With illness ruling out a number of the squad, including Ricky Perks and Chris Herron, Tyron Sealey came into the starting line-up and Garry Sippetts was able to make a long-awaited first appearance after his horrific injury, emerging from the bench in the second half.
Last month Slough saw off the challenge of Marlow in the Berks & Bucks Cup with a narrow win, and another tough encounter was in store. Leigh Mason was again instrumental in Marlow’s attacking play, and he released Roche early on but Danny Murphy made up for his earlier slip by blocking well.
After an even opening quarter of an hour, Slough took the lead after a good spell of possession. Simon Martin headed the ball on superbly for Sean Sonner to run onto, and although at first it looked like the energetic striker had taken the ball too far wide, he was able to finish smartly past former Didcot ‘keeper Michael Watkins and into the far corner.
Slough were clearly boosted by this and almost made their heavy pressure count on a number of occasions. Steve Sinclair lifted the ball just over the bar after a mazy dribble which bamboozled the visiting defence, before Danny Murphy put a dangerous ball across the face of goal, just agonisingly out of reach of the strikers.
It looked a matter of time before Slough would score again and take a more comfortable lead into the half-time break, and Simon Martin went close twice, heading straight at Watkins from Sweeney’s deep cross before seeing a shot deflected just wide from 15 yards after Chris Elsegood had sliced a clearance.
Slough came agonisingly close to doubling their lead just a minute into the second half through Martin again, but this time his downward header was pushed wide smartly by Watkins, who was quick to react.
The missed chances came back to bite the Rebels as, just minutes later, Marlow hit back with a sucker punch from a set-piece. Leigh Mason’s free-kick to the far post was finished well by centre-back Tom Willment to put the visitors back on level terms.
Slough looked rattled by this goal as Marlow grew in confidence, and were relieved to see Nathan Bowden-Haase pick up only a yellow card as the defender brought down Roche just outside the box, although he looked to have won the ball cleanly. Leigh Mason fired just over from the free-kick as Marlow started to press.
Sean Sonner came close to repeating his feat from the first half, but fired another shot just wide from a narrow angle as Watkins looked to have it covered.
Controversy soon followed as Slough had a claim for a penalty turned down by referee Tim Donnellan, despite former Rebel Mark Avery handling the ball inside the area. A free-kick was awarded just on the edge, and Dean Clark stepped up but saw his effort superbly headed off the line by Marlow captain Elsegood who had scouted Clark’s intentions, the ball rebounding back off the crossbar and away to safety.
Garry Sippetts made his long-awaited debut, replacing Sean Sonner with around ten minutes remaining, and showed some good touches but Slough were unable show the same threat they had posed in the first half and did not significantly trouble Watkins again.
Marlow seemed satisfied to hold out for a point, but looked a threat on the break and almost snatched a dramatic late winner as Yashwa Romeo played the ball across the box for Craig Roberts, only for the former Slough midfielder to miss horribly, putting his shot well wide.
Marlow Line up
Watkins, Case, Gray, Willment, Avery, Elsegood (c), Mason, Roberts, Stewart, Roche (Couch), Romeo. Subs not used: D Stone, Mealing, Cordice, Lane.