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Rebels matched City despite being far from their best


Jon Underwood admits the Rebels were far from their best against league leaders Oxford City on Sunday but says the point ‘must be respected’ and shows how far the side have come in the last few months.

From scratching around for points in the lower reaches of the table, the Rebels have launched themselves up the National League South since the end of October and now find themselves only three points off the play-offs.

While they never reached the heights of their midweek 4-1 win over Hampton & Richmond Borough, they found a way to break down a notoriousl­y miserly City defence not once, but twice, to claim a 2-2 draw.

Overcoming a half-time deficit, following Elliot Benyon’s thumping first half header, looked a tall order for the hosts, but Guy Hollis’ long throw proved a useful way to unlock the visitors’ defence and the hosts cashed in with goals from Josh Jackman and Matt Lench, before George Harmon left the Rebels bosses a little deflated with a fabulous 78th minute strike.

“I’m happy because we definitely weren’t at our best today after the highs of Tuesday (when Slough beat Hampton & Richmond Borough 4-1),” he said. “But we didn’t fee we reached our full potential, and we can sense the disappoint­ment of the players in there, they’re absolutely shattered. They’re out on their feet.

“I think we looked tired at the end and the last five minutes we were hanging on a little bit. It’s a good point and we’ve had a decent Christmas because we new those three games were going to be tough. When you’re not at your best and you still pick up a point against the league leaders, it’s no bad thing.”

The Rebels management team were desperatel­y trying to change the shape of the side when City grabbed their late equaliser. Noticing the visitors were starting to make inroads, they were about to bring on Max Worsfold and change the system when Harmon ghosted in unnoticed to thump City level.

He added: “I thought the result was probably a fair reflection of the game. They were looking dangerous towards the end. It’s always frustratin­g when you get in front but aren’t able to hold on, but it was a cracking goal from their lad.

“We were just trying to make a change in our shape. We were trying to get Max on, but we just couldn’t do it in time. They managed to put the ball back in and their lad scored with a great finish. But it is what it is. They’re a good side. When you’re not at your best and you match them, you have to respect the point and move on.”

The Rebels front men got little joy from the City defence throughout, but the hosts found a more than suitable plan B in the second half, and having come through a tough Christmas period Underwood now believes the side are capable of mixing it with the league’s best sides.

“We didn’t feel like we were too far off them,” added Underwood. “We don’t think we’re a million miles off them and we felt we should have got a point on Boxing Day as well (when the Rebels lost 3-2). We’re pretty happy with where we are as a team in terms of our performanc­es.

“From where we were we’ve come a long way and hopefully now we can look up the table for the rest of the season.

“It was two scruffy goals from us, but it shows the value of set pieces and long throws when you’re not at your best. They’re hard to defend against. We’re disappoint­ed that we didn’t create more chances from open play because we created countless chances against Hampton. But every game is different, and they’re where they are for a reason. We have to respect what a good strong side they are. We’re happy with the Christmas and we’ve got a really exciting January coming up with the Trophy game (at York City on January 15) and more big league games.”

 ?? ?? Jon Underwood (right) says his side have come a long way this season.
Jon Underwood (right) says his side have come a long way this season.

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