SLOUGH Town have put in an official protest to the Berks & Bucks FA over Marlow using an ineligible player in the Senior Cup semi-final last Tuesday, writes Rob Stevens.

The Rebels were dealt a sucker punch when Kelvin Bossman scored from an offside position to land Marlow a 1-0 win at Oak Tree Road.

The possible ineligible Marlow player was Marcus Mealing, who it is believed featured for Walton Casuals in the Surrey Senior Cup.

That has not been confirmed and the Berks & Bucks FA are now investigating the matter but, if correct, Slough joint-manager Jon Underwood expects Marlow to be removed rom the competition.

He told the Observer: “It’s out of our hands now and between Marlow and the Berks & Bucks FA, who are looking into it, so we will have to wait and see.

“The Berks & Bucks are the only county FA to have this rule. We had to leave out four players because of it, and it appears Marlow did not.

“It has been reported and we will wait and see what happens but the normal expectation is for the guilty club to be removed from the competition.

“The Senior Cup was a clear priority for us at this stage of the season and we wanted to get into the final.

“It was a frustrating night as we missed chances and got done my a sucker punch because we know their player was offside.

“It’s not how we want to get into the final, but we weakened ourselves by respecting the rules and, if Marlow have not, then we would expect to go through instead.”

The Rebels turn their attention back to the National League South and a trip across Berkshire to rivals Hungerford Town this Saturday (3pm).

Both sides are unbeaten in their last five league games, so Underwood expects another tough match, and he believes Slough would have to win all their remaining fixtures to have any hope of reaching the play-offs.

He said: “I was quite critical of us after the draw against St Albans City last weekend but we’re five games unbeaten now and that’s one of our best runs of the season.

“We aim to stay unbeaten in the next five games and that would be a tremendous way to end the season.

“The teams above us dropped points last weekend, so had we won this might have been a different conversation, but we probably needed to win all of our last six to reach the play-offs.

“If we were to win our last five and other results go our way, then we might have a chance, but that’s very difficult in this league.

“We’re trying to win every game but we need to be realistic and say there are teams in a far better position that we are.

“We wanted to be competitive week-in-week-out and we have been all season. If we can keep on doing that then we will deserve to finish where we end up.

“I would like to finish in the top-half or the top-10.”

On the trip to Hungerford, Underwood added: “They’ve got an identical run and we’re probably the form teams in the league which no-one would’ve anticipated at the start of March.

“We know Hungerford are very good at their place. It’s a tricky pitch with the slope and the surface isn’t the best. They grind out results and their manager has done a fantastic job with a young side.

“They’ve got out of the relegation zone but it’s still very tight down at the bottom, so there’s a lot to play for.

“We beat them narrowly in the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup but we were impressed with them on the night. We’re expecting a closely fought game again.”