Rebels seal place in FA Cup First Round

Slough Town

Slough Town

Jackman (32), Lench (42)
Ebbsfleet United

Ebbsfleet United

FA Cup Attendance: 779 Matthew Lench
A brilliant performance from Slough Town under the Arbour Park lights saw the Rebels progress to the Emirates FA Cup First Round for the first time in five years, with goals from Josh Jackman and Matt Lench ousting National League side Ebbsfleet United from the competition, writes Freddie Gatrell.

What was initially expected to be a challenging evening for the Rebels turned out quite the opposite, as Scott Davies' men outplayed the Fleet in front of a bustling Arbour Park. This earned them a home tie against League Two's Grimsby Town in the first weekend of November.

Saturday's initial fixture was keenly contested, with a draw a fair result over the 90 minutes. However, things took a different turn on Tuesday, as the Rebels displayed expertly honed skills throughout the match, retaining possession well and not appearing vulnerable to conceding at any point.

Ebbsfleet, fielding a strong lineup that included former Liverpool midfielder Jordon Ibe, seemed off-colour, showing little creativity in the final third and consistently poor ball retention, which allowed the Rebels to capitalize. An early effort from Munashe Sundire, fired into Mark Cousins' midriff, foreshadowed the difficulties for Dennis Kutrieb's team. Slough continued to cause problems, particularly through the directness and pace of David Ogbonna, who was a handful throughout the evening.

The first-half pressure paid off 32 minutes into the match, with good interplay down the right-hand side leading to Nathan Minhas in the Fleet's 18-yard box. He neatly flicked the ball to a charging Josh Jackman, who confidently buried the ball into the bottom left corner, leaving the Arbour Park faithful in ecstasy.

Following the captain's well-deserved opener, the Rebels seemed to settle into a rhythm, with Minhas testing Cousins in goal only four minutes later; his low drive was well saved by the Fleet's goalkeeper. The Rebels continued to press for a second goal and were rewarded only 10 minutes later. Man of the Match Lench seized upon a loose ball after Minhas was tackled in the centre circle, powering through the Ebbsfleet midfield and releasing a thunderous shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

Slough's dominance in the first half deflated an Ebbsfleet side that struggled all over the pitch, and the second half began similarly. George Alexander broke in behind the Fleet's backline, but his close-range effort was well saved by Cousins, with the rebound falling at the feet of Ogbonna, whose curled attempt was pushed wide.

Tyrese Dyce narrowly missed heading in a Lench corner, and Slough nearly added two more spectacular goals in the remainder of the second half, with Matt Lench's backheel attempt blocked and cleared, and Dan Bayliss' chipped effort hitting the inside of the Fleet's post.

The final whistle was met with thunderous cheers from the enthusiastic Slough supporters, as the Rebels booked their encounter with Grimsby Town's Mariners. Next up for the Rebels, who are now on a nine-game unbeaten streak, is a National League South match against Chelmsford City at Arbour Park on the club's designated Community Day.

Ebbsfleet United Lineup

Cousins, O’Neill, White, Hollis, Wright, Domi, Chapman, Sterling-James (Poleon 46), Ibe (Tanner 46), McQueen, Amoo (Coulthirst 73). Unused substitutes: Cissé, Edser, Fanimo, Odokonyero


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