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Slough Town make satisfying start on the pitch but club still needs clarity on financial support

Jack Turner was in good form against Dartford and Hemel Hempstead Town

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Slough Town produced a terrific team performance to kick off their season with three valuable points against Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday evening, rounding off a thoroughly satisfying week for the Rebels on the pitch if not off it.

The club are still anxiously waiting on details of how much financial support they’ll receive from Government, but on the field, they’ve been going about their business very nicely.

Paul Hodges’ goal of the season contender was enough to narrowly beat Hemel Hempstead Town at Arbour Park on Tuesday, while Jack McKnight’s 92nd minute penalty sent Slough through to the next round of the FA Cup at the expense of Dartford on Saturday.

Hemel had chances to equalise on Tuesday, but the Rebels held firm to register three points at the first time of asking. They face a tricky test away at Dorking Wanderers on Saturday, one of their most difficult games of the season on paper. They then host Bath City in the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup on Tuesday evening.

Reflecting on Tuesday’s win, Jon Underwood said: “It was not an easy game tonight. They had some chances in the second half and on another day they might well have equalised. We’re grateful to hang on for the points.

“We were good in the first half and I thought we held onto the ball well. We controlled the game without creating lots of chances, and it took a moment of brilliance from Paul Hodges, a goal of the season contender already. It would have been nice to have a few hundred behind the goal for that one.

“We’re delighted with the start to the season, but the challenge now with the injuries we’ve had is the size of our squad. We had 14 fit senior players tonight so we’re down to the bare bones already.”

Striker Ben Harris is the club’s latest casualty after he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury in Tuesday’s game. With no clarity yet on the amount of financial aid they’ll receive from Government, Underwood says they can’t simply solve the problem by bringing new players in.

“We’re waiting on information about the financial support from the league as, at the moment, we can’t sign any more players,” said Underwood. “We go to Dorking on Saturday, which is one of the toughest games of the season, with a very threadbare squad. It’s a difficult situation we’ve been put in and it’s through no fault of our own. We can’t go and sign a player and promise them money that we don’t know we’ve got. As it stands, we’re going to have to find a way to solve that problem with the players we’ve got and try to be competitive. We know no more than anyone else.

“We were told on Friday there was £10m from the Government going to the National League to cover the 67 clubs over a three-month period, but we have no idea what proportion of that we’re getting. It might be enough, it might be what we need, it might be nowhere near enough and then we’ll have a problem. But we’ll keep waiting until they decide to tell us.”

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