10:00AM, Friday 22 April 2022
Neil Baker has acknowledged Slough Town will need to win all four of their remaining games, and rely on other results going in their favour, to have a chance of ‘gate-crashing’ the National League South play-offs.
However, inspired by two impressive victories over the Easter bank holiday weekend, the joint boss says his side will continue to try and bolster their ‘slim’ chances.
On Saturday, the Rebels defeated Tonbridge Angels away, 1-0, thanks to a 49th-minute strike by Alfonso Tenconi superbly assisted by Joe Dandy. Then, on Monday, they went one better and beat Hemel Hempstead Town, 2-0, at Arbour Park courtesy of Gus Scott-Morris’ (8’) own goal and Josh Jackman’s (63’) drilled finish.
Combined, the results have taken Slough Town into 12th place in the table and up to 47 points with Chelmsford City to play tomorrow (Saturday) before they finish the season against Concord Rangers (April 26), Dartford (April 30), and Hampton & Richmond Borough (May 2).
“To get those two wins over the bank holiday weekend and, more importantly, two clean sheets was great. It just keeps our season alive a little bit longer and is very good for our confidence,” said Baker.
“We’re safe for next season which, to be honest, was the first thing we needed to achieve this year. We were a lot of people’s favourites to go down because we hadn’t invested heavily and whatever else.
“I saw quite a few people were predicting us to finish bottom of the league so it was nice to keep our status at Step 2.
“Now, we have four games left and we want to try finish as high as we can. There’s no question we would have to win all of them in order to gate-crash the play-offs.
“If I’m honest, our chances are slim because that would mean we would have won six games on the bounce which is something we’ve not done in the National League South. But, as everyone knows, you can never say never in football and we'll give it a shot.”
Monday’s game against the Tudors also marked Matthew Lench’s 150th appearance for the Rebels, and having performed astutely on his milestone, the midfielder deservedly scooped the man-of-the-match award.
“It was his best performance for a long, long time,” said Baker.
“Lenchy has had some injury problems this season and I don’t think his form has been as good as previous years.
“I think he was good against Eastbourne, had a decent game against Tonbridge, but was excellent on Monday.
“It was the old Lenchy. He was driving at people, not slowing the game down, and getting at people. When he plays like that, he’s a real asset to the side.
“It’s just a shame the injuries have limited him a lot in this campaign.”
Moving on to this weekend’s fixture at Melbourne Stadium, Baker added: “It will be a tough game. Chelmsford City’s pitch is not great and it’s always difficult to generate an atmosphere in their ground.
“The surface will be hard, it will be bobbly, and it will be very difficult to play on. We have to get our heads around that as quick as we can.
“They have also won their last two games. They had a brilliant result against St Albans City and by winning on Monday as well, against Billericay Town, I think it’s confirmed their place at this level for next year.
“They had been drawn into a relegation battle but have now gone quite a few games unbeaten, so they will be in high spirits against us.”
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