Published: 15:45, 02 December 2018
| Updated: 21:02, 02 December 2018
Gillingham overcame a difficult first half to see off part timers Slough Town on Sunday.
The Gills were second best in the opening half and grateful to see the non-league side miss the target with most of their efforts.
Darren Oldaker made them pay for wasted chances, putting the Gills ahead early in the second half. His goal was enough to send the Gills through to the third round for the first time since 2012.
Slough, sitting 13th in National South, three divisions below the Gills had already beaten Sholing, Bristol Manor Farm, Eastbourne Borough and Sutton United to get to the second round, seven games in total after three of the ties went to replays.
They beat Sutton on penalties to earn a place in round two while the Gills overcame Hartlepool in extra-time after a replay of their own.
Skipper Gabriel Zakuani overcame a back injury to start as manager Steve Lovell named a strong team, with just one enforced change from their league win over Bristol Rovers, as Dean Parrett replaced suspended Callum Reilly.
Gillingham had slipped up against the likes of Brackley Town (twice), Stevenage and Carlisle in recent years and Lovell wasn’t taking any chances at Arbour Park, the small but tidy home of the Rebels.
The Gills made a positive start, but it didn’t last, as they were second best for most of the opening half.
Elliott List had the game’s first shot, teed up by Darren Oldaker, but the keeper had no problem dealing with the low shot.
Slough quickly got a foothold on the match, winning plenty of possession in midfield, not allowing the Gills to settle. Gabriel Zakuani blocked a shot from striker James Dobson but thankfully for the Gills many of Slough’s chances were wide of the mark.
Gills’ best effort came from Dean Parrett, cutting inside before shooting but the keeper pushed the shot wide.
Tomas Holy was much the busier of the goalkeepers. When he failed to deal with a deep cross, Connor Ogilvie just about managed to clear. Appeals of handball were waved away but from the throw Matt Stevens’ overhead kick went narrowly over the bar.
The chances continued throughout the half. Scott Davies went close from distance, Lee Togwell and Mark Nisbet both had headers held by Holy, Stevens put a couple of efforts wide while George Wells and Chris Flood did likewise.
Gillingham were grateful for the half-time interruption as Warren Harris and Dobson both went close before the break.
The Gills weren’t a patch on the side which played some decent football in the league against Bristol Rovers.
The Gills went out with the same eleven for the second half and within three minutes they had taken the lead. Tom Eaves played the ball back for Oldaker and he picked his spot from 30 yards.
A run from Parker came to nothing as the Gills had a good chance to double the lead.
The goal hadn’t deflated the hosts, however, and they kept attacking with Warren Harris going close, volleying over. Dobson put another chance wide and then was denied by Holy after meeting a cross at the far post.
Lee Togwell was denied by a combination of Holy and Fuller from close range and sub Manny Williams headed a great chance wide as Slough continued to hunt for a goal. Despite their efforts, the Gills hung on to win the tie.
Slough: Turner, Jackman, Wells, S Togwell, Nisbet (Dunn 80mins), L Togwell, Dobson, Davies, Flood (Williams 70mins), Stevens, Harris (Soares 86mins). Subs not used: Smart, Fraser, Scott.
Gillingham: Holy, Fuller (O’Neill 74mins), Ogilvie, Ehmer, Zakuani, Oldaker, Byrne, Parrett (Garmston 63mins), List (Charles-Cook 80mins), Eaves, Parker. Subs not used: Hadler, Lacey, Hanlan, Rees.
Attendance: Not given
More by this authorLuke Cawdell