11:45AM, Friday 23 August 2019
It hasn’t been an ideal start to the season for a number of reasons but joint manager Neil Baker believes the confidence will come flooding back to his players off the back of their last two results.
The Rebels are still without a win to their name in National League South but, having ground out 1-1 draws against Weymouth last week and at Maidstone United on Saturday, things are starting to click into gear once again.
On the balance of play, Saturday’s result was the right one, with Slough taking the lead through Matty Lench’s fine strike before being pegged back by another defensive mistake.
McClure rounded Jack Turner and turned the ball home from an acute angle but there was no need for the keeper to come rushing from his goal, especially when Guy Hollis was covering and appeared to have the situation under control.
“I think a draw was about right,” said Baker. “For 35/40 minutes we controlled the game and they didn’t really hurt us at all. We managed to get ourselves in front but then Jack (Turner) has made another error. He’s come charging out of his goal when he didn’t need to and their player’s gone round him.
“To be fair to him it’s an excellent finish from a really tight angle but Guy was there. He was in front of his man and would have dealt with it.”
Slough soaked up plenty of pressure from the Stones in the final 20 minutes but came through it to leave the Gallagher Stadium with a hard-earned point.
Now it’s down to Baker, Jon Underwood and the players to start turning one point into three, but things don’t get much easier for the Rebels over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Tomorrow (Saturday) they host Bath City, who’ve once again made a flying start to the season, before visiting Dulwich Hamlet on Monday. To top it off, the South is expected to be basking in another mini heatwave over the weekend.
“Bath City are an impressive side,” said Baker. “They’ve started well again and last season made the play-offs.
“They like to play a passing, high energy game and have some very good players.
“They don’t concede many goals and in fact conceded the lowest number of goals last season, so they’ll be very difficult to break down.
“We beat Dulwich away from home last season but had to soak up a lot of pressure to do it. They’re quite different this season but we’re confident we can go there and compete.
“There were 3,000 there last season and no doubt it will be another big crowd.
“It will be tough playing twice in three days, but even if we win one of the two games we’ll be happy. If we do that we’ll only be three points worse off than at that stage last season.”
Injuries, illness and an inability to hit the ground running have all contributed to the Rebels’ poor start, which sees the side languishing in 20th place. But Baker is confident that if the players continue working hard that first win is just around the corner.
“It hasn’t been an ideal start for a number of reasons,” he said. “But the players should take a lot of confidence from the last two games. We’ve still got some injury problems.
“Simon Dunn is feeling his hamstring and won’t be fit this weekend. Ryan Bird also took a blow but hopefully should be ok. Josh Jackman will probably come back in for one of the two games and Francis (Amartey) is suspended for three games but, apart from that, we’re not too bad.
“Everyone wants to win games of football but we know we can get on a run of wins.
“We’re not going to struggle to win matches this season.”
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