Merthyr knocked Slough out of the competition at the First Round Qualifying stage last season, after an incident-packed final ten minutes in which nine-man Merthyr grabbed an unlikely winning goal after Ed Smith had seen a penalty saved.
Slough took the lead in that match, and did so this time around, with Jamie McClurg picking up a pass from Adrian Sear and sending a low shot from outside the box into the bottom corner of Tom Bradley’s goal in the 21st minute. The goal was against the run of play, with the home side having to withstand considerable pressure.
By this point, Kayne McLaggon had already tested Gogic with a good strike, whilst another effort dribbled tamely wide. For Slough, the returning Johnnie Dyer spun and put a shot just wide from 15 yards.
The ‘Martyrs’ almost equalised within minutes in the driving rain, the Welsh side responding well but unable to find an equaliser – the closest effort being a volley from Ian Traylor which whistled just past the post.
Slough started the second half well, with Luke Knight seeing a shot blocked and the Rebels forcing a couple of corners, but these attacks came to nothing and the Rebels gradually lost their grip on the game, with Merthyr taking control.
A mistake by Sean Fraser almost led to a goal, but Gavin Williams dragged his shot well wide.
Aleks Gogic, playing his final game for Slough after a loan spell, fumbled a shot from Kris Leek but recovered well to smother the ball before being fouled.
Merthyr grew in confidence and attacked in waves, and Slough were forced to play on the counter attack. A low ball in from the right almost led to an equaliser, but somehow it was put behind for a corner. Slough managed to break away, but Smith’s shot was easily handled by Bradley.
But on 77 minutes, the visitors found a goal which had seemed inevitable. Former West Ham United and Wales international Gavin Williams, who had been pulling the strings in midfield all game, was the man to provide it, as he powered in a shot from outside the box after striding through the tiring Slough defence.
Slough introduced in-form striker Scott Harris, who was unable to start the match due to a dead leg, but Merthyr looked the more likely to score again and take the tie. A replay on Tuesday evening awaits both sides, with a place in the Third Round Qualifying at stake.
Merthyr Town Line up
Tom Bradley, Dan Summerfield, Adam Davies, Kris Leek, Jarrad Wright, Ryan Green ©, Kerry Morgan, Gavin Williams, Kayne McLaggon, Ryan Newman, Ian Traylor. Subs: Matthew Harris, Corey Jenkins, Ryan Prosser, Guillermo Bauza, Giles Cutlan.