These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Monday, November 19, 2018


Printed in the FA Cup 1st round replay against Sutton United on Tuesday 20th November 2018  We drew 1-1 then won 7-6 on penalties on the best night ever at Arbour Park in front of 1,360 people.

FA Cup Day. First Round good and proper. Four hundred Rebels squashed like soggy sardines under a tin roof as the rain lashed down, who didn't stop singing or encouraging our players. The only time we fell silent was to commemorate the 100 years of the Armistice. As a bugler played the Last Post the crowd fell deathly silent. I can't even begin to imagine the horrors that people faced in that war, but I do worry that as those that witnessed it are no longer with us, the drums of war become louder. The longest surviving World War I soldier, Harry Patch who died aged 111 in 2009 did not talk about it until he was 100. He said “I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”
The game also marked the 300th competitive match for our management team, half of which Slough have won with two promotions thrown in. The fans also marked the fact that our physio SuperKev is sadly no longer with us.
No disrespect to Sutton, but this wasn't a glamour tie but a very tough draw against a team in the National League play-offs who had only lost three times this season. But there's something very special about this team, about our club at the moment.
Sutton United might be the National League now but they are old adversaries from the Isthmian League days and have played some historic games against us. We won the Isthmian League at Gander Green Lane in 1981 coming from behind to score two late goals that saw us pip Enfield to the title. Sutton were the first ever visitors to Wexham Park in November 1974 when the ground and the pitch resembled more of a farm-yard than a football ground and we pitched up there for our first game after being thrown out of the Conference in 1998. Both these games we won 1-0 but 1998 was beginning of the decline of Slough Town until a certain chairman took over and appointed a certain management team.
Sutton are a great example of how clubs like Slough can survive and prosper in the National League. Gander Green Lane is an old fashioned higgledy-piggledy ground which has seen crowds steadily rise. One of those reasons is down to having a 3G pitch which the local community can use regularly. Of course the football authorities don't see that and if Sutton had been promoted to the Football League they had two choices. Either rip up the pitch (well, it only cost £420,000 to install) and replace it with grass (£300,000 for that to happen) or face punishment and be relegated to the National League South! As their chairman said “It is frustrating that World Cup games can be played on them, as can European game, FA Cup matches but not games in League One or Two.” Frustrating is one word; I can think of a few others aren't printable in this programme.
The game was tight, but Slough were immense especially our defence and we know that our goalkeeper Jack Turner always has at least two world class saves in him every game. The pivotal moment happened in the 74th with Mark Nisbet's volley was destined for the net only to be headed off the line by Sutton skipper Jamie Collins. The resulting ball hung in the air and with Matty Stevens ready to fire the Rebels ahead, he was dragged down. Everyone could see it was a penalty apart from the one man who could do anything about it. And so it ended 0-0 with Sutton manager saying after the game 'We deserve to be out of the cup. Slough were by far the better side on the day. Should have had a penalty. We were well and truly beaten up today.'
Slough are certainty doing it the hard way – tonight will be our seventh FA Cup game this season. As our managers told the world on another Match of the Day appearance, since they joined the club they have taken us one round further every season. So no pressure boys. Just two more wins will do it.


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