SLOUGH Town joint manager Neil Baker believes his side are “one good run” away from securing a Southern League Premier Division play-off place, despite picking up just one point from two games in the past week, writes Richard Ashton.
Second-placed Rebels were beaten 2-1 by in-form Frome Town at Arbour Park on Saturday, but hit back from 3-1 down to snatch a last-gasp draw at fellow high-fliers Chippenham Town on Tuesday.
And Baker told the Observer: “To have 46 points after 22 games is more than we could have dreamed of and if we can get on one more really good run then we should be able to cement ourselves in the play-offs.
“There are lots of other teams who are chasing us but we are confident we can do that.”
Reflecting on the Chippenham game, Baker added: “It was a great point. We lost Warren Harris after 10 minutes and then (goalkeeper) Mark Scott was injured and continued playing pretty much on one leg.
“To take a point from a top-three side keeps us right in the mix even though it wasn’t our best performance.
“They would have gone above us (with a win) but we showed great character, and we’ve showed that during the past few weeks. That’s a big positive.”
Second-placed Rebels travelled to a Chippenham side sitting fourth in the table before Tuesday's game, and Warren Harris let fly from the edge of the area early on as the visitors looked to make a fast start.
Chippenham captain Greg Tindle was then forced to make a superb tackle to deny Elijah Adebayo a shot, but it was the hosts who took a 12th-minute lead when Andy Sandell beat Mark Nisbet to a long ball before steering the ball past Mark Scott.
Matt Smith had a chance to double the lead shortly after, but he failed to hit the target from 20 yards.
Sandell then headed wide from a corner before Charlie Moone had Slough’s first real chance, only to be denied by goalkeeper Darren Chitty.
Rebels nearly conceded an own goal when a misplaced header back to Scott – who was left injured in a collision with Sandell shortly after – ended up in the side netting, but they went into the half-time interval trailing.
It took only five minutes of the second half for Jon Underwood and Neil Baker’s men to level, though, Guy Hollis scoring with a deflected shot completely against the run of play.
Yet they were level for just six minutes as James Guthrie beat Scott from long range and things got even worse when Sandell scored a penalty – awarded for handball – to make it 3-1 to Chippenham.
Scott made a vital save from David Pratt to keep his side in the contest midway through the second period, and they gave themselves a lifeline with a second deflected goal – this time from Simon Dunn – on 73 minutes.
Slough were given the ideal chance to level matters 10 minutes from full time when they were awarded a penalty, but Chitty pulled off an outstanding save to deny Moone from 12 yards.
Rebels were now battling superbly though, and with their belief of snatching a point growing, Adebayo was unfortunate to put a header agonisingly wide.
Yet with just a minute of normal time remaining they did complete the comeback. Some slack marking from the Chippenham defence saw a Hollis long throw fall at the feet of Moone, and the striker turned from zero to hero by burying the ball in the back of the net from six yards out.
The result leaves Slough three points clear of Chippenham, who climb to third, but six points behind leaders Leamington – albeit with a game in hand on the table-toppers.
Slough Town do not have a game this weekend, returning to action at home to Kettering Town on Saturday, December 17.
And Baker believes the break will benefit his side. He admitted: “It’s come at a good time because we’ve got one or two injuries and it lets us regather ourselves.
“We’ve played a lot of games already this season – more than 30 – so it’s nice to take a break and a breather and sit back and watch how the other teams get on.’’