SLOUGH Town joint-manager Neil Baker believes the Rebels are now a proven competitive side in the National League South, writes Rob Stevens.

Slough suffered a first defeat in nine competitive matches when losing 2-1 away at Welling United in the league on Saturday.

However, Baker is pleased with their performance at Park View Road against a side that many believe could be challenging for the title this season.

He told the Observer: “We’re all disappointed about losing the game but we caused Welling a lot of problems.

“A few people have said that Welling might be title challengers and they’ve got some very good players in their side, so there’s no reason why they can’t.

“We’ve just got to keep on doing what we have been in the league and try to pick up as many points as we can to keep us in the play-off positions.

“We lost on Saturday but are still in the play-offs and that’s on the back of some very good results in September.”

Both Welling and Slough went into the match with long unbeaten streaks but a late penalty condemned the visitors to defeat.

Welling made the perfect start as Adam Coombes was first to a Jack Jebb free-kick and planted a header past keeper Jack Turner inside two minutes.

The Rebels equalised a minute into the second-half when Guy Hollis crossed the ball to James Dobson and the birthday boy volleyed into the opposite corner for his sixth goal of the season.

The home team were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute as George Wells was adjudged to have fouled Brendan Kiernan, although it appeared the contact started outside the box.

Coombes stepped up to send Turner the wrong way with the resulting spot-kick.

Baker commented: “Obviously we’re disappointed to lose as you would be in any game, but we knew Welling are a very good side and we matched them, particularly in the second half.

“They probably should have been two or three goals ahead at half-time because we didn’t play brilliantly in the first half. Defensively we were all over the place against two very good wingers to be fair.

“We were much better in the second half and caused lots of problems for them.

“We equalised immediately after half-time and I thought at that point there was only one side that would go on and win the game.

“Welling didn’t cause us too many issues until the sloppy penalty. We still had a couple of chances after that to get something from the game but it didn’t happen.”

He added: “The penalty was a 50-50 decision for me. I have seen them given and not given but I’ve got no complaints about it if I’m brutally honest. It is what it is.

“I’m perfectly pleased with how we played on the whole and we looked a good side, and the welling manager was very complimentary about us at the end."