The Non-League 100: Slough Town 1971-73 – close to glory

slough-tSLOUGH TOWN may have lost the FA Amateur Cup final in 1973, but the Rebels were also Athenian League champions in both 1971-72 and 1972-73. Their success enabled the club to step-up from the Athenian to the Isthmian League.

In both seasons, Slough finished ahead of a strong Dagenham side by four points. Both clubs were promoted in 1973 and then in 1974, went straight through the Isthmian League second division.

It was a Slough team brimming with experience. Goalkeeper Ian Wolstenholme was an England international and had won the FA Amateur Cup with Enfield. Ian Reid, a skilful full back, was another international who had experienced victory at Wembley with both Enfield and Crook Town. Roger Day was another former Enfield man with a winners’ medal in his trophy cabinet. And then there was 38 year-old Alf D’Arcy, a veteran who had seen it all in amateur football.

The Slough team was managed by Tommy Lawrence who had led Enfield to triumph in the Amateur Cup after a playing career that was cut short in 1964 by a head injury in a trial match for the Great Britain Olympic XI. Lawrence’s Enfield won the competition in 1967 against Skelmersdale and the hub of that team found itself at Slough a few years later.

Slough had no less than eight internationals in their squad. Slough’s key striker was Micky Chatterton, who scored more than 40 goals in 1972-73. He had been picked up from Maidenhead United in the summer of 1972. A burly forward who had two good feet, he scored five goals on his debut for Slough against Harlow Town.

Slough Town met Walton & Hersham in the final after beating Cadbury Heath, Eastbourne United, Leytonstone, Blyth Spartans  and Bishop’s Stortford on the way. Chatterton scored the winning goal against Stortford in a 1-0 victory at Watford’s Vicarage Road.

With considerably more experience, Slough were seen as favourites to lift the cup, but it was another Lawrence acolyte from Enfield, Roger Connell, that won the game in the last minute, 1-0 to Walton.

It was heartbreaking for Slough, but they had enjoyed a tremendous season and could look forward to Isthmian League football in 1973-74.

The team that played at Wembley was: Ian Wolstenholme, Ian Reid, Ray Eaton, Keith Mead, Alf D’Arcy, Terry Reardon, Micky Chatterton, Roger Day, Mick O’Sullivan, Kenny Gaine and Geoff Anthony.

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