12:01AM, Wednesday 21 November 2018
Slough Town 1, Sutton United 1
(Slough go through 8-7 on penalty kicks)
A dramatic penalty shoot out win over Sutton United saw the Rebels march through to the second round of the FA Cup this evening.
George Wells belted home the decisive spot-kick to send Arbour Park into a frenzy, after the first round replay had finished 1-1 after extra-time.
National League side Sutton looked like they meant business when Harry Beautyman diverted Jonah Ayunga's angled drive past Jack Turner from close range in the seventh minute.
But, after weathering a heavy storm from their visitors, the Rebels dragged themselves back into the contest and should really have levelled long before James Dobson's powerful free-kick crashed through the Sutton wall to level things up with 10 minutes to play.
The Rebels had Sutton on the rack for the remainder of normal time, and for much of extra-time, but weren't able to land a knock out blow. If anything, it was Paul Doswell's well-placed National League side that looked to be out on their feet and desperately hanging on for penalty kicks.
Almost inevitably the game was decided by a penalty shoot out, which Slough won 8-7, although there was added drama in that with Sam Togwell missing the chance to win it for Slough by rolling his spot-kick wide of the upright with the scores locked at 6-6.
Fortunately for Slough, Dean Beckwith skied his penalty moments later, handing Wells the chance to send his side through to the second round for the second successive season.
They'll play either Hartlepool United, from the National League, or League 1 side Gillingham in the next round, with those clubs set to play their replay tomorrow evening (Wednesday).
Slough's progression owed much to the fact they survived a pretty intense period of pressure after Beautyman's opener. Charlie Clough crashed a volley off the bar on the quarter hour, after taking the ball down brilliantly on his chest, but the Rebels defense gradually got to grips with Sutton's front men.
In fact, the best opportunities in the remainder of the half fell to Slough, with Matty Stevens messing up a header from Warren Harris's pin point cross before seeing another attempt from just outside the six-yard box deflected behind for a corner.
Sutton should probably have killed off Slough's spirit with two chances that came their way after the interval. Wayne Brown's stroked finish was kept out by a finger-tip stop from Jack Turner and Ayunga blasted wide with only the keeper to beat after a swift break in the 58th minute. Beautyman curled a free-kick inches wide, with Turner a spectator, and Jamie Collins saw a header flash wide of the upright.
But, Slough remained in the game and Sutton looked increasingly edgy as the clock ticked on. Cue Dobson to set up a grandstand finish with a free-kick on the edge of the box that flew past Ross Worner with 10 to play. The Sutton keeper didn't see it, let alone have a chance of saving it. Ben Harris, Dobson and Simon Dunn all had presentable chances to win the tie for the Rebels in normal time, but each of their efforts went agonisingly wide or over.
There were few chances for either side in extra-time so the game went to penalties. 10 perfect spot-kicks followed before Turner kept out Tom Bolarinwa's effort. Sam Togwell failed to take Slough's first opportunity to win it, but when Beckwith skied his attempt - after both keepers had scored their pens - Wells drove the Rebels through to the second round to joyous scenes around the ground.
Afterwards Neil Baker said: "Emotions are through the roof to be honest. When we missed the sixth penalty you thought it might not happen. But I have to say we were absolutely brilliant tonight. I thought Sutton had a 10/15 minute spell after they scored when they battered us.
"But we hung on. And throughout the game I thought we were absolutely top drawer. We caused them lots of problems and I thought they were out on their feet at the end. But, look, it's one of the best nights I've had in football, that's for sure."
Slough go through on penalties! Scenes. George Wells with the decisive spot kick! pic.twitter.com/0HqLJR35nJ— Daniel Darlington (@Darlington10) November 20, 2018
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