NEIL BAKER has admitted that Slough Town came up short in their push for promotion this season.

The Rebels suffered a 1-0 defeat at Leamington in the play-off semi-finals on Wednesday. A cross-come-shot from Jack Edwards just seconds after half-time proved the difference at The Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

Baker has praised Slough for not giving in, and they could have taken the tie into extra time had Tony Breeden not saved from Josh Jackman in the dying seconds.

But he accepts Leamington were deserved winners on the night.

Rebels’ joint-manager told the Observer: “Obviously I’m gutted. You play all season to try to win the league or get in the play-offs, but we’ve just come up a little bit short.

“Leamington deserved to win the game. I thought they just did the more ugly things a little bit better and we’ve fallen very short, very slightly, at the back end of the season.

“Take nothing away from our lads, they have been absolutely brilliant, they’ve made the town of Slough proud.

“The one thing we didn’t do is give in, we kept on going, kept on fighting. Their keeper pulled off an absolute unbelievable save right at the death from the last kick of the game.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Leamington celebrate the goal scored by Jack Edwards in the play-off semi-final on Wednesday.

“I don’t know how he saved it, and we could have been playing extra time, but that would not have been a fair reflection on the game. Leamington deserved to win and I hope they go on to win the final.”

He continued: “We just knew it was going to be a tough game and the results previously made no difference. It’s a play-off, it was going to be very tight and it proved to be that, but Leamington fully deserved to win the game.

“We have to take that on the chin because their goal was completely avoidable. Paul Stonehouse cleared the ball straight to their lad when it was going out of play.

“It’s frustrating for someone as experienced as Paul for that to happen, it was just a disappointment.”

Commenting on The Rebels’ lack of goals, Baker said: “Leamington only conceded 32 goals in 46 games and eight of those were against us. They did a job on us and defended well.

“We probably had three of four chances in the game. Josh’s right at the end, Simon Dunn had a strike that the keeper has parried away and a free-kick, that’s about it really.

“I think we got we deserved and we’ve fallen just a little short.”

Slough central defender Mark Nisbet added: “At home, Leamington have gone 4-5-1 and done a job. They’ve won every header and they are solid, and our quality was not quite there.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Tony Breeden beats away at shot from Simon Dunn.

“We put the effort in but it just wasn’t good enough on the night to be honest.”

He added: “Progression is the main thing but it’s just disappointing getting into the play-offs and not doing that final bit.

“But it just means now, moving forward, the play-offs are a minimum for next year and obviously try to get promoted.”