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, 25 September 2011

Deep Blue Day

An afternoon to forget yesterday. One that would have been better spent wandering around Westfield, it really was that bad. The blue theme began when I stepped onto the train at Shepherd's Bush. There was barely standing room on board as it was full of Chelsea fans going to their game at Stamford Bridge. However I was surrounded by blue shirts once more on arrival at Gander Green Lane as wearing one seemed to be a way of gaining entry to that modern footballing beast, the family fun day. Hardly surprising as I was in Surrey and good to see a larger than usual number watching their local team. I draw the line though at the liberal distribution of a device which made a vuvuzela type sound which destroyed any chance of atmosphere. Perhaps this was part of an African theme with Sutton fielding a mascot dressed as a giraffe but the kick off saw the game as a sideshow to everything else going on at the Borough sports ground which had the feeling of a summer fete with a football match going on somewhere in the middle.
Sutton took charge from the word go, with Maidenhead barely making it past the halfway line in the first forty minutes. With Sutton manager Paul Doswell fielding a cast of ex Eastleigh players, Maidenhead's poor record against the Spitfires crossed my mind, and by the break it felt like one of our many defeats against the Hampshire club.
Maidenhead's shortcomings were the inability of the midfield and attack to keep the ball and thus relieve pressure on a makeshift defence. This created the environment for Sutton to ruthlessly turn the defensive errors that ensued into goals. The first saw a stray pass picked up by Craig Watkins whose shot was saved by Sam Beasant only for Watkins to pick up the loose ball again to finish from close range in the seventh minute. He doubled the score ten minutes later when he nonchalantly finished at the far post from a Leroy Griffiths cross from the right.
Any doubt about the destination of the points was removed ahead of half time when Sutton scored two more goals to notch up the Magpies' fourth four goal deficit this season. The first came from the penalty spot, a soft award given for a challenge by Bobby Behzadi on Anthony Riviere, Watkins taking the opportunity to complete a thirty minute hat trick. Then to thoroughly depress the Maidenhead mood the final goal of the half followed a Magpies attack which saw a Max Worsfold cross find Anthony Thomas whose shot grazed the crossbar. The ball then moved swiftly to the other end where Griffiths caught Beasant off his line with a lob which hit the inside of the post and was flagged as a goal despite a Marcus Rose clearance.
This passage of play was a dress rehearsal for an open second half after an interval which saw the visiting Met Police contingent focus on monitoring celebrity penalty taker Tim Vine's criminal use of puns leaving Drax to deal with the felonious first half performance from the Magpies. Thus Gordon Strachan and everyone else in the bumper four figure crowd had, despite just the one goal, a more entertaining second half to enjoy.
The Maidenhead front six showed much greater invention and desire in the second period, creating enough chances to mount an unlikely comeback. This change in performance was typified by Will Hendry and Ashan Holgate whose machinations provided opportunities aplenty for the likes of Martel Powell and Andrew Fagan. Worsfold came closest to scoring when he hit the post  before Anthony Thomas pulled one back as the hour mark approached. However this resurgence was counterbalanced by further chances for Sutton, Harry Beautyman hitting the post following a good save by Beasant from Joel Ledgister. So by the final whistle the depression was barely lifted as I made my way back home to West London through the blue hordes trailing away from the Bridge.
So with twelve league games gone the first chapter of the season closes with Maidenhead United in a satisfactory mid table position, the joy of some great wins tempered by the scale of the defeats which call to mind John Dreyer's first season when a similar placing was achieved despite regular thumpings. Two games a week over a six week period has taken its toll in suspensions and injuries which will have a real bearing on selection in the second quarter of the campaign up to the festive season with the nature of the fixture list largely dictated by the two FA competitions.


Lenny Baryea said...

“...had the feeling of a summer fete with a football match going on somewhere in the middle”

This reminds of the poster for the recent MUFC initiative, which included the line ‘Family Fun Day featuring Maidenhead United v Weston-super-Mare’ – shouldn’t it have been the other way round?!

A couple of comments on the Sutton forum that we are the worst side they’ve faced so far this season, with our first half performance especially insipid and our defending particularly weak.

Steve said...

First half was definitely awful, worse than Thurrock at York Road but second half Maidenhead actually created enough chances to equalise.