. Jimmy Jackson Subs: 12. Louis Smith (for Pinnock, 83), 14. Rob Haworth (for Protheroe, 55), 15. Danny Whisker, 16. Nick Bagley, 17. Scott Chalmers-Stevens.