About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

York Road's Personal Best - Are you reading Georgie Borg? Your boys took one hell of a beating!

Of all the games I’ve seen at York Road I’m happy to say its hard to narrow it down to my favourite one.  I’ve seen promotion won, relegation avoided (and many games contributing to both) not to mention countless classic cup ties.  At least by not calling my choice the most memorable I can rule out quite a few defeats, particularly the 8-2 thrashing by Chertsey in a game which only went ahead because the Maidenhead United manager at the time was so keen to play!  Helping me in my quest there are many that I can rule as being in the category of most forgettable.
Having thought about it I decided to rule out games that involved something of historic note which may have clouded my judgement and finally settled on: Saturday January 6th 2001,
This was United’s first season in the Premier Division after manager Alan Devonshire had the led the club to promotion in 2000.  The Magpies had struggled to adjust to life at the higher level but six points over Christmas at home to Slough and away to Hitchin had indicated they were getting to grips with the demands of the new division.
As with this year the weather was harsh over the festive period with the Slough Boxing Day derby (sadly unique in modern times) played on a practically frozen pitch and the Hitchin game only going ahead after the Canaries fans had cleared the surface of snow.
The snow had since melted bringing the inevitable problem of waterlogging.  As the usual big crowd was expected to follow the Shots to York Road the call went out for volunteers to help the groundstaff make the surface ready for play.  Hence I found myself at some ungodly hour for a Saturday morning rooting around in my Dad’s shed for a fork and then putting it to good use in the winter sunshine on the pitch under the watchful eye of Shots assistant manager Stuart Cash who was eager that the game went ahead to clear a suspension.
A referee popped by mid morning to check up on our handywork and pronounced York Road ready for play leaving everyone to take a well deserved break.
The players spoil my handywork
One of the highlights of watching Maidenhead at this time was the rivalry with Aldershot.  This was genuine with the Magpies winning their fair  share of encounters, particularly at the Recreation Ground.  Add in the rumbunctious Shots manager George Borg and with many other games postponed locally a huge crowd gathered at York Road, (the biggest I have ever seen for a league game) and the scene was set for a great day at the match.
Within three minutes Maidenhead stunned their visitors by taking the lead when Joe Nartey picked up Richie Barnard’s long clearance to score.  This really irked the travelling Shots and upset by the impudence of the relegation threatened Magpies tweaking the nose of their title chasing heroes one tried to steal the United flag.  
Aldershot poured the pressure onto their hosts but were unable to equalise and some of their fans passion crossed the line of acceptability in the bar at half time and during the second half.
As the game entered its final act Maidenhead were still holding out and then stunned the crowd by applying the coup de grace when firstly Lee Channell finished the good work of Barry Rake and Obi Ulasi.  This was followed by quite simply the best Maidenhead United goal I have ever seen at York Road when Adrian Allen picked up the ball in his own half, ran through the Aldershot team before unleashing an unstoppable shot from twenty five yards.
By now Aldershot had had enough and Mark Pye was sent off following a 15 man free for all.  At the final whistle the Shots players took out their frustration on the dressing room furniture as their fans dealt with the attentions of the local constabulary.  With Borg bemoaning the state of the pitch I was left to savour a famous victory which embodied all that is great about our club. That is everyone working together for victory whatever the scale of opposition.
Magpies: Barnard, Ferdinand, Connor, Rake, Croxford, Brown, Cook, Nartey (76 Allen), Channell, Glynn (65 Hickey), Ulasi. Unused sub: Craker. Goals: Nartey 3, Channell 71, Allen 81. Attendance: 1,213

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

is adrian's goal on youtube

Steve said...

Sadly not. A video of the game was sold. Would be great if someone could upload it.