07:00PM, Thursday 28 April 2022
George Hunt (above left) scored in Saturday's draw with Chelmsford City
They are results that have all but ended Slough Town's hopes of promotion through the play-offs this season, but joint manager Jon Underwood said he can't really argue too much with their 1-1 draws against Chelmsford City or Concord Rangers.
The Rebels had more than enough chances to win both encounters and feel particularly aggrieved by the decision to rule out what would have been a late winner for Tyler Goodrham at Chelmsford on Saturday.
Had that been allowed to stand Underwood believes the side might have carried some momentum through to Tuesday's game at Concord and picked up a victory, but it wasn't to be, and they now need to win both of their remaining games against Dartford on Saturday and Hampton & Richmond Borough on Monday to stand any chance of a top seven finish.
Against the Clarets, George Hunt scored his second of the season in the 35th minute before Tom Blackwell levelled with 15 minutes to play, while at Concord Ben Harris' 65th minute strike, from a cross which evaded everyone in the Rangers' area, was cancelled out by Mamadou Jobe's header 10 minutes later.
“Yeah, I think we needed two wins, but four points would have kept us in the reckoning, but in both games it wasn't quite to be,” said Underwood.
“Over the course of both games, we probably can't argue too much with a draw, if I'm honest.
“There were incidents in both games which could have seen us win, but we could also have lost. They were very even games. We led in both games and it's disappointing to be pegged back twice. On Saturday we had the goal disallowed in the 90th minute, which were very disappointed with. We're probably a touch more understanding of it now we've seen the video. We still think it's a huge call for the linesman to make from his angle, and nine times out of 10 that goal stands.
“It's one of those in the Premier League where no one spots anything and suddenly there's a VAR check and they rule it out. But there was nothing that they appealed for and nothing that we were concerned about but then the linesman called the referee over. That was obviously very frustrating. Momentum is a big thing in football and if we'd have got the win on Saturday, I think that would have set us up even better for Tuesday. We gave it everything on Tuesday as well and in both games, we threw attacking subs on. We pushed Edon Pruti our centre half up front and our goalkeeper went up for a corner in the 90th minute. We did everything to score, and their keeper made a brilliant save towards the end.
“What we can do is come away knowing we gave everything to win in those games. We did everything we could to make it happen, but it wasn't quite enough. It looks like we'll miss out, but it was always going to be a tall order.”
They sit four points adrift of the top seven having played a game more than many of their rivals. And even if they did manage to beat Dartford and Hampton & Richmond - two tough opponents - three or four of their rivals would need to slip up spectacularly in the coming weeks. As such, Underwood feels the pressure is off his side heading into Saturday's clash with Dartford at Arbour Park. He and Neil Baker are expecting to hand further opportunities to some of the club's u23s players while also sending out a team they believe can win the game.
“We were always the biggest outsiders in that group, and we're pleased that we took (our challenge) that long,” he added. “With the season we've had, with a huge amount of change, that's credit to everyone. We've got six more points to play for and we want to finish as high as we can. With the way the games are falling we'd need a miracle set of results to be honest. There are too many things that would need to fall into place for that to happen.
“We'll go into the weekend with no pressure. They're two good games. Dartford are a good side who are going to be in the play-offs, and we finish with a relatively short trip to Hampton on Monday.
“We will look at one or two things and we'll use the squad. We've got a good number of players available to us now. We have 22 players training tonight and we'll use the squad over the two games. We won't throw in a team of kids on Saturday, but we will give people opportunities.”
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