Oldaker stunner breaks Slough hearts


Slough Town 0 : 1 Gillingham

The magic of the FA Cup was alive and well at Arbour Park, as Non-League Slough Town FC welcomed EFL side Gillingham in the second round of England’s most prestigious cup tournament.

Gillingham made just one change from the side that faced Bristol Rovers last time out, with Dean Parrett replacing the suspended Callum Reilly in midfield. Slough lined up in a peculiar way not often seen in modern day football, with 1-11 taking to the pitch in the ‘classic’ positions associated with those numbers.

This was also a game that was to be played on an artificial pitch, something the Gillingham squad would not be accustomed to in competitive games. Slough had made it this round of the FA Cup before, losing out last season to Rochdale in a 4-0 defeat. It wasn’t to be this time either, as Gilligham struggled past them to make the third round for the first time since 2012.

The game kicked off under a bleak sky with the Slough fans in good voice and immediately had something to cheer about as Gillingham knocked the ball out of play straight from kick off.

The opening minutes saw Gillingham test the keeper before Slough had a short period of superiority and a cross from Warren Harris nearly caught out Gillingham keeper Tomas Holy.

The first card was shown to George Wells of Slough after a late challenge on Josh Parker. Gills’ Dean Parrett then warmed the keeper’s hands after cutting inside and unleashing a shot from 25 yards. Slough immediately carved out a chance of their own, Matt Stevens attempting an overhead kick which landed on top of the net, a goal which would have been synonymous with the magic associated with this competition.

Slough continued to pile on the pressure, putting into question which of these sides was truly plying their trade in the Football League. Both Lee Togwell and Stevens came within inches of putting the home side in front.

Max Ehmer of Gilligham was then booked for hauling down the lively Stevens and the free kick was well worked but the attempt flew past the post.

The hosts continued to frustrate the visitors, and had a number of speculative efforts as the first half wore on but the game remained scoreless at the break.

Gillingham took the lead early in the second half, a sensational strike from Darren Oldaker from all of 30 yards beat the Slough keeper and nestled into the top right hand corner, a touch of quality Gillingham were desperate for. The Slough keeper Jack Turner was soon called into action as Josh Parker broke the offside trap but the home sides shot-stopper produced a fantastic save to keep them in the game.

The atmosphere in the stadium went up a notch as Slough tried to force themselves back into the game, a sensational cross field pass by Wells resulted in a sharp shot from James Dobson which Holy did well to keep out at his near post.

Manny Williams was introduced as a replacement for Chris Flood and made an immediate impact, getting involved in the box before Lee Togwell shot from six yards out but it wasn’t enough to beat Holy and draw Slough level.

Williams was then presented with a golden chance when Wells crossed to the front post but his header flew just wide of the post. Slough continued their barrage of the Gillingham goal, but left themselves susceptible to counter-attacks as Tom Eaves just failed to get on the end of a Parker pass.

The game opened up into the final 10 minutes, as Slough pressed for an equalising goal, but it was Gillingham who produced the more clear cut chances, Eaves coming close with a glancing header. The fourth official added six minutes of injury time, much to the shock of everyone of Gillingham persuasion, but it gave the home fans a new lease of life as they urged their side on.

A goalmouth scramble ensued with a minute to go as Manny Williams failed to capitalise on confusion in the Gillingham area.

But for all their effort to get their name into the hat for the third round, Slough Town go out of the FA Cup in the second round for the second successive season. The Non-League side pushed Gillingham all the way, but the Gills quality shone through from that super strike by Oldaker.



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