Slough arrived at the famous Edgar Street to face Hereford – last season’s Division One South & West champions and pre-season favourites for the league title this season – having claimed their first points of the season at Gosport on Tuesday evening, and named an unchanged starting lineup.
The opening exchanges were tight and cagey, with Hereford’s Pablo Haysham shooting wide following a short corner, and Mike McGrath shooting wastefully over when well-placed just inside the Slough box.
Just before the half hour mark, Chris Flood’s near post cross was fumbled by goalkeeper Martin Horsell – who looked unsure throughout – but the ball hit Manny Williams and went behind.
Five minutes later, Hereford’s John Mills weaved his way into the box past the challenge of Josh Jackman, but saw his attempted cross rebound off the frame of the goal and away to safety.
Slough had their best spell of the game in the final five minutes of the first half, winning a number of corner kicks which came to nothing – but as the game entered added time, the Rebels struck what proved to be the decisive blow.
The Rebels broke away after a poor attempt from a free kick which hit the defensive wall. James Dobson’s long ball forward was headed down to Simon Dunn – who had earlier replaced the injured Nathan Webb – and he played it quickly out to Flood on the right. The striker advanced into the box and got a shot on target, which Horsell failed to gather cleanly, allowing Togwell to pounce on the loose ball and find the bottom corner to spark celebrations in the away enclosure.
Slough had their tails up and went in search of a second goal before the half time whistle, with Dobson firing a shot into Horsell’s midriff from 25 yards.
The visitors started the second half in much the same way as they ended the first, with Dobson unlucky to slice an attempt with the outside of his left boot narrowly wide of Horsell’s goal.
Jack Turner had still not been seriously tested, and on 52 minutes he comfortably claimed a header from Jamie Molyneux, who failed to get enough power on his header.
Hereford were working hard to get back into the game but struggled to create clear-cut opportunities against a robust Slough rearguard – and their task was made even more difficult ten minutes later as forward Mike Symons was shown a straight red card for swinging his arm in the direction of Guy Hollis’ face as the two players prepared to challenge for a long ball upfield from Horsell.
The hosts almost equalised minutes later, but Jimmy Oates powered a header wide from Haysham’s corner.
Slough then almost doubled their lead, again from a corner – but Dunn’s near post header from Matt Lench’s delivery flew all the way across goal and wide. Brad Wadkins, introduced in place of Williams, also went close, heading over the bar when unmarked with almost his first touch of the game.
A nervy final ten minutes was ensured when Lench was shown his second yellow card in the space of six minutes – both for fairly minor offences, the first for not retreating at a Hereford free kick and the second a push on the halfway line.
But Slough were determined not to let their lead slip, and soaked up late Hereford pressure, with Turner superbly claiming high balls into the box and Mark Nisbet blocking a shot from Mills.
Dunn had a glorious chance to seal the three points four minutes into added time, only to be thwarted as Horsell saved with a leg – but the final whistle sounded moments later to confirm a hard-fought three points on the road.
Hereford Line up
Martin Horsell, Jimmy Oates (c), James Bowen (Garyn Preen 86), Calvin Dinsley (Jamie Edge 71), Ryan Green, Mark Preece, Jamie Molyneux, Mike McGrath, John Mills, Pablo Haysham, Mike Symons. Subs not used: Harry Franklin, Bradley Williams, Max Harris.