SLOUGH Town suffered a blow to their chances of reaching the National League South play-offs after a 1-1 draw with Eastbourne Borough on Easter Monday, writes Rob Stevens.

The Rebels went into the penultimate match of the season looking to close the gap on the top seven and give themselves a chance of reaching the play-offs on the final day.

On-loan midfielder Billy Clifford put them on course to do just that when he scored from the penalty spot in the final minute of normal time at Arbour Park.

Eastbourne however needed a point to avoid relegation and secured their National League South status as substitute Nico Cotton equalised in the fifth minute of time added on.

Slough joint-manager Jon Underwood told the Observer: "We ended up dropping two points. It was really hard to take and so disappointing.

"Both sides played in the heat on Saturday, so it was a tough game as we expected it would be.

"Eastbourne probably started the better, perhaps with more energy, and looked full of confidence after their 6-0 win last weekend, whilst we found it tough to get going.

"We then grew into the game and completely dominated the second half. Eastbourne left just one up front to settle for a point that would guarantee them safety.

"It was up to us to break them down and we made some very positive changes to get the breakthrough.

"Their keeper was superb to be fair and he made some fantastic saves, plus there were a few chances missed that we should have done better with.

"We finally got the penalty but it looked a little bit lucky. To take the lead so late in the game was brilliant but Eastbourne then threw everything at us.

"We threw caution to the win a little bit trying to get the goal we needed, so we weren't set up well enough defensively to play out the six minutes of injury time.

"The ball dropped and Eastbourne scored. It was a tough way to end the game because we know how important a win would've been for us."

The hosts had Jack Turner to thank for not falling behind in the opening seconds, the keeper making a super save from a header.

Slough went close when a shot from Matthew Lench lacked power and went wide of the post, before Eastbourne keeper Sam Howes saved from Francis Amartey and Sam Togwell.

Howes was then at his best to keep out both Lench and Manny Williams as the first half ended goalless.

The Rebels had a great chance to open the scoring five minutes into the second half as Amartey got to the byline and Williams left the ball for Lee Togwell, who put his shot wide of the post.

The home side continued to pile on the pressure when George Wells put a free header wide of the post, before substitute Daniel Roberts was denied by a fantastic save from Howes.

Eastbourne keeper Howes was brilliant for the whole match and saved from substitute Louie Soares and Wells before Slough were give the chance to break the deadlock late on.

Referee Phillip Staynings pointed to the spot and Clifford scored to give the Rebels the lead in the final minute of normal time.

The visitors equalised in time added on when the ball ended up at the back post and was diverted into the net.

The draw means Slough have dropped two places to 11th position in the league table and remain three points behind the play-offs ahead of a trip to relegation-threatened Truro City this Saturday (3pm).

Slough must win at Treyew Road and hope that Billericay Town lose at home to Bath City, plus St Albans City, Dartford and Wealdstone all fail to win.

Truro need to win and reverse a three-goal deficit with Hungerford Town in order to avoid relegation from the National League.