Much-needed normality returns to Arbour Park as Rebels beat young Gunners

Some much-needed normality returned to Arbour Park on Tuesday night as Slough Town played out an entertaining friendly with Arsenal's young guns in front of a bumper crowd.

A crowd of 1,348 people packed out the ground to see the Rebels win 2-0 with new signing Tom Derry scoring twice.

It capped off a long pre-season for the Rebels and joint manager Jon Underwood hopes it will have set the players up for the season in the right frame of mind.

They kick-off their National League South campaign at home to Chelmsford City on Saturday (3pm).

“Tuesday was great,” said Underwood. “I don't think the performance was perfect, and as managers you always want more, but there were a lot of positives.

“Tom scored a couple of goals which is great because you want your strikers scoring. There was also a first clean sheet of pre-season for Jonathan North, and I know he's been desperate for that.

“A huge plus was the numbers in the ground. It felt like football was back.

“We've had reasonable attendances for the other friendlies, but this felt different. There was a buzz about the place, and it might just give our players the feeling of normality they need before the season starts.

“We also managed to introduce more of the u23s squad, which was a great experience for them.”

The Rebels final pre-season encounter was supposed to be against Aldershot Town on Saturday, a match they lost 2-1, but again Underwood was pleased with how the side played against a team that's likely to set up in a similar way to Chelmsford this weekend.

“We had planned it as our last one,” he said. “But then the Arsenal game came about late, and it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“We wanted the Aldershot game because it's as close as we'll get to Chelmsford on Saturday, even though Aldershot play at a higher level.

“We were pleased with how we played and thought we edged the first half. As you do in pre-season games we then made some changes and had a poor spell when they scored two goals but we recovered well, got a goal back and we finished the game strongly.

“We’re happy with 75 per cent of the game on Saturday.

“You have to make changes in pre-season because you've got to get minutes into everyone. That's pre-season, but over the last few weeks we feel we've gradually improved and we feel ready to go.”

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