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STFC Season Review 04/05

Archive 2004/05 - Season Review
by Nathan on 17/05/2005

A season review of our 2004/05 season, arguably one of the best in the club's recent history.

STFC Race night + End of season
Season Review 2004/05
After yet another summer of uncertainty, with questions as to whether Slough Town Football Club would survive to kick a ball this season, they managed to find the money to pay for the rent of Windsor & Eton's Stag Meadow ground for the second successive season.

Rebels manager Eddie Denton (pictured left) managed to keep many of the squad that finished the previous campaign so strongly, but with Alan Foster, Freddie Hyatt Lee Riddell and Ryan Williams released and prolific goalscorer, Tony Boot (pictured below right) snapped up by Conference club Dagenham & Redbridge.

Despite the losses, Eddie Denton managed to replace them with signings of his own. James Saulsbury arrived from Thame United, Sam Shepherd from Oxford City and young goalkeeper Michael Parkin amongst those to join the Rebels

The 2004/05 season started with one of the best pre-season campaigns of recent years. Goals from Veli Hakki and Josias Carbon got the season off to a winning start at Beaconsfield SYCOB.

Pre-season continued on 31st July. Prior to kick-off at Maidenhead, Rebels fans gathered at Slough High Street and handed out leaflets advertising the STFC Funday on August 1st. The trip to Maidenhead didn't turn out too well for the Rebels, as the Magpies ran out 2-0 winners.

After that followed two wins over Thame United and Team Bath respectively, before a reserve team travelled to Abingdon Town and were defeated 2-1.

The Rebels kicked off the competitive season at Dover Athletic. The team were greeted by 100 travelling fans who had made the journey. Unfortunately, the Rebels undeservedly lost the game 3-1.

But the team reacted well and went the next six games without defeat, but then went on to lose three games in a row, going into their start of their FA Cup campaign at Croydon Athletic. The Rebels scraped past their Ryman Division One opponents, perhaps luckily by 1 goal to nil.

Slough then made it four league games without a win despite a spirited comeback in the last 20 minutes when they entertained Yeading at home, coming back from 2-0 down to secure a creditable draw with the league leaders.

Then came the visit of Conference South side Welling United to Stag Meadow for the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the second successive season. Last time round, Welling gained a lucky draw thanks to a last minute equaliser, but this time there were no doubts as to who deserved to go through. Slough comfortably fought Welling off, winning 4-1.

The Rebels managed to come through two difficult away games at Leyton and Kingstonian with six points to kick-start their league season and to keep them with the pack chasing a play-off place, The FA Cup 3rd Qualifying round saw the visit of then-league leaders Cheshunt to Stag Meadow. The scores were level at 0-0 at the break, but the Rebels then went rampant in the last 30 minutes and ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.

But disappointment was to follow in the league as Slough only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Folkestone, and were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at Chelmsford to send home the travelling fans who had made the journey to Essex thoroughly miserable.

An FA Cup 1st round tie with Coca-Cola League One side Walsall was at stake as Salisbury City travelled to Slough for the second time in the season. Slough had already beaten Salisbury once so were feeing confident ahead of the game. Because the game was held on a Sunday, Sky Sports came down to film some highlights and some lucky Slough fans were able to see themselves on TV later that evening.

Slough started the game well and Alex Haddow scored a beautiful free-kick, curling the ball around the wall and into the corner to send the Slough fans wild during the opening minutes, but Salisbury didn't give up that easily and managed to level the scores before Ian Hodges (pictured left) restored Slough's lead midway through the first half.

Home fans must have started to panic during the second half as Salisbury pushed hard for an equaliser and got one and looked like getting many more, but midfielder Darron Wilkinson spoilt Salisbury's party in the 88th minute, slamming the ball home from close range to send the Slough fans jubilant and the Rebels into the FA Cup 1st round to face League opposition yet again.

The Rebels, with their mind obviously on the Walsall game the following week entertained Dorking in the 1st round of the FA Trophy. A thoroughly deserved win by the scoreline of 7-0 inflicted Dorking's second 7-0 defeat in as many games!

Then came the big day. The Slough fans weren't going to miss this opportunity to stage a red-card protest about the club not having a ground in Slough, a protest not ignored by the BBC cameras that were there. With the club and fans looking forward to a slot as the featured game on BBC's Match of the Day, Slough kicked off on a bright and sunny afternoon. Rebels fans started to believe that the "impossible" was indeed possible when Ian Hodges gave Slough an unlikely lead with around 20 minutes gone, but Walsall's Darren Wrack levelled the scores when he headed past debutant goalkeeper Shaun Allaway.

With Slough doing most of the defending, it seemed only a matter of time before Paul Merson's Walsall would take the lead, but Rebels midfielder Glen Harris (pictured right) had other ideas. He collected the ball inside the area following Josias Carbon's cross saw his first shot blocked but saw the rebound hit the back of the net to send all Slough fans absolutely crazy.

As time ran out, the nerves were even getting to manager Eddie Denton but the final whistle put those nerves to sleep and Slough through to the FA Cup 2nd round.

