09:11PM, Saturday 27 November 2021
Slough Town 1, Havant & Waterlooville 0 (FA Trophy second round)
Jon Underwood and Neil Baker guided a side into the third round of the FA Trophy for the first time in their managerial career as Slough Town defeated league rivals Havant & Waterlooville 1-0 at Arbour Park.
On a bitterly cold and blustery day in Slough, the home side did just about enough to warm the hearts of their supporters with Aaron Kuhl winning, and then converting, the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
It sealed the side's second win over promotion hopefuls Havant in the space of a month and their place in the final 64 of a competition they've faltered in in recent seasons.
The home side came into the tie off the back of last week's disappointing 3-1 defeat at Eastbourne Borough, and they rested a couple of key players in Guy Hollis and Warren Harris, with both players having recently returned to the team following injury.
They began brightly with the wind at their backs, as Alfonso Tenconi stole a yard on his marker in the fifth minute to race onto a ball over the top, but he couldn't quite control his lob which drifted over the bar.
Jake McCarthy headed over the bar for the visitors, who threatened sporadically in the first half but never really found their feet until they emerged following the half-time interval.
Slough edged the opening 20 minutes without creating a clear-cut chance, but Max Worsfold might have done better when the ball fell kindly for him on the edge of the area, but the midfielder lifted his shot well over the bar.
The moment which tilted the tide in Slough's direction arrived in the 28th minute when Kuhl was brought down for a penalty. Havant's Paul Rooney was looking to shepherd the ball back to keeper Will Mannion, but Kuhl stole in on his blindside and was hooked back by Rooney as he attempted to shoot. After consulting with his assistant referee Richard Watkins pointed to the spot and reached into his pocket to pull out the red card for Rooney. Having been Havant's last man there was no other option for the man in the middle.
Having had a few minutes to compose himself, Kuhl then stepped forward to sweep the ball into the bottom corner.
There were few other chances before the break, although Tom Wright fired a warning shot across the bows of the Rebels' ship with a rising drive that was well kept out by Jonathan North in the 37th minute.
The Rebels could have made life easier for themselves in the second half had they taken one of the presentable chances they created, however, Havant remained in the game and the best compliment you could pay them is that you wouldn't have known they were down to 10 men.
The lively Ben Harris missed one of the best chances of the half in the 51st minute, pulling his strike into the side netting with his left foot after good work on the right by Kuhl to set him up.
Tenconi, who did everything but score in the tie, could have wrapped things up in the 71st minute when he darted in behind the Havant defence, but a heavy chance gave Mannion the chance to spread himself and save at the striker's feet. The 18-year-old had another chance in the 85th minute when he span in the six-yard-box and fired off a shot, but again Mannion was there to make a sharp stop.
Knowing Baker and Underwood's luck in this competition, it would have been no surprise had Havant snatched an equaliser in the second half but, despite being a man down, their play didn't quite deserve one.
Scott Davies made a crucial block to deny McCarthy and James Roberts and Josh Passley both fired wide from the edge of the area when maybe they should have tested North.
Had they found the net the game would likely have been settled with a penalty shoot-out, but Slough held on to put their name in the hat for next week's third round draw when National League Premier clubs enter the competition for the first time.