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2003/04 season review

Season Review 2003/04
by Nathan on 03/05/2004

A Season Review of the 2003/04 season that saw the Rebels claim 4th place in the league.

Season Review 2003
Season Review 2003/04
Slough Town, groundsharing with Windsor & Eton FC and under new manager Eddie Denton secured a vital top-six finish and a place in the Ryman Premier Division next season. Here's how it all happened:

With many of last season's squad joining Boreham Wood under former Rebels manager Steve Browne, new manager Eddie Denton had to pick a new squad from scratch. Freddie Hyatt , Alan Foster (pictured below right), Glen Harris, Matt Miller (pictured left), Danny Steer and others were amongst those who joined the club either during or just after pre-season.

The pre-season campaign began with a trip to last season's Division one North champions Northwood on 26th July. The Rebels started well, and things looked encouraging, but ten minutes into the second-half Northwood were 2-0 up. Ryan Spencer did pull one back from the spot after a Northwood defender handled inside the area, but it wasn't enough to stop manager Eddie Denton from losing his first match in charge.

The Rebels went on to hold Oxford City to a goalless draw at their Court Place Farm ground on the 29th, before traveling to Canvey Island, where we slumped to a 4-0 defeat. A trip to local rivals Maidenhead United followed, again the Rebels lost, but it was a far closer affair this time, 3-2 being the scoreline.

Slough Town played their first match at their temporary new home at Stag Meadow, home of Windsor & Eton FC in a middweek game against Conference new boys Aldershot Town. Although the visitors fielded a reserve team because the first-team were playing Accrington Stanley the following day, the Rebels battled hard and maybe deserved more than a 4-2 defeat, Freddie Hyatt (pictured left) scoring a Wayne Ronney type free-kick for Slough's second goal.

The start of the new league season began with a trip to Epsom & Ewell at Merland Rise. It saw the welcome return of Tony Boot (pictured right), who many Rebels fans thought would follow Steve Browne to Boreham Wood, or else sign for a Football League club. Eddie Denton picked up his first Rebels win here, with a comfortable 4-1 scoreline.

But the Rebels were brought back down to earth with an almighty crash as they lost 2-1 at home to Marlow on Bank Holiday Monday. A draw with Ashford Town (Mx) followed before the Rebels went on to beat Molesey 3-0 away, East Grinstead Town 5-0 in the FA Cup (pictured below left) and Leatherhead at home 3-1 in the league in the first match of September.

September wasn't the best of months for the Rebels. A defeat away to Whyteleafe was followed by a victory in the FA Cup, 2-0 to the Rebels at home against Godalming & Guildford of the Combined Counties League, before the Rebels lost away at Croydon Athletic 1-0. A 4-1 middweek home victory against Bracknell Town kept us in touch with the top six, but the Rebels went out of the FA Cup 4-1 in a replay against Welling United after the Rebels had drawn the first match 1-1 at Stag Meadow, a match where the Rebels were robbed right at the very end of the match due to a mixture of very poor refereeing and dirty play from Welling United.

Another defeat in the league followed, but this time it was a 4-0 away at Hampton & Richmond Borough. The Rebels then went on to beat Tooting & Mitcham United 2-0 at their Imperial Fields ground, where Ian Hodges (pictured right) scored Slough's second on his 21st birthday, and then the Corinthian-Casuals 2-1 at home, thanks to a 98th minute winner from Danny Steer. Then Slough Town traveled to league leaders Lewes at the Dripping Pan, which wasn't a very happy hunting ground for the Rebels as they have been knocked out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy here in the previous two years respectively. The Rebels weren't able to gain their revenge either, despite going into a 2-0 lead during the first-half. Banstead were beaten 5-1 at home before our FA Trophy (pictured below left) clash with Bishops Stortford.

The Rebels took Bishops Stortford to a replay having drawn 2-2 at Stag Meadow, but weren't able to progress as they lost the replay 2-1 at Woodside Park. A 2-2 draw at home to local rivals Staines Town followed. Tony Boot came of the bench to score an equaliser in injury time from the penalty spot after the Rebels had thrown away a 1-0 half-time lead. The Rebels went 2-0 up within the first 2 minutes of their match at home to Bromley. Slough went on to win that match 4-2. A 4-1 win away at Horsham, a 4-1 home defeat to Cheshunt in the Bryco League Cup, a 2-1 home league defeat to Dulwich Hamlet and a 1-0 away defeat to Croydon followed.

December brought mixed league fortunes. It began with a 3-0 win at home against the Metropolitan Police, before the reserves won the 02/03 Doxhill's Presidents Capital League Cup Final against Stevenage Borough, 7-0. Epsom & Ewell were dispatched with a 7-1 scoreline before a 0-0 draw at Marlow and a 2-1 win at Ashford Town (Mx) 2 days before Christmas. Boxing Day brought the tenants-landlords local derby between Slough Town and Windsor & Eton. Windsor goalkeeper Chuck Martini opened the scoring for Slough before the Royalists hit back with 3 goals to win the match 3-1.

Only four games in January, more bad luck in the league but a Berks & Bucks Cup (pictured left) victory against Maidenhead United at York Road turned out to be the high point of the month. Walton & Hersham beat us 3-1, the Rebels drew 1-1 against Hampton & Richmond Borough and lost 2-0 away at Worthing before we progressed in the Berks & Bucks Cup. The Tooting & Mitcham United game marked the welcome return of Veli Hakki, who rejoined the Rebels from Boreham Wood. He was brought on as a substitute for the last 20 minutes and his mere presence lifted the team's spirits as they went on to win the match 2-0.

This was the start of a run of six straight league wins that won Eddie Denton the Division One South Manager of the Month Award for February. Those wins included: Bromley 4-0 away, Staines Town 3-1 away, Lewes 1-0 at home and Dulwich Hamlet 4-2 away. The Rebels ended the month with a 1-1 draw at home against Walton & Hersham.

Not for the first time during the season, but the Rebels were again brought down to earth as they were thrashed 4-2 at Bracknell Town. But we recovered well and beat Croydon Athletic 1-0 at home and Banstead 2-1 away before the Corinthian-Casuals, who were bottom of the table at the time, produced a shock result by beating a dismal Rebels team by 4 goal to 1. A win against Egham Town (3-1 at home) and Leatherhead (3-2 away) followed before the end of March.

The Rebels began April with a 3-1 success at home to Molesey before the big local derby away at table-toppers Windsor & Eton. The Rebels produced a much improved display from the Boxing Day encounter and Ian Hodges scored a hatrick and Tony Boot netted the goal of the season, lobbing the ball over Windsor 'keeper Chuck Martini from outside the area, as the Rebels beat their landlords 4-1. We were dumped out of the Berks & Bucks Cup against Bracknell in a "not bothered" type of performance by 1 goal to 0. Whyteleafe, Egham Town and the Metropolitan Police were beaten before the Rebels effectively sealed promotion with a 1-1 home draw against Worthing.

The last day of the season saw the Rebels entertain Croydon knowing that a point will make their promotion official. With Dulwich Hamlet needing to hope Slough lose and to win by 16 goal themselves to prevent the Rebels going up, we all knew that it didn't really matter about the outcome, but Slough rounded off a good season with a 3-1 win.

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