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.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Different Kind of Tension

A relegation struggle is a very different animal from a promotion chase and thus provides a subtly different range  of emotions. A promotion chase is built on good form throughout the season, thus the end of season games are entered into with an expectation of success making failure hard to bear.  Conversely teams facing relegation have generally performed poorly so even when opportunities for points present themselves the fatalist feeling persists that it can't last. 
These emotions were present in full on Tuesday night as promotion chasing Eastleigh visited relegation threatened Maidenhead. In pleasing contrast to the bore draw on Saturday Maidenhead always looked like they had a goal in them due to the width created by a change of formation which saw several dangerous crosses launched into the box.  This flew in the face of Eastleigh's York Road record which has seen them thump the Magpies year in year out with their powerful style of play.  However tonight they could not break the Maidenhead rearguard marshalled by the experienced Jon Scarborough, with even their trusty set pieces letting them down.
When Maidenhead took the lead just after half time as Will Hendry headed in Anthony Thomas' cross, the immediate reaction was that this can't last with memories of the three minute lead at Hampton a fortnight ago still fresh in the mind. Yet as the half drew on the panic was palpable in the Eastleigh ranks as substitutes were thrown on and the ball launched forward with ever increasing haste.  The pressure of having to beat a team which had not won at home since August saw the Spitfires crack as they could not find a way through what at times was an eight man defence with the unusual task of defending a lead. Six minutes of stoppage time came and went with Maidenhead having the best chance to double their lead.  Then the final whistle came.  Relief to be sure but of a kind of delirious I can't quite believe it release which left Magpies grinning at the prospect of a great escape.  Meanwhile the Eastleigh fans muttered darkly about players not being fit to wear the shirt and of mysterious dressing room events. 

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