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, 1 May 2011

The Great Escape

So the stage was set for Maidenhead to complete the great escape from relegation just twenty eight days after an abject defeat at Lewes left me looking up how to get to clubs in the Southern League. In the mean time four wins two draws and a ten point deduction had taken United off the bottom and at start of play on the final day of the season in 19th place needing one point for safety only if Thurrock won at promotion chasing Farnborough.
The dramatis personae reflected the world war two prisoner of war drama. Firstly St. Albans, the victims of the ten point deduction, were those stuck underground when the Germans discovered the tunnel. Down before the escape had hardly begun. Next were lovely Lewes played by awfully nice Gordon Jackson, who made it out only to be caught a few days later when he was tricked into revealing his British identity. The Rooks looked like they could make it last week with that last minute winner at Havant only to give themselves away at home two days later to Bishops Stortford. That leaves Thurrock and Maidenhead but who would be Steve McQueen caught on the Swiss border and who would be Charles Bronson quietly rowing to safety?
A strange atmosphere surrounded York Road, reflecting the warm sun tempered by a cold easterly wind. Personally I was also haunted by the last day surrender at Newport six years ago to the very day which saw the Exiles saved at the expense of the Magpies after a similar late season winning run. Little changed when the game against Dartford kicked off as it became clear that Farnborough were beating Thurrock 2-0 and so it seemed neither side at York Road was fully committed to attack although both had the odd opening to do so. Thus half time arrived at the status quo of 0-0, Maidenhead half a job done whilst Dartford had plenty in the tank for their Kent Senior Cup Final on Monday.
The nerves started to increase when Thurrock scored early in the second half and despite Farnborough making it 3-1, a second for Thurrock sent out a warning that they were ready, willing and able to mount a comeback. Meanwhile at York Road, a Dartford counterattack saw Charlie Sheringham give them the lead and semi panic started to set in as in committing more men forward in the search for equaliser the Magpies allowed the Darts to score twice more against a stretched defence. Whilst I started to contemplate taking up smoking again Maidenhead at last showed some fighting spirit, scoring twice as the game drew into its closing stages. Although Jefferson Louis went close twice we were denied the perfect conclusion of Maidenhead completing the comeback but with no further score at Farnborough the final table remained as it was at 3 pm and the game ended on a rather odd note with Maidenhead succeeding in defeat.
This somehow seemed appropriate as although the record books will show  the Magpies finished a full three points clear of Thurrock ,the margin was really only Max Worsfold's injury time winner at Ship Lane two weeks earlier. Saturday's defeat also symbolised a home campaign where the Magpies consistently were not quite good enough. All in all a disappointing Blue Square Bet South season for United. The youthful squad created the previous season failed to deliver on the promise of last term's 16th place and instead it was an influx of experience in March which instigated the great escape. Clearly much work to do over the summer to find the right blend for next season.

1 comment:

Chris R said...

Agree much to do over summer and i suspect tomorrow will be last time we see most of these guys who have been very disappointing especially as you say at home.
Drax has got a lot of work to find new blood