The Rebels’ performance left joint managers Neil Baker and Jon Underwood frustrated, with Slough uncharacteristically sloppy in possession and struggling to create chances despite seemingly being in charge of the tie.
Slough might have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute when James Dobson’s hanging cross from the left drifted over the head of Sholing goalkeeper Ryan Gosney, but rebounded back off the crossbar.
But the Rebels did score on nine minutes as Ben Harris swept the ball past Gosney after Louie Soares’ drilled shot deflected kindly into his path.
Slough doubled their lead on 26 minutes thanks to Dobson’s third successful penalty kick of the season. Ben Harris won it, after his marauding run into the area was crudely checked by Peter Castle’s mistimed challenge, and Dobson lashed the ball into the bottom corner, low to Gosney’s left.
Despite creating little early on and then going two goals behind, Sholing were committed and played like a team with nothing to lose. Slough failed to build on their lead, dropping off the pace and encouraging their Wessex League Premier Division opponents to grow into the contest.
Sholing’s dangerman Dan Mason, who came into the match having already notched 14 goals this season, showed a glimpse of his threat as he broke the Rebels’ defensive line, only for Guy Hollis to get back and block his effort. The corner which resulted was cleared, but from the second, Mason made a clever run to the near post and flicked Alex Sawyer’s drilled delivery past a helpless Jack Turner with 38 minutes played.
Half time arrived with Slough’s lead halved, but the sense of frustration around Arbour Park was palpable as Sholing looked the more confident side.
And the visitors emerged from the changing rooms as the more threatening side, coming close to an equaliser after just three minutes. Terry Cuthbertson played a one-two with Dan Mason before sliding the ball through to Lee Wort, who had a clear run on goal. He decided to take the shot early, which appeared to deceive Jack Turner who was relieved to see the ball hit the base of the post and rebound to the same player, who was unable to beat the keeper with his second effort.
Slough responded with Dobson whipping in a shot at the other end which was deflected just wide, and Wort tested Turner again with a low drive.
The contest was punctuated by a number of heavy tackles from both sides which went unpunished by referee Michael Begley, who seemed to want the game to flow – but Slough were left counting the cost, with Dobson forced off injured after suffering an ankle injury.
Slough threw on Warren Harris and Manny Williams in an attempt to improve things, and Matty Stevens, who had a quiet game, was close to connecting with a George Wells cross.
But Sholing stuck to their task and created more chances. Substitute Bradley Targett forced Turner into a decent save with a shot on the turn, and Wort drew another good save from the Slough keeper.
Slough’s final change saw Stevens replaced by Flood, and almost immediately after, another heavy tackle left Scott Davies in a heap. Play was allowed to continue with the Rebels incensed, and Turner made a good save as Wort blasted another effort on target. Davies was fortunately able to continue but clearly in some pain.
Sholing’s efforts were finally rewarded with nine minutes remaining as Dan Mason levelled the scores. Poor marking from a throw-in resulted in the striker finding the ball at his feet, and he was afforded time and space to turn in the area and get in a shot which went through the legs of Hollis and under the body of the unsighted Turner.
The visitors began to sit deeper with a replay looking likely, but Slough gave them one final scare. Warren Harris struck the foot of the post after the ball was worked through to him in the area by Williams.
Slough rallied late on with Wells having a long shot deflected wide and Hollis firing an effort straight at Gosney from outside the box, but their time ran out and a replay awaits on Tuesday evening.
Slough Town Line Up
- 1 Jack Turner
- 2 Sean Fraser
- 3 George Wells
- 4 Guy Hollis
- 5 Sam Togwell
- 6 Lee Togwell
- 7 James Dobson 15
- 8 Scott Davies
- 9 Ben Harris 18
- 10 Mathew Stevens 16
- 11 Louie Soares
Sholing Line up
Ryan Gosney, TJ Cuthbertson, Marvin Mclean, Pete Castle, Dan Miller, Jamie Bulpitt, Jamie Bulpitt, Alex Sawyer, Byron Mason [c], Dan Mason, Lee Wort, Jake Hoole (Bradley Targett 59). Unused substitutes: Kevin Brewster, Owen Roundell, Jack Smith, Ryan Mackney, Billy Connor, Nick O'Donnell.