Match Report - Kettering Town (Home, Play-Off Semi-Final)
Poppies pay the penalty, Rebels win a bank holiday day-trip to the Norfolk coast
1 - 0 (Coles, 13m); 1 - 1 (O'Connor, 36m); 2 - 1 (Dobson, PEN, 52m); 3 - 1 (Dobson, PEN, 71m)
Man of Match: Sean Fraser
Slough Town are just 90 minutes away from playing National League South football next season after defeating Kettering Town in the Play-off Semi-Final at Arbour Park.
Two penalty kicks from James Dobson in the second half put Slough in control after an even first half in which Perry Coles opened the scoring, with Aaron O’Connor levelling for the visitors who went on to have a strong spell. The Rebels will now make the trip to King’s Lynn on Bank Holiday Monday for the Final.
The two sides played out the opening ten minutes without creating a chance, but then a Rhys Hoenes cross came into the Slough box, with Matthew Stevens just unable to make contact in front of goal.
Slough were gifted the opening goal on 13 minutes, but it owed a lot to the persistence of Perry Coles. A seemingly harmless clearance from Matt Day was headed back towards his own goal by Orrin Pendley, but with nowhere near enough power – and Coles was able to nip in front of goalkeeper Paul White to touch the ball past him from just inside the box.
Pendley then did well to head behind a dangerous deep cross from Sean Fraser, and minutes later Dobson tried his luck from the edge of the box, but put it wide.
The first main talking point came on 28 minutes when Kettering had a goal disallowed. Former Mansfield midfielder Lindon Meikle took the ball down the right and crossed in for Stevens to poke it past Jack Turner, but from an offside position.
Kettering started to pile the pressure on and O’Connor saw a fierce drive deflected over, but on 36 minutes the Poppies were level. Michael Richens’ cross in was controlled by O’Connor and touched back to him by Stevens, finding him in a clearly offside position – but this time the flag stayed down and O’Connor had the simple task of playing the ball past Turner from five yards.
As half time approached, Kettering spurned two good chances to take the lead. First, a slip from Day on the Slough right left O’Connor with a run at goal, but Turner rushed out to block his shot behind.
Minutes later, a ball over the top from Rene Howe sent Stevens running clear, but he shot well over the bar with Day rushing back to put pressure on.
Early in the second half Pendley was called upon again to turn behind a dangerous cross from Dobson, and the Slough winger was in the thick of the action yet again moments later as the Rebels won a penalty.
Dobson fed Coles in the box, and the striker played it back into Dobson’s path, with Richens tracking him and sliding in from behind, appearing to win the ball cleanly. However, referee Joel Mannix saw it as a foul and awarded a spot-kick, showing Richens a yellow card in the process. Dobson dusted himself down and coolly sent White the wrong way from 12 yards to put Slough back in front and score his 50th goal for Slough in the process.
Stevens was denied by Turner at his near post as Kettering looked for a response, and the Poppies were forced into a change with Ben Milnes replacing the injured O’Connor.
Warren Harris cleared a header off the line, but just a minute later came the next major talking point.
Chris Flood’s cross was spilt by White, with the ball rolling off his leg and all the way out to George Wells, who had joined the attack – and Wells touched the ball past White, only for the keeper to bring him down. Up stepped Dobson again, and this time he lashed the ball into the top corner to give Slough a two-goal cushion.
Kettering found themselves restricted to shots from distance, with Richens and Milnes firing the ball well off target.
Rene Howe saw another header cleared off the line by substitute Matt Lench, and it proved to be their final chance as Slough held on to their lead and sealed their place in Monday’s Final.
Slough Town: Jack Turner, Sean Fraser, George Wells, Matt Day, Mark Nisbet, Lee Togwell, James Dobson, Scott Davies, Perry Coles (Manny Williams), Chris Flood, Warren Harris (Matthew Lench)
Kettering Town: Paul White, Kalern Thomas (Gary Stohrer 90), Ben Toseland, Michael Richens, Gary Mulligan (c), Orrin Pendley, Lindon Meikle, Aaron O'Connor (Ben Milnes 67), Rene Howe, Matthew Stevens (Wilson Carvalho 79), Rhys Hoenes.