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Baker: 'We won't go far wrong if we continue to play like that'

Slough Town were the better side for large parts of Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Maidstone United at Arbour Park, but joint boss Neil Baker wouldn’t call the loss a missed opportunity.

As disappointed as he was to lose the game, he was more than satisfied with the Rebels’ performance over 90 minutes and said they won’t go far wrong in their bid for the play-offs if they continue playing that way.

Having taken the lead through Paul Hodges’ brilliantly judged lob, they fell behind to first half goals from Scott Rendell and George Porter. Hodges scored again early in the second half, tucking home Dan Roberts’ low cross, and it appeared momentum might be with the Rebels and carry them to victory.

However, the Stones seized back control in the closing stages and won the game with a late header from Porter, his second of the game. Rather than criticise his players’ mistakes and look at the negatives, Baker preferred to reflect afterwards on an entertaining game of football played by two good sides.

“I wouldn’t call it a missed opportunity,” he said. “Maidstone are a very good side. They’re a full-time outfit and have a lot of experience in their side.

“I thought they were the better side in the first half, but in the second half I thought we came out and caused them some problems. We competed and worked hard.

“On another day we draw the game 2-2 or possibly even win it.

“It’s a brilliant ball in for their third goal, their midfielder’s (Porter) run from deep.

“You can always look back at every goal and work out who’s made a mistake in the lead up to it, but I think on the whole, apart from the first goal - which we were really unhappy about, a free header for Rendell - we’ve made them work hard and I thought it was a really good game of football.”

The Rebels had hoped to bounce back at Chippenham Town on Tuesday, but potential cases of COVID-19 in both camps led to the game being postponed. Baker confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that the trip to Billericay Town on Saturday can go ahead as planned.

The Rebels have a tough schedule in November. Billericay on Saturday followed by Hungerford at home on Tuesday and a trip to leaders Dartford the following Saturday.

“We’ve come out as the loser today,” said Baker on Saturday. “Whether that was deserved or not I don’t know, but it was a good game between two good sides.

“We must take it on the chin. We’re going to lose games of football but if they give us that effort every week, we’re not going to go too far wrong.

“I thought the game went one way and then the other. It was a good game. Hodges made a great chance for himself to score a third and it’s gone just wide.

“But listen, we’re proud of the lads. Maidstone have had a great start to the season, they’ve only lost one game at Chelmsford where they missed two penalties and probably should have won. I thought we ran them close and were unlucky.

“They’ve got threats all over the pitch. They were training yesterday while our lads were working. We might have deserved a point today, but we didn’t get it.

“Credit to Maidstone they kept going. I thought from 75 minutes on they started to turn the screw a little bit and put us under a little bit of pressure. We always want to be a competitive team and we were today.

“There were some mistakes at times but if the players give us that every week, we’ll be ok.”

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