The Rebels’ journey began back in early September with a First Round Qualifying tie at Berkhamsted, and few will forget the run to the Second Round, which included a thumping 6-0 win at Gainsborough Trinity in the previous round.
Two late goals from the Greater Manchester-based visitors added gloss to the scoreline, which was more than a little harsh on the Rebels, who had fought hard to stay in the game after conceding a 13th-minute opener before eventually succumbing to Rochdale’s greater class and experience.
Slough started on the front foot, with Guy Hollis launching in a long throw which was cleared, and minutes later Chris Flood tried to find James Dobson in the box, but the ball bounced off the winger and through to goalkeeper Josh Lillis.
Rochdale started to enjoy more of the ball possession with striker Calvin Andrew the main target-man – and Slough were caught out by a quick Rochdale break which led to the opening goal. A well-worked move ended with Joseph Bunney whipping in an early cross from the left which the experienced Andrew converted from inside the six-yard box.
The first real sight of goal for the home side came on 18 minutes as Lench got his head to a cross from Warren Harris, but he headed over.
Andrew almost added a second on 27 minutes when he took advantage of hesitant defending and tried to round Jack Turner, but the Slough stopper forced him wide.
Dobson won a corner as his shot was deflected behind ten minutes from the break, and this was the cue for the Rebels to have a good spell of pressure on the Rochdale goal. Donervon Daniels conceded a second corner, and from this one Dobson’s cross found Mark Nisbet unmarked at the back post, but the defender’s volley was straight at Lillis.
Andrew, involved in so much of his side’s attacking play, headed against a post from Bradden Inman’s corner, but Slough then went agonisingly close to levelling the scores on the stroke of half time as Lee Togwell met Nathan Smart’s deep cross, but his header was just wide.
Slough looked to start the second half as they ended the first, but almost fell two goals behind as Ian Henderson sweetly volleyed goalward from 20 yards, but the striker saw his effort rebound off a post with Callum Camps firing the rebound off target.
It remained an open and even cup tie and minutes later, Rochdale keeper Lillis produced the save of the match to deny Dobson, who flicked a header towards the far post from Lench’s free kick.
Slough made an attacking substitution with Manny Williams replacing the tireless Warren Harris to give Flood an out-and-out strike partner.
Rochdale started to create more chances though, and on 62 minutes Turner was called upon to save well from Inman at his near post.
And Slough were punished by a second Rochdale goal soon after. The Rebels conceded a free kick just outside the box and Camps stepped up to squeeze his strike through a gap, with the ball bouncing awkwardly in front of Turner and finding the bottom corner.
The home side began to tire, but Smart still had enough in the tank to go on a lung-bursting run forward. Williams found him out wide on the left, and Smart clipped a shot towards the far post with his left foot which beat Lillis, but bounced back off the crossbar.
Slough pushed men forward in the hope there would be more chances, and Guy Hollis was next to go close as he headed a Lench cross narrowly wide.
But there was no way through Rochdale’s defence, and two minutes from time the visitors ended the contest with a third goal, Henderson volleying home Andrew’s cushioned header from close range.
Deep into stoppage time, Rochdale wrapped up the scoring and eased their way to a Third Round meeting with Doncaster Rovers as Andrew played in substitute Matt Done, who ran clear before finishing emphatically past Turner, off the underside of the bar.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jack Turner
- 2 Nathan Smart 23
- 3 George Wells
- 4 Guy Hollis
- 5 Mark Nisbet
- 6 Lee Togwell
- 7 James Dobson 33
- 8 Matthew Lench
- 10 Chris Flood
- 11 Warren Harris 9
- 20 Simon Dunn
Rochdale Line up
Josh Lillis, Joe Rafferty, Harrison McGahey, Calvin Andrew, Callum Camps, Ollie Rathbone, Bradden Inman (Andrew Cannon 70), Donervon Daniels, Matthew Gillam (Matthew Done 64), Joseph Bunney, Ian Henderson (c). Unused substitutes: Kgosi Ntlhe, Brendan Moore, Jordan Slew, Jordan Williams, Steven Davies.