It’s been a week to forget for Neil Baker and Jon Underwood - twice Slough had taken a first half lead and looked the better team, only to drop points in the second half.
Gloucester arrived at Arbour Park having enjoyed something of a resurgence under new manager Mike Cook. Unbeaten in their last three league games – with clean sheets in all three – the Tigers were looking to extend this run, which included a draw with fourth-placed Bath City.
In the opening stages both teams showed their intentions early - Slough were intent on playing a high tempo game, passing the ball around looking to open up their opposition, whilst Gloucester looked to use their pace on the counter-attack.
And the first chance of note actually fell for Zack Koticwa, whose attempted speculative overhead kick went well wide of the post.
On 12 minutes Slough’s pressure paid off with the opening goal. It came following good build-up play and shots aplenty in the box.
Ben Harris did well initially to get past the defence and bring the ball up to the byline but had to hold up waiting for support to arrive. Once the support was in place Ben played in Warren Harris who hit the ball first time but saw his shot blocked by a defender. The ball came back to him though and he tried his luck a second time, hitting the ball on the turn, but this time it was palmed away by Jojo Wollacott. However, the danger wasn’t clear as Matt Lench got to the ball ahead of a defender to poke it home from the edge of the six yard box.
Slough took control of the game but had to be wary of Gloucester’s lightning fast forward Joe Parker, who was caught offside on numerous occasions.
The Rebels soon created another chance with Ben Harris shooting from a tight angle, forcing Wollacott into a save. The ball rebounded out to Warren Harris but his header lacked sufficient force.
Matt Lench was having a fine game, and again found time and space before firing in a shot from 25 yards. The ball took a deflection off Chris Flood and forced Wollacott into a good save as he pushed it around the post for a Slough corner.
A moment of controversy came on 32 minutes as Wollacott clearly handled the ball a yard or two outside of his area after sliding too far out of his box with the ball still in his grasp. The keeper made doubly sure Slough could not take advantage of him being out of position by booting the ball away, but whilst the free kick was awarded, he was inexplicably not cautioned for the offence. Slough were unable to test Wollacott from the resulting set piece, George Wells laying the ball off for Lench whose shot was easily blocked.
The final chance of the first half came to Slough with Chris Flood’s half volley being easily saved. With Gloucester having created virtually nothing of note in the first half and Slough in control, the Rebels would no doubt have felt they should have been further ahead.
But with the pace Gloucester had in attack, Slough supporters knew their side would need a second goal to be comfortable. However, the second half got off to the worst possible start as the visitors equalised after just six minutes.
Jack Turner had initially done well to come out and block a shot, but was left 15 yards off his line when the ball dropped to Frenchman Fabien Roberts, who struck a wonderful dipping volley over the goalkeeper’s head from around 35 yards out, leaving him no chance whatsoever – certainly a contender for National League South Goal of the Season.
A few minutes later it nearly got worse for the Rebels as Parker kept himself onside and was one-on-one with Turner, but the Slough keeper wasn’t going to be beaten again so soon.
Realising that Gloucester had gained confidence from their equaliser and knowing they still had Parker’s pace to threaten in behind the defence, Slough made two changes - Flood and Warren Harris replaced with Tommy Wood and Manny Williams as the Rebels moved to a 4-3-3 formation in search for a goal.
On 75 minutes Slough very nearly had the goal they were searching for. A long free kick into the box was flapped at by Wollacott, and the ball fell kindly to Williams, whose effort was cleared off the line by Spencer Hamilton.
But Slough were dealt the killer blow just moments later as Gloucester moved down the other end of the pitch. Thomas beat the offside trap again, and this time he was able to slip the ball low past Turner to give his side the lead.
Chasing the game, Slough won a free kick right on the edge of the box, but Wells’ gentle lofted effort was headed over by the defensive wall.
In the dying minutes Slough pushed everyone forward, and Mark Nisbet teed up Josh Jackman for a strike shot which went over. Dunn flicked a header on target from a Wells cross, but Wollacott was not to be beaten again.
One final throw of the dice saw Turner advance into the Gloucester penalty area to attack a late corner kick, but the referee blew for full time shortly after Dunn hit a speculative volley over the bar, leaving Slough to again rue missed chances.
Report: Will Tuck
Gloucester City Line up
Jojo Wollacott, Jake Mawford, Noah Smerdon, Spencer Hamilton, Sam Avery (c), Joe Hanks, Josh Thomas, Luke Russe, Joe Parker, Zack Kotwica, Fabien Robert (Isaac Kelly 87). Unused substitutes: Aaron Nesbeth, Harry Hodges, Freddie Lapworth, Harry Williams.