JON UNDERWOOD is delighted that Slough Town were able to beat Basingstoke 3-2 at Arbour Park after an horrific injury to keeper Mark Scott on Saturday.
Scott shattered the C6 vertebrae in the base of his neck and underwent an operation to fuse a metal plate to the bone at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on Monday.
Slough launched a Crowdfunder page and over £5,600 has already been raised to support the keeper and his family during his recovery period.
Rebels midfielder Gurkan Gokmen volunteered to take his place in goal and, despite conceding twice in a 70-minute spell with the gloves on, Slough were able to secure all three points.
Slough joint-boss Underwood told the Observer: “I’m delighted to get the win. However you get there, you need to try to get the three points.
"It was quite an eventful day and some things are more important than football. But, from a football point of view, the lads did great to get their heads back on it after the injury and see the job through.
“I thought we had a couple of nervy moments but generally we were the better side throughout.
PHOTO: Midfielder-come-keeper Gurkan Gokmen was the hero for Slough on Saturday, playing in goal for over 70 minutes in the 3-2 win.
“We created a lot of good chances and could have won by more, but we always had that nagging doubt towards the end that they were still in the game. At the end it was just a sense of relief that we got the win.”
He continued: “I thought we started well and were pleased with how the game was going. I felt we were in control.
“Chris (Flood) got a superb finish from a corner. It was a corner routine that we work and it had him in space but he still had a lot to do to volley that in from there, so that was a great finish.
“Then a good ball in from Simon (Dunn) and Manny (Williams) was very calm and laid it on a plate for Chris, so two good goals. But, as we’ve seen, you just never know what’s going to happen in football so I felt we were good value for that lead to be honest.”
Commenting on midfielder-come-goalkeeper Gokmen, Underwood said: “It was a long time for him but to be fair he put his hand up and volunteered. He did it at Merthyr so he has done it for us before.
“He’s clearly not a keeper but normally his shot-stopping isn’t too bad.
“When it’s an unnatural position you sometimes worry about things like crosses and his decision-making.
“We just said we needed to keep them at arms length really. If we kept the ball well it meant they could hurt us less and not give away any cheap free-kicks that they could stick in the box.
PHOTO: James Dobson bags his 20th goal of the season with a placed effort from the edge of the box at Arbour Park.
“I thought for the vast majority we were very disciplined and we were in control of the game.
“Early on in the second half we had some great chances to go 3-0 up and we think that would have been the end of it.
“Then, as it happens, they get a shot on target, Gurken spills it and they put in the rebound, but I don’t think he has made a save all game.
“They got another one towards the end out of nothing and we just worried it was going to be one of those days, but fair play to him for putting his hand up.
“With 700-odd people here and an important game, he’s willing to go in goal for us so you can’t knock the lad.”
He added: “We thought James (Dobson) had put it to bed again at 3-1, a good finish.
“That’s 20 for the season for him and that is fantastic for a wide player.
“I just felt we were in total control .
“It was actually a mistake from Nathan (Smart). He went to clear the ball, it went under his foot and they’ve scored.
“I don’t remember him making a mistake in the past month and when that happens you think maybe it’s not going to be your day, but thankfully we saw it through and we definitely deserved the points.”
Slough lost 3-0 at Biggleswade Town on Wednesday, leaving them fourth in the Southern Premier Division table, nine points behind leaders Chippenham Town but nine points above Banbury United in sixth place.
Grab a copy of the Observer today for our interview with Slough joint-manager Neil Baker, who reacts to the defeat at Biggleswade in midweek.