Chertsey have struggled in the league this season and went into the game third bottom with only two league wins to their name, one of which was a thumping 7-3 win at basement club Woodford United in their previous match. They were also without captain Tommy McGarry through illness, but the ‘Curfews’ started brightly against Steve Bateman’s side, Rob Carr producing a save from James Warrington at his near post before Jermiele Johnson's shot came back off a post with the aid of a vital touch from the Slough stopper.
The match was played on a very heavy, bobbly surface which caused all sorts of problems for both sides, making neat football very difficult to play as passes went astray. And with 18 minutes on the clock, the conditions worked in Slough’s favour as a combination of hesitation and a bobble saw John Pomroy miss his clearance, giving Dan Burnell the chance to fire past goalkeeper Tony Oval from 20 yards – the Chertsey goalkeeper well out of position, perhaps anticipating a pass back to him.
Whilst Slough had not started badly, the goal was somewhat against the run of play, and Slough then went on to put a great deal of pressure on the Chertsey defence, with Jake Parsons, Burnell and Smith unlucky not to create a clear scoring chance.
Eight minutes after Slough had taken the lead, Chertsey grabbed a deserved equaliser as Mark Knight headed Rob Carr's cross past Warrington after Danny Murphy had conceded a free kick 40 yards from goal.
The goal increased Chertsey’s belief and the hosts were the better side for the remainder of the half, looking dangerous when going forward, but lacking an end product. Carr forced an awkward-looking save from Warrington and another effort, a header from a corner, hit the top of the bar and went over.
Slough, after starting reasonably well, lacked the same cohesion and creativity later in the half.
Stuart Swift drilled a free kick into the defensive wall and Chertsey defended more corner kicks as the half drew to a close, and the match referee made one of a number of strange decisions when he penalised Dave Woozley for what he interpreted as simulation – the Slough skipper having previously been cautioned for a late tackle, but not shown a second yellow card for this offence.
The first half had become more and more fractious as it wore on, and this continued into the second period. On one occasion, Chertsey’s player-manager David Johnston was injured and lay on the turf awaiting treatment while play carried on – when the referee eventually stopped play, Slough were on a dangerous-looking attack, and when play resumed, a contested drop-ball resulted in a Slough corner from which the ball hit the bar, with the visitors penalised for a foul on goalkeeper Oval, who also received treatment.
Before this, Smith failed to get enough elevation on an attempted lob as he was given a sight of goal in the opening minutes of the second half, and Slough almost gifted Chertsey a goal when, after Warrington had saved from Knight, David Deeney slammed his clearance off a Chertsey player and the ball hit the far post, rebounding away to safety.
The linesman’s flag also frustrated both sides, with Smith and Swift unlucky on a number of occasions to be pulled back for offside after being played in through a Chertsey defence holding a high line.
Bateman made a double substitution, replacing Swift and Alex Brown with Ollie Burgess and Dom Rhone – Brown having suffered an ankle injury – and the resulting switch to 4-4-2 almost paid dividends immediately, but Slough were denied as a shot from Rhone was blocked and the follow-up from Burgess cut short as he was in an offside position.
Later on, Smith appeared to be tripped when running clear of the last defender, but play continued – but worse was to follow soon after, as a terrible two-footed challenge from Michael Blount on Sean Fraser in the penalty area resulted in a spot-kick being awarded, but amazingly no card for the Chertsey captain - apparently as neither the referee or linesman could identify which player had committed the foul - with many assuming a red card was a foregone conclusion.
After a long delay due to the remonstrations from both teams and Fraser’s medical assistance, Burnell stepped up to coolly slot his second goal of the match into the bottom corner, out of Oval’s reach, six minutes from time.
Slough had always looked the more likely to score the winner in the second half, and with the advantage, pushed forward looking to kill the game off. Three minutes into time added on, Ed Smith found himself free of the last defender as Deeney headed a clearance back into the Chertsey half, and this time the striker managed to get enough power on his lob from around 25 yards out, sealing a very hard-fought victory for the Rebels.
Video highlights courtesy of
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 James Warrington
- 2 Sean Fraser
- 3 Danny Murphy
- 4 Alex Brown 18
- 5 Nathan Bowden-Haase
- 6 David Woozley
- 7 Jake Parsons
- 8 David Deeney
- 9 Danny Burnell
- 10 Edward Smith
- 11 Stuart Swift 16
Chertsey Town Line up
Tony Oval, Matt Powell, Matt Morris, Michael Blount (c), John Pomroy, David Johnston (Matt Brunt), Rob Carr, Rob Carrick (Paul Seaman), Mark Knight, Gavin Quintyre (Lewis Frostick), Jermiele Johnson. Sub not used: Andy Crossley.