07:00PM, Thursday 09 September 2021
Jon Underwood has stressed to his players they shouldn’t overthink or overanalyse their early season points-total and placing in the National League South as it won’t tell the full story of how well they’re playing.
The Rebels have made an indifferent start to the campaign, beating Chelmsford on the opening day before falling to defeats against Dartford, deservedly, and Chippenham Town, undeservedly.
On Saturday they battled back in the closing stages to grab a 2-2 draw at Welling United, but Underwood felt they shaded the game in terms of good chances and, again, could have come away with three points instead of one.
Reflecting on the side’s start to the season, he says the Rebels could have played exactly the same way as they have and had seven, or even nine, points in the bag instead of four. But, having listened to post-match interviews from rival managers, it’s clear that many clubs feel they could or should have had a few more points on the board.
“In these early stages you can overthink and over analyse points and positions,” he said.
“We could have played exactly the same way for four games be sat here with seven points or even nine instead of four. If our penalty had gone in against Chippenham that could very easily have been three points and the league table would look very different.
“That’s why early season league tables don’t always tell the full story.
“But I listen to the other managers in our league when they do interviews and there’s a lot of clubs feeling the same way.
“Everyone feels they might have had a few more points on the board, but we haven’t, and the league table will only start to settle down after 10 or 12 games.
“There have been some funny results and certain teams you’d expect to be doing better than they are.
“It’s only really Dartford that are absolutely flying at the top of the league.”
Underwood was left with mixed feelings after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Welling, a game he feels the Rebels should really have won but knows they also could have lost, but for Ryan Bird’s towering 88th minute header. Aaron Kuhl’s early strike on his return to the team gave the visitors the lead but goals either side of the break left Slough playing catch-up once again.
“We created more chances across the game,” added Underwood. “We felt in control first half and scored early.
“We felt going into half time that we weren’t going to be troubled, but they scored with the last kick of the half, and it gave them a lift while we came off feeling a bit deflated.
“They started better than we did second half and deservedly went in front.
“We then changed our shape and went to a 4-4-2 and we were banging on the door for the last 25 minutes of the game.
“It didn’t look like it was going to come going but then we got a goal, which was the least we deserved, and had another chance, with a header from Ben Harris which was straight at the keeper.
“Very mixed emotions because we were disappointed not to win the game but also very aware that we nearly lost it.
“But any point away in this league you must respect and they’re never easy, but the aim is to try and pick up three points again this weekend.”
Slough host a St Albans City side with an almost identical record to theirs on Saturday, but Underwood believes they’re improving after an extremely difficult start to the campaign.
“They’ll feel the same as we do,” he added. “Their first two games were against Dorking and Dartford which are two of the hardest games in the league, and they lost both of those to last minute winners. They then beat Welling 5-0 and were leading at Tonbridge before the game was abandoned due to a serious injury to a player. They’ve then drawn with Chippenham so they’ll feel like they should have had a few more points. It’s been a mixed bag for them the same as for us, but they were very good last season, and everyone expects them to be pushing for the play-offs again.”