SLOUGH Town recorded a first win in the National League South in the New Year after a 1-0 victory against Chelmsford City on Saturday, writes Rob Stevens.

Slough had struggled for goals in recent weeks but a strike from midfielder Simon Dunn, his first of the season, was enough for the Rebels to compete a league double over promotion-chasing Chelmsford.

The Rebels made a bright start at Arbour Park and striker Chris Flood, making his 100th appearance for the club, and captain Sam Togwell both went close with headers from George Wells balls into the box.

The deadlock was broken four minutes before the break and the goal owed much to the desire of Warren Harris.

The wide midfielder won possession from Joe Anderson and crossed low into the box where Dunn scuffed a shot low into the ground and past keeper Nathan McDonald from close range.

The Chelmsford keeper got a glove to the ball but could not prevent Dunn from scoring his first goal this season and first since the victory at Basingstoke back in March 2018.

Slough had a chance to double their advantage just minutes into the second-half but Flood directed a header at the near post straight into the grateful arms of McDonald.

The Rebels had to defend for most of the second period, however keeper Jack Turner did not have a save to make as the home side held on to secure all three points.

Slough joint-manager Jon Underwood told the Observer: “I’m delighted because it’s been a really tough week. We’ve played the teams in first, third and fourth and come away with four points, so we feel a lot better now than we did this time last weekend.

“We’ve had a real good response to the Torquay game with two clean sheets at home against two of the top four sides, so I’m absolutely delighted.

“It was obviously a very tight and tense game.

“We said in midweek if we could get in front against Bath, we would have backed ourselves to shut them out, and that’s what we did here.

“We had to defend for our lives and work so hard, but some of the performances were unbelievable. The two centre backs [Guy Hollis and Sam Togwell] were incredible.

“Chelmsford are a big, strong side and they're difficult to play against. They put a lot of balls into the box towards the end.

“We just had to sit in, soak it up, hacks things clear and do what you have to do to protect your goal, and we did it brilliantly."

Underwood continued: "Our defensive record has been good all season. It is not just the back four and the keeper, it's the back four that work so hard in front of them.

"We just changed our shape a little bit at Arbour Park in recent weeks and that has given us that little bit of extra protection in front of the back four. We've looked a lot more solid as a team

"It probably takes a little bit away from us going forward but it is the way we're choosing to play at the moment and the past two results have shown it's working, so I'm delighted.

"We passed the ball really well in the first-half but we didn't get as high up the pitch in the second because, naturally as you do, we ended up being a little bit more defensive protecting our goal.

"We played some really good stuff in the first-half and deserved the goal that we got.

"We're asking the players to pass the ball more at Arbour Park. There has been a few too many times where we have been a little bit too direct, like the Wealdstone game, and we've got to show more in this league.

"We were becoming a little bit too direct and predictable, but we've changed that now and showed a lot of good movement in the shape that we put out.

"There was a lot of movement from Louie Soares and Warren Harris off Chris Flood, plus we had a lot of energy in midfield, so we looked a really good side in the first-half.

"We just looked like a side that wouldn't give up those three points in the second-half and that's a good sign."

The Rebels joint-boss added: "Formations are just numbers at the end of the day. It's about having the desire that we did and playing with a little bit of freedom.

"Whatever shape we play that's what we look for from the players.

"We might change because we are very comfortable playing with two forwards, but at the minute we're playing 4-3-3 and it just makes us look more solid.

"We've just got to get the balance right between being solid and scoring goals. We know we're not scoring lots of goals but it's hard to get both ends right when we've stepped up a league.

"We want to be solid first and foremost, and our first priority on Saturday was to keep a clean sheet.

"We just believed we could get a goal and we did. It was a classic away performance.

"We think we've got to go and score three goals and be entertaining at home on our lovely pitch but, whether you're at home or away, the objective is to get three points.

"It ended up being a classic away performance, particularly after the second-half, but it's still good to watch and we played some really good stuff in the first-half.

"It was about being dogged and hard to break down in the second-half."

The win means Slough moved up one place to 10th position in the league table and now just three points outside the play-off spots.

The Rebels turn their attention to the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup and a quarter-finals tie away at league rivals Hungerford Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).