Basingstoke, struggling in the National League South, were in a similar position to the Rebels in the sense that the FA Cup offered a break from league action and a chance to turn their fortunes around. As it turned out, there was to be no long FA Cup run for the Rebels, who were again made to pay for individual errors and a lack of goal scoring threat.
Once again, Slough conceded early on to hand their opponents the initiative. Basingstoke's right full-back Nathan Smart beat Lewis Putman, playing on the left wing, easily to get into the area, where he got in a low driven cross which Mark Scott kept out with his feet. The loose ball was picked up by former Reading midfielder James Harper, who lifted the ball back into the area. Gary MacDonald missed his header, giving Manny Williams the chance to nod it down for Flood to touch the ball past Scott and finish, despite Smart looking to be in a suspiciously offside position, in the sixth minute.
Slough went on the attack and almost scored an equaliser seven minutes later, but Scott Harris' fierce angled drive hit the top of the crossbar on its way over, after a strong run from Putman took him past several players.
Putman was the key threat for Slough on the left, and only good defending from the home side prevented him from entering the box on a number of occasions.
The game entered a bit of a lull with neither side particularly taking control, but it burst into life again with half an hour played as Slough were awarded a penalty. Recent signing Jhai Dhillon went on a strong run down the left which took him into the penalty area, where he was pulled back by Shaun McAuley. Referee Lee Vanamore was in a good position to spot the offence and allow Adam Martin the chance to beat Aaron Howe, which he did by placing his spot-kick down the middle of the goal.
Mpi headed over as Slough looked more confident, but were soon indebted to Scott for two good blocks, first from Flood after a lovely pass from Harrison Gilkes, and then a low strike from Smart.
Four minutes from the interval, the hosts went close to regaining the lead. Tom Bird crossed in from the left and Flood beat Scott to the cross, with the keeper having called for the ball, but his header went narrowly wide. Basingstoke appealed in vain for a penalty after the striker was taken out by the Slough stopper in the process.
Just before the break, Slough then had two good chances to score. First, MacDonald found himself with a free header from a corner, but his effort came back off the bar with Mpi unable to turn the loose ball home. From the resulting corner, the ball came all the way through to Warren Harris, who got in a bicycle kick half-volley, but it was straight at Howe.
However, the game was taken away from Slough with two quick-fire Basingstoke goals at the start of the second period.
On 50 minutes, Bird won a free-kick down the left and took it quickly to play Louie Soares in – and his low cross caught Slough off-guard, with Flood beating MacDonald to the ball and turning it in past the helpless Scott from six yards.
Three minutes later, the hosts had firm control of the game as Flood grabbed his hat-trick. Bird was involved again, putting in a cross from the left which Flood headed home as he got above MacDonald, who appealed in vain for a foul.
Needing a quick response, Slough almost pulled one back two minutes later, but Dhillon's header from Warren Harris' clipped free kick rebounded back off the bar – the third time Slough had hit the woodwork.
The game turned again on 57 minutes as Basingstoke were reduced to ten men. Just a few minutes after picking up his first booking, Shaun McAuley fouled Dhillon in the centre circle and received his second caution, giving Slough a boost for the remaining time.
Basingstoke shored up their midfield in response, and Slough started to mount some pressure, with Putman firing one effort wide of the near post.
However, Flood missed a glorious chance to score a fourth goal when he was played in by Soares, but Scott made a block after the striker's touch was too heavy.
As Basingstoke started to defend deep and hold on to their advantage, Slough's pressure paid off with a goal on 79 minutes. Putman's cross from the left was met by the head of Scott Harris, who was surprisingly unmarked and able to power the ball past Howe.
Slough piled on the pressure in the closing stages, trying to find a way through to the heavily defended Basingstoke goal, and missed a glorious chance to equalise when the ball fell to Martin, but his volley from an awkward height was easily saved.
And one minute into stoppage time, with Slough committing almost everyone forward, Basingstoke broke and sealed victory. Substitute Lloyd Macklin found himself as the furthest man forward and was able to play the ball past Scott, who had come rushing out to try and tackle him, from 35 yards and into the back of the net.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Mark Scott
- 2 Sean Fraser
- 3 Jhai Dhillon
- 4 Guy Hollis
- 5 Gary MacDonald 15
- 6 Adrian Sear 16
- 7 Lewis Putman
- 8 Adam Martin
- 9 Scott Harris
- 10 Charlie Mpi
- 11 Warren Harris 14
Basingstoke Town Line up
Aaron Howe, Nathan Smart (Will Salmon 75), Tom Bird, James Harper, Jay Gasson, David Ray, Louie Soares, Shaun McAuley, Manny Williams (Robbie Rice 58), Chris Flood, Harrison Gilkes (Lloyd Macklin 56). Subs not used: Liam Enver-Marum, George Hallahan, Aaron Jarvis, David Smalley.