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Underwood: 'We're conceding too many and not scoring enough – it's not a good combination'

Photo. Andrew Batt

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In such a competitive league the fine margins, the rub of the green, have been going against the Rebels in recent weeks.

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to league leaders Dartford was the Rebels’ fourth on the spin in National League South and leaves them in unfamiliar territory towards the bottom of the table.

However, the Rebels display against the Darts was ‘much more like their old selves’ according to joint manager Jon Underwood, and he knows that all they need to get them back onto a better run of form is a win.

“It felt more like a Slough Town performance that we’ve seen over the years,” he said. “There was a togetherness, hard work. We went with a more defensive line-up, but we tried to have a clear way to get forward and hurt them. It wasn’t like we put 10 men behind the ball.

“It worked well in the first half and we managed to hurt them on a few occasions, but we didn’t get that goal. The message to them at half-time was ‘yes, we’ll give you a pat on the back for the first half display, but it means nothing if you don’t go out and start the second half well’. But unfortunately, they scored after 20 seconds, straight from the kick-off and got their second five minutes later.

“It felt like ‘here we go again’, but we were pleased with the response. We took the game to them and created some good opportunities. They had a man sent off, harshly it must be said, but we thought that if we could get one goal, we might get another for a point. We played well but there were five minutes when we didn’t do our jobs defensively. It feels like we’re getting punished for every mistake and we’re not being let off the hook. All teams make mistakes, but it just feels like the fine margins are going against us.”

Underwood says the Rebels have played reasonably well in three of the four defeats and could, possibly should, have taken points from the matches against Maidstone, Billericay and Dartford. The loss to Hungerford he admits was well below par. He also admits they’ve got issues at both ends of the field. A problem scoring goals and a problem keeping them out.

“Last season we were nicking games and we went on a great run at this stage,” he said. “But it wasn’t as if we were blowing teams away. We were edging games, it’s such fine margins. If we weren’t competitive, I would say we have a major issue but that’s not the case. We’ve been there before; you have these little runs. Maybe there are some tweaks needed in the squad but most of it can be solved by hard work. Things will turn. What we can’t do is have fall outs and players blaming each other. If everyone sticks together, we could get one win and things could change very quickly.”

He added: “We are still conceding too many goals though. That’s not been a hallmark of our sides over the years so that is a concern. We brought Guy Hollis and Mark Nisbet back into the side on Saturday and they acquitted themselves well. We believe we can solve the defensive problems. But we’re also not scoring enough goals and it’s not a good combination. Hopefully we’ll have Ben Harris back after this break. That will be a plus for us and we’re also looking into maybe adding one more player as well.”

Slough’s next game is due to be at Havant & Waterlooville on Wednesday, December 9.

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