Fleet 2-2 Slough Town

Both sides made it into Sunday’s draw without actually advancing into the First Round and will have to do it all again at Arbour Park on Tuesday.

Slough goalkeeper Rohan Luthra put through his own net twice as Fleet responded to Slough taking the lead in each half to stay in the Emirates FA Cup.

There were four changes for the Fleet, with a debut for Matthias Fanimo, and the big news of new man Jordon Ibe’s signing, with him on the bench alongside a recovered Dominic Poleon.

Slough would have wanted an early goal and they hit the front immediately. From the kick-off, Johnny Goddard countered and fired a ball towards goal, forcing a strong save from Mark Cousins. The corner was sent over by Matt Lench and Dan Bayliss got up to give the Rebels the lead with just a minute on the clock.

Slough continued to add pressure and another Goddard shot from the edge of the area was cleared away by Hayden White on the goaline. The Fleet took a while to respond but when they did, Toby Edser unleashed a shot from the edge of the area on 17 minutes that just missed the target. Young keeper Luthra, on loan from Cardiff City, struggled to settle and a corner nearly caught him out as Craig Tanner’s delivery saw the keeper mishandle the ball but he pounced on it again on his line. 

Nathan Odokonyero sent a shot whistling across goal and over the bar before Luthra fumbled another cross that ended up going wide.

Tempers rose as George Alexander performed a rash challenge on Cousins as he raced through on a poor Fleet back pass but only a yellow card was awarded.

It took just two minutes into the second half for the scores to be level. Again it was a corner that created the uncertainty in the Slough ranks, falling to Luthra who succeeded only in letting the ball through his hands and over the line. 

Odokonyero came close to doubling the Fleet’s tally when he sprung the offside line in the Slough defence but as he tried to get more space for a shot, Luthra redeemed himself and pulled off a good save to deny the young striker. 

Slough began to play more advanced football and reclaimed the lead on 56 minutes with former Fleet man Goddard again doing the damage, finding himself well-positioned to shoot from a delivery into the box from the left. 

There were plenty of cheers when Poleon stepped off the bench and the Fleet’s top scorer earned himself a chance with his first few touches as two efforts drifted across the face of goal, the second skimming the post. Darren McQueen saw a similar chance go the same way and Luthra got in the way of a close-range reaction shot from Poleon. 

Just as Fleet fans might have thought it wasn’t to be their day, they equalised in a carbon-copy of the first goal with 10 minutes left. Omari Sterling-James sent a corner floating over everyone in the six-yard box and as Luthra tried to punch clear, it came off his glove and went in once more.

Slough held on for the draw to take the Fleet back to Arbour Park, leaving both sides to keep an eye out for Ball 79 in Sunday’s draw.

EUFC: Cousins, White, Hollis, Cissé, Domi, Edser, Fanimo (Sterling-James 46), McQueen, Tanner, Amoo (Poleon 61), Odokonyero (Coulthirst 74). Subs: O’Neill, Wright, Chapman Ibe
STFC: Luthra, Jackman, Bayliss, Lench, Goddard, Chambers-Parillon (Ogbonna 74), Davies, Eweka, Dyce, Sundire, Alexander (Minhas 90). Subs not used: North, McElroy, Spicer.
Attendance: 1,134

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