Matt Lench (yellow) and Nassim L’Ghoul (red)
Slough Town may not have been promotion candidates at the beginning of the season, but an impressive seven game unbeaten run has seen the side quietly inch towards the play-off spots.
The Rebels have revolted against the leagues best in recent weeks, and Saturday’s 1-0 victory over third-placed Welling United showed the confidence the side have of late.
Billy Clifford’s second half strike proved to be the decider and moved the side to within three points of the play-offs, giving Jon Underwood and Neil Baker’s men plenty to play for in the final weeks of the season.
Saturday’s match proved to be a cagey affair, and showed just why the two teams in question had enjoyed long unbeaten runs, with neither giving anything up in a closely contested first half.
“It was very difficult game,” said Underwood.
“We know how good of a side Welling are –based on the last 10 games they were the form team.
“They’d won five away on the bounce so it was a tough test today but I thought we stood up well.”
Slough did not let up defensively in the second half with, and they were rewarded for their manager’s positivity.
Underwood and Baker threw on Manny Williams and Dan Roberts in the hope of stretching the Welling defence and five minutes later Clifford produced the moment of the match to score his first goal for the Rebels, refilling his shot low and hard through a crowded box after Matt Lench’s corner was only half cleared by Welling.
“We got to midway through the second half and we thought ‘a points no good to us at this stage’,” added Underwood.
“We are safe in the league and if we are going to have a chance at getting into the playoffs we need to win.
“So we chucked a couple of forwards on and went for it. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it doesn’t but this time it paid off.”
Jack Turner denied Welling forward Danny Mills late on, but Slough hung on to claim their fourth win in five and move to within three points of the play-off spots, with Underwood admitting they can allow their minds to wander towards a play-off chase.
“Why not? This is why we are in football for,” added Underwood
“No one wants to be seeing out a season with nothing to play for, and we’ve given ourselves something to play for.
“It might not happen, but just having that dream that in your first season up you get in the playoffs would just be incredible. So we will have a right go.”