SLOUGH Town joint-manager Jon Underwood described the 1-0 defeat to Dorking Wanderers on the opening day of the new season as a big kick in the teeth, writes Rob Stevens.

The Rebels got the new season in the National League South under way with a controversial loss to newly-promoted Dorking at Arbour Park on Saturday.

The home side came closest to scoring in the first half when summer signing Ryan Bird headed towards goal but Wanderers captain Sami El-Abd recovered to clear the ball from his own goal line.

Slough had strong appeals for a penalty kick turned down after the break as a Matthew Lench shot appeared to strike the hand of El-Abd inside the box, but nothing was given by referee Jason Richardson.

The Rebels were reduced to 10-men inside the final five minutes when captain Sam Togwell was dismissed for a second bookable offence – a clear foul on Dorking substitute Giuseppe Sole right on halfway.

The sucker punch came deep into time added on at the end of the match as Jason Prior flicked on a long ball to Sole. He was in an offside position and the assistant referee was quick to raise his flag.

The referee however allowed play to continue and Matthew Briggs raced in on goal to slot low past keeper Jack Turner from inside the box.

Underwood told the Observer: “It’s obviously disappointing and they way the game ended was a big kick in the teeth.

“It certainly wasn’t a classic game. We didn’t perform to the best of our ability and you often don’t on the opening day of the season. It sometimes takes a few games to hit your stride.

“We started the game pretty well, positive and on the front foot, but Dorking had a really good spell midway through the first half where they looked threatening and Jack made a couple of saves for us. We got a little bit ragged at that point but we recovered well.

“We made a change to bring on Francis in the second half and he sparked us into life a little bit. He looked a threat but we just weren’t quite able to build on it and create a real clear chance that we needed.

“Dorking defended well with some very experienced defensive players.

“It was an even game and when we went down to 10-men a point was going to be a decent result, but it’s just sickening the way the goal happened at the end.”

He continued: “We thought it hit his hand for the penalty. His hands were away from his body but we don’t know whether or not he meant it.

“It’s difficult because we were the wrong side of the player to have a great view, but all the players said it hit his hand.

“You see them given but not today unfortunately.

“You could almost see the incident with Sam happening. He wanted to get there and win the ball but their lad got a toe to it and the referee didn’t have a choice, he had to send him off.”

On the controversial goal, Underwood added: “The player that scored wasn’t offside but the lad in the centre forward position was, so the referee got the decision right technically.

“Our complaint is that the flag from the assistant referee went immediately up. So often they don’t because they wait for the ball to reach the player, but he couldn’t get the flag up quick enough and our players reacted to that.

“You could always say play to the whistle but, when that situation happens after 95 minutes and you’re tired, you have that relief when you see the flag go up and you stop.

“The referee didn’t do anything wrong but if the assistant would’ve waited then we would have know if our players would’ve recovered back and challenge. If they don’t see the flag up they will obviously try to recover and stop the player.

“I can’t be sure whether or not we were going to get back and recover but the flag going up has stopped our players from trying and that’s tough to take.”

Underwood continued: “People put a lot of important of the first game of the season, probably wrongly because it’s no different to the other 41 games, but you don’t want to lose your opening game.

“To lose it in that fashion is tough to take and everyone is very disappointed in the changing rooms, but we need to pick ourselves up because we have seven more league games in August and can still make this a really good start to the season.

“We can’t do anything about it and you get these moments in football. You get moments that kick you in the teeth and today was won of them.

“Dorking scored five seconds before the end of injury time but it is what it is and we will bounce back.”