For the second year running United dipped out of the FA Cup to National League South opposition at the SKYex, this time around the victors were Slough Town who progress to the third round qualifying of the competition.
With Paul Field unavailable and Omar Rowe injured, Manager Ritchie Hanlon made four changes to his previous starting XI with starts for Jack Williams, Jamie Hanlon, Tarik Moore-Azille and Steve Ngunga while in addition to the aforementioned pair, Luke Warner-Eley and Sean O’Brien dropped to the bench.
The first half was to be pretty much played out in the United defensive half of the field however it was United that had the ball in the net first with Sam Ashton’s strike being ruled out for an earlier offside.
The visitors were out of the blocks at full pelt with the first chance coming after just 19 seconds as Temi Eweka fed the ball to Nathan Minhas, his 20 yard effort being held by Jacob Adams in the United goal.
What was to become a rare effort on goal for United came in the ninth minute when Steve Ngunga cut inside from the right but his shot from the edge of the box was inches over the Rebels goal.
Slough started to take control of the ball and as a subsequence the chances as we moved towards the twenty minute mark. Dan Bayliss headed over a Matt Lench corner and minutes later Lench won possession in the United half and tried his luck from 20 yards but Adams comfortably held his shot low down.
Within seconds Minhas was put through but his effort was tamely at Adams under pressure from Jerry Wiltshire and this effort was quickly followed by another as David Ogbonna broke on the left before picking out former United man Johnny Goddard but he could only shoot straight into Adams’ arms.
A speculative chance for United a minute later saw Jamie Hanlon play the ball inside to Mauro Vilhete but his 25 yard effort was well wide of the Rebels goal.
Just before the half hour mark it was the woodwork that this time kept the game scoreless. Rebels Player/manager Scott Davies won the ball on the United left, his deep cross was met beyond the far post by Minhas who saw his header come back into play of the base of the post before being cleared to safety.
32 minutes had elapsed when another glorious opening for the visitors was stopped by Adams quick reactions when a deep cross from the right was headed back into the mix by Bayliss who in doing so picked out Jeanmal Prosper who saw his powerful header from eight yards pushed over by the United stopper.
With United’s goal still under incessant pressure, the Rebels should have scored in the 35th minute when a low cross from the right found Ogbonna who managed to side foot the ball wide when scoring actually looked easier.
United had the ball in the net on 39 minutes as Mauro Vilhete broke away, his shot was well saved by the boot of Luthra with Sam Ashton firing home the rebound only to see that the assistant referee stand side had raised his flag presumably for offside against Vilhete on the original break.
Vilhete again tested Luthra just sixty seconds later, he collected an Amos Nasha pass and tried his luck from 20 yards with the visitors ‘keeper semi fumbling the ball around the post.
Three minutes from the break the visitors finally broke the deadlock in slightly controversial fashion as Tyrese Dyce fed the ball to Ogbonna, his first time effort came back off the upright and as the ball was recycled back into the area amidst shouts for handball Minhas smashed it home and with referee Abi Byrne seeing no offence the goal was given much to the annoyance of Cole Brown who was cautioned for his remonstrations.
This being the final point of note in the half, the visitors went in at the break deservedly a goal to the good.
The second half saw a bit more life in the United attack with a couple of half chances being created just before the hour mark. Hanlon fired a free-kick into the box, Wiltshire headed the ball upwards and as it dropped Luthra fumbled but United’s follow-up effort was well blocked by the Rebels defence.
Soon after Vilhete went close again, having exchanged passes with Nasha he fired in a shot that only just cleared the Rebels crossbar and this was soon followed by Hanlon and Sanmi Odelusi combining on the left with the skipper playing the ball in to Ashton but his effort went wide of the target.
It was 80 minutes before the visitors had a noteworthy second half chance of their own as Goddard and substitute Tom McElroy combined in the United area with the goalbound effort from the latter being well blocked away by a sliding Wiltshire.
Two minutes later however the game was pretty much over as Goddard broke away on the right flank, his inch perfect chipped cross to the far post saw Minhas arrive to place the easiest of headers into the net to double his sides’ advantage.
United’s last real piece of creativity came a minute later when Brown and substitute Ayo Faniyan exchanged passes leaving a shooting chance for the United striker that Luthra held comfortably and that was it for another season in the Emirates FA Cup for United.
All that is left is for me to wish Slough well in the later rounds of the competition.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Mauro Vilhete.
Print the Teamsheet: Here.
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