Rivalry resumed: Maidenhead United vs Slough Town in the County Cup

Alan Devonshire and Manny Williams will be in the dugout for Maidenhead United vs Slough Town on Tuesday night. Photos: Darren Woolley and Philip Benton.
Alan Devonshire and Manny Williams will be in the dugout for Maidenhead United vs Slough Town on Tuesday night. Photos: Darren Woolley and Philip Benton.

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The latest chapter in an East Berkshire footballing rivalry will be written on Tuesday 15th November when Maidenhead United entertain Slough Town in Round One of the Berks & Bucks Men’s Senior Cup.

For Magpies fans, their side may have been taking on rival teams from Marlow and Windsor for longer, but matches against the Rebels are the ones they are most desperate to win.  For Slough fans, the days of competing against Wycombe Wanderers for league points seem some way away from ever being re-established so they will be just as keen to take the local bragging rights this time.

Since the modern Slough Town was formed after World War II following the split of the two teams – Slough and Slough Centre – who made up ‘Slough United’, the Magpies and the Rebels were regular rivals in firstly the Corinthian League and then the Athenian League in the 50’s and 60’s.  When both clubs joined the Isthmian League in 1973, Slough progressed as Maidenhead stagnated.  By 1998 however, Town were relegated from the Conference and United joined them two seasons later in the Isthmian Premier under Alan Devonshire.  The Rebels were relegated again in 2000/01, later becoming homeless and playing outside of the Borough.  There has not been a league fixture since as the York Road side have enjoyed a period of pre-eminence.

Related: End of an era at Slough Town

Manny Williams will be in the Slough Town dugout on Tuesday night. Photo: Philip J.A Benton/philipbenton.com

Since those last league meetings, a handful of County Cup derbies have kept the candle burning, all of them played at York Road.  Maidenhead’s one visit to Arbour Park was a successful one, albeit against Hungerford Town in the 2017 BBFA final.  Conversely, they never won a match at Wexham Park.  Following the creation of Slough Town, the clubs have met some 21 times in the BBFA Cup – Maidenhead have ten cup tie wins to Slough’s nine.

The most recent ‘SL Classico’ came just under six years ago at the semi-final stage, on Tuesday 17th January 2017.  Given the proximity of two sides separated by just nine miles, many players have represented both clubs, with the likes of Mick Chatterton and Gary Attrell revered by both rival fanbases.  Chris Flood and Gavin James are rather less celebrated former Maidenhead players but they both scored early on for the then Southern Premier League Rebels that night against the National League South leaders in front of more than 1,000 spectators.  Guy Hollis was then sent off for an ill-advised challenge on Maidenhead’s Rene Steer and the prolific Dave Tarpey reduced the arrears.  Jordan Cox equalised in the second half and then Sean Marks nodded Maidenhead ahead, gesturing angrily to his Slough defensive opponents as he did so as the game threatened to boil over.  The depleted visitors then camped in the Magpies half until injury time when Rebels ‘keeper Scott was stranded in the Maidenhead box having come up for a corner, allowing James Mulley to run from the halfway line to secure the win and prompt a small pitch invasion.  Scenes.

George Wells. Photo: Darren Woolley.
George Wells during his spell with Maidenhead United. Photo: Darren Woolley.

Rebels fans will have better memories of their previous visit, on 12th October 2013.  There were two divisions between the clubs at the time but the visitors inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the York Road club, the third successive home reverse by that score line for Maidenhead in league and cup after a promising start to the season had all but dissipated.  Scott Harris gave Slough an early lead.  Danny Green equalised for Maidenhead but the game was up before half time thanks to an Ed Smith penalty and David Woozley’s header.  The gleeful away contingent sang “Conference South, you’re having a laugh” and Magpies manager Johnson Hippolyte admitted to being “embarrassed” at the result.

Berks & Bucks County FA Men’s Senior Cup Second Round draw

  • Chesham United vs Beaconsfield Town
  • Hungerford Town vs Shrivenham
  • Buckingham Athletic OR Flackwell Heath vs Amersham Town
  • Maidenhead United OR Slough Town vs Marlow
  • Bracknell Town vs Newport Pagnell Town OR Didcot Town

To add spice to Tuesday night’s instalment, Slough have four former Maidenhead players in their squad this season.  George Wells was a regular in the Magpies line up at left back two seasons ago.  In the same campaign, goalkeeper Rhys Forster had a short spell as number two ‘keeper to Taye Ashby-Hammond.  Manny Williams is another who is liked equally by supporters of both clubs whilst Ryan Bird – currently dual-registered with Windsor – had a less-than-fruitful spell in SL6 during 2018/19.

Messrs Baker and Underwood were unhappy at the dismissal of Hollis in that most recent encounter in 2017 but they won’t be in the dugout on Tuesday night having ended their near decade of success in charge of the Rebels.  The tie may not be high on Alan Devonshire’s list of priorities but he will be keen to avoid those bragging rights travelling back up the A4 after the match.

Tickets for the match are priced at £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and ages 17-22, £3 for age 16 and under.  Proof of ID may be required.  Supporters can pre-purchase via Maidenhead United Web (ktckts.com).

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