With the excitement of beating Walsall and producing the biggest FA Cup shock of the weekend's action, the Rebels were bought back down to earth as they failed to take advantage of an early lead at home to Worthing, managing only a 1-1 draw in the club's first league action for almost a month.

Further progress was made in the FA Trophy as Slough gained revenge for the 3-0 defeat they suffered their earlier on in the season, as Matt Murphy (pictured left) scored a late winner to give Slough a 1-0 win at Chelmsford to set up a 3rd round tie at home to Hendon.

Possibly Slough's best ever chance to progress to the 3rd round of the FA Cup ended with many Slough fans leaving Stag Meadow at 5:00pm on Saturday 4th December 2004 feeling totally gutted. Glen Harris gave Slough a 4th minute lead from the penalty spot, but Yeading fought back to claim a deserved 3-1 victory on the day.

The players did well to put that disappointment behind them as the following week saw the return of former Rebels manager and "fans favourite" Steve Browne taking his Dover Athletic side, struggling at the foot of the table to Stag Meadow.

Slough raced into a comfortable 3-0, but a late Dover comeback, mainly due to Slough's poor defending, went unrewarded in the end as the Rebels almost threw the game away in a 3-2 victory.

Slough ended the year 2004 with two away games Harrow and Billericay, won 2-1 and lost 2-0 respectively.

The year 2005 began with a scrappy 0-0 draw at Salisbury City before a 2-1 defeat at Braintree Town. Slough's already faint hopes of a play-off place were fading fast.

The Bryco League Cup campaign started with a totally one-sided 1-0 win over Cheshunt, who had slipped dramatically down the table since the sides last met in September.

The Rebels made more progress in FA competitions, this time in the FA Trophy as Hendon twice fought back from 2 goals down to eventually lose 4-3 as Slough made it unnecessarily hard work to beat their London rivals.

More disappointment was to follow in the League as the Rebels travelled to struggling Northwood, as the Rebels lost 1-0. Not many Slough fans would have travelled to 2nd placed Eastleigh with much optimism following their recent league form, and the fact that the South coast side had thrashed them 4-1 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, but Alex Haddow (pictured left) netted his last goals for the club before leaving for the club he scored them against as he scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory for the Rebels.

The Berks & Bucks cup meant a trip to Addams Park to face our arch-rivals Wycombe Wanderers in early February. It may have only been a youth team, but the League Two side claimed the bragging rights as Wycombe ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in a virtually empty Causeway stadium.

The FA Trophy 4th round saw the visit of Conference South high-flyers Thurrock to Stag Meadow. For the third time in the season, the Rebels beat a team in a higher league as a Glen Harris goal sent Slough through to the 5th round to play at Gravesend & Northfleet.

Salisbury fans must have been sick and tired of journey's to Stag Meadow as, for the fourth time in the season, Salisbury City came away from Windsor's ground defeated (even Windsor managed to beat them in the league). Slough booked a Bryco Cup quarter-final tie at home to AFC Wimbledon with a comprehensive 3-0 victory on the night.

But whatever form Slough managed to produce in cup competitions they just couldn't reproduce it in the league as two straight defeats wasn't the ideal preparation for the AFC Wimbledon tie.

AFC Wimbledon, leading the Ryman 1st division at the time were given a lesson in how Premier Division football was played as, despite the AFC Dons holding a 2-0 half-time lead, Slough fought back to claim a deserved 4-2 win and a place in the semi-finals.

Slough's run in the FA Trophy came to an end despite a brilliant performance at Conference national side Gravesend & Northfleet. The 'fleet looked set to claim a comfortable victory as they took an early lead, but two excellent goals (including one 30 yard shot that spun and dipped over the 'keeper and went in off the underside of the crossbar that almost won Goal of the Season) from defender Michael Murphy (pictured left) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead, but it wasn't to be as Gravesend went on to score two more goals to win the match 3-2.

In the first Slough-Windsor derby of the season (rearranged from December 27) ended with the Slough fans going home the happier of the two sets of fans as Slough fought back from 1 goal down at half-time to win 3-1.

Slough claimed a 1-1 draw at Wealdstone, sandwiched in-between two 2-1 Bryco Cup wins over Heybridge Swifts over two legs to book a cup final tie with Alan Devonshire's Hampton.

Tonbridge didn't do themselves any favours in their battle for Premier Division survival, as they didn't give Slough much of a game. Defender James Saulsbury and Matt Murphy scored the goals as Slough won 2-0.

Windsor & Eton vs. Slough Town - round 2. 0-0 at the interval, but the hosts flopped over and died in the second half as Slough easily ran out 4-0 winners.

Having had a brilliant season, Slough went on to finish it poorly as earlier success finally took its toll on the team, who had to play a total of 12 games during April. They went on a run of 1 win in ten games before the Bryco Cup final at Staines on the 28th April.

Josias Carbon gave Slough the lead midway through the first half, but Hampton levelled the scores before the break. An Ian Hodges brace in the second half secured Slough's first piece of silverware in 15 years.

A group of dedicated Slough fans walked the full 62 miles to our final league game of the season to raise cash to be split between the Supporters Trust and the East Berkshire Women's aid equally. Slough finished off an excellent season with a 2nd half fight-back at Worthing to claim a 4-1 victory.

 

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