By Pete Martin – Cover image by Michael Berkeley.
Salisbury’s FA Cup journey ended for another year as they went down to a 3-0 defeat away at Slough Town in an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round replay. Whites manager Brian Dutton stuck with the same XI from Saturday’s first tie, as the club looked to reach the 4th Qualifying Round for the 1st time in their history.
There was a disastrous start for the Whites as with less than 60 seconds on the clock the home side were awarded a penalty. Skipper Sido Jombati slipping in the box and handling the ball, with the referee eventually pointing to the spot. Slough’s Johnny Goddard stepping up and smashing the ball down the middle of the goal to give his side the lead. The opening exchanges were all Slough and they could have doubled their lead on 11 minutes but Tyrese Dyce headed wide and then 2 minutes later only an excellent save from Josh Gould stopped Nathan Minhas from adding a 2nd with his powerful header.
On 22 minutes came the game’s big talking point and it saw Salisbury reduced to 10 men with Aaron Simpson given his marching orders. After slightly overrunning the ball, the fullback went in for a tackle and, despite not seeming to catch Slough player/manager Scott Davies, the referee pulled out the red card and sent him off. With Salisbury still in the midst of regrouping, they had Gould to thank for keeping the deficit to 1; the custodian again denied Minhas with an excellent reaction save from another header. Despite having a man disadvantage the Whites were starting to get a foothold in the game, albeit without being able to test home keeper Rohan Luthra. They were moving the ball around nicely in midfield, although they got a reminder of what Slough could do on 40 minutes; Dyce shooting narrowly wide of the goal following a quick break. The closest the Whites came before half time was a Noah Coppin snapshot which flew wide and they went in at half time behind, but not out of the game.
Photos by Michael Berkeley
A fired-up Salisbury came out for the 2nd half and came within a whisker of an equaliser on 49 minutes. Following some near interplay around the edge of the area, Charlie Gunson’s shot was deflected inches wide but 3 minutes later the home side doubled their advantage. A fine move saw them in down the left-hand side and Goddard was able to smartly slide the ball home from 10 yards out for his, and his team’s, 2nd goal of the night.
Salisbury continued to battle, pressuring Slough and working hard to find a way back into the tie. Despite their efforts though, they were unable to fashion the chance to set up a grandstand finish and instead, it was the home team who put the game to bed on 71 minutes as they added a 3rd. A corner was swung in and Gould was unable to hold on to the ball giving Temi Eweka a simple tap-in from 5 yards out. Despite having played over 3/4s of the game with 10 men Salisbury didn’t give up; on 76 minutes Josh Sommerton planted a header wide from a free kick before on 85 minutes Coppin’s low shot gave Luthra his 1st real save of the night, getting down low to his left. In between times Gould had done well to tip Minhas’s effort from distance around the post, and on 87 minutes the Whites came the closest they would all night as Gunson curled a brilliant freekick against the post with Luthra rooted to the spot. In time added on Sommerton glanced another header wide, but it wasn’t to be for Salisbury who exit the FA Cup but can hold their heads high.
Dutton’s men are back in action on Saturday 7th October when they travel to league rivals Gosport Borough in the FA Trophy, 3 pm kickoff.
Team: Gould, Simpson, Sommerton, Leggett(Bragg), Jombati, Penny(Squires), McCreadie, Gunson, Hedges, Coppin, Fitchett(Smith) Unused Subs: Osei, Arnold D