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Underwood says Slough Town tossed away their chances of FA Cup progression against Bath City

Slough Town boss Jon Underwood admitted the Rebels weren’t ruthless enough in the first half of Tuesday’s 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Bath City at Arbour Park.

The Rebels created plenty of chances in the opening 45 minutes, most notably for Dan Roberts and Paul Hodges, but they couldn’t take them, and Underwood said afterwards they’d ‘tossed away’ their chances of progressing.

Freddie Hinds chipped home the game’s only goal early in the second half and Underwood admitted the home side looked increasingly desperate and short of ideas as they pressed for an equaliser.

The FA Cup exit, and Saturday’s 3-1 league defeat at Dorking Wanderers, means the side’s early season form has tapered off in the past few days.

They sit 11th in the table ahead of Welling United’s visit to Arbour Park on Saturday.

“We’re bitterly disappointed to go out of the cup,” said Underwood.

“It was a game of two halves. I thought we were excellent in the first half, I thought we were the better team. We had three or four chances and we didn’t take them. Their keeper has made some excellent saves to be fair to him, but we haven’t been ruthless enough. We were the dominant force in the first half, and we needed to turn that into a goal or two and we didn’t.

“Then we paid the price with a sloppy goal early in the second half. That allowed them to get behind the ball and they played well to be fair once they got in front and we ran out of ideas a little bit. I think we ran out of attacking options and we ended up throwing Sam Togwell up front to give us a bit of a presence up there.

He added: “We have had the chances, but we’ve also not shown enough quality in the final third and that’s what I put it down to. A little bit of sloppiness defensive and not being ruthless enough in the final third.”

Underwood couldn’t fault the effort of his side but admits they should have been more clinical when chances presented themselves in the opening 45 minutes. A combination of wasteful finishing and inspired goalkeeper conspired against them and Bath raised their performance level after taking the lead early in the second half, finding an extra gear which Slough’s injury-hit squad failed to match.

Underwood believes the outcome would have been different had they taken a first half lead and said they wouldn’t look to hide behind injuries or the small size of their squad as they look to bounce back in the league on Saturday. Welling have yet to pick up a point but have played in the league only once, losing on the opening night to Maidstone United.

“I’m not going to knock their effort, but some of our quality and decision making wasn’t there,” added Underwood. “They definitely improved after they scored and that’s what goals do for teams. The team that concedes sometimes loses their way and the team that scores, well they found an extra gear after they scored and played well to be fair to them.

“Maybe if we’d scored the first goal, we might have had that, but we didn’t. Lenchy injured his ankle at the gym yesterday (Monday) which is hugely frustrating for us and for him,” said Underwood. “Lee Togwell felt his ankle again after Saturday and he was unable to play. So, we’re missing some important players, but we don’t want to hide behind that. There was plenty enough quality on the pitch, we showed that first half we just need to be more ruthless.”

The Rebels are also still waiting to hear exactly what share of the £10 Government support grant they’ll receive to compensate for the lack of fans over the first few months of the season. The support has been welcomed but the club, like many others in the National League, are desperate to hear how much of their match-day losses will be covered.

He added: “You know as much as me (on the Government’s support package). We’re still waiting, and we don’t know how much we’ll get.

“We can only affect what we can control and what we’ve done tonight is toss away some money that we should have been winning. Obviously, I don’t mean that disrespectfully to Bath, it was a 50/50 game tonight which could have gone either way, but the way we played in the first half we should have won this game and we haven’t. We’ve only got ourselves to blame for that and we’ll wait for news on the funding. Until then we’ll stay as we are.”

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