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, 2 October 2011

CSI Maidenhead

A criminal investigation should have started at the final whistle yesterday after the Magpies were robbed of £4,500 and a place in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup by some mysterious officiating in stoppage time at the end of the game. A forensic team would be required to find the scraps of evidence necessary to legitimate two key decisions as their rationales were invisible to the naked eye.
Despite being down to ten men for over half the game Maidenhead were looking most likely to score a winner as the ninety minute mark was passed. The Magpies had stretched the Farnborough defence all afternoon with some penetrating long balls, quite apt as Glenn Hoddle was watching from the shelf, with Martel Powell in scintillating form. His pass deep into the right corner of the pitch was hared after by attacking dynamo Manny Williams and under pressure the defender chipped his diminutive keeper to score an exquisite own goal from a tight angle but the celebrations were cut short by the linesman who waited until the ball hit the back of the net and the players had long parted to raise his flag for a presumed foul in the build up. Who knows what this was but the big question was why didn't he flag the instant it happened? Did he take pity on the miserable sight of an embarrassed defender at his feet?
Within a minute the Powell/Williams double act worked again on the opposite flank. This time Williams had the ball at his feet and an arm around his chest as the defender tried to jostle him off the ball, Williams stayed on his feet and after the defender, having failed in his Machiavellian mission, collapsed in a heap leaving just the keeper to beat the referee awarded a free kick to Farnborough when surely he should have let play continue then dismiss the defender for a professional foul?
Then again this was par for the course in Maidenhead's encounters with Farnborough. I missed the win in August over the non league kings of financial doping, but was reminded of it just before the kick off when a Farnborough fan chose to scream abuse at the Maidenhead bench for being whingers that day when Chris Taylor was stretchered off having been crippled for the season by Ashley Winn. Its this sort of thing that put Farnborough on my games to avoid list, not quite eclipsing an incident in the 2000 Isthmian League Cup Final  in that other loathsome part of Hampshire, Basingstoke, when a woman standing behind me informed Chuk Agudosi that he should "go back to the jungle".
Anyway back to the football. This tumultuous FA Cup tie began in whizz bang fashion with both teams launching balls forward at every opportunity. One punt from Nevin Saroya found Williams whose shot hit the post whilst at the other end Reece Connolly went close for 'borough. Maidenhead suffered an early set back when Max Worsfold limped off injured having forced a great save from Sam Somerville. Then with half time in sight United went down to ten men when Sam Beasant was sent off. His onlooking dad Dave must have winced as for third time his son came out of his penalty area and failed to deal adequately with a long ball. The first two attempts saw long shots on an open goal go wide but this time Beasant got his hands to the ball to allow Andrew Fagan to tidy up behind him and a red card was inevitable.
Earlier Maidenhead had taken the lead with a glorious sweeping move which Ashan Holgate instigated with a deft back heel to Anthony Thomas who drove inside from the left wing, passing to Williams who helped the ball onto Powell on the right to score with a drilled shot inside the far post.
This proved to be a mixed blessing for both teams. After the break Farnborough used the extra man to briefly run Maidenhead ragged and it was no surprise when Adam Bygrave eluded a statuesque Magpie backline to convert Connolly's cross. Instead of going for the jugular they then sat back and Maidenhead slowly worked their way back into the game, an approach exemplified by the tireless Fagan who often doubled up on his defensive duties on the right side of midfield. Following the dismissal Drax had surprisingly opted to replace the hard working Thomas rather than the languid Holgate with Jordan Clement and the young Shots keeper pushed his claim for the number one spot in the replay with three good saves from Tony Garrod and Reece Connolly (twice). This enabled the fitter Magpies to press for the winner which was cruelly denied them in stoppage time by the men in black and so go into the replay without suspended talisman Williams and Bobby Behzadi. Time for Will Hendry to return and inspire a win at Cherrywood Road?

Post script: Seeing Dave Beasant at the game reminded me that Maidenhead fielded two sons of the 80s crazy gang yesterday both in goal!


Anonymous said...

The goal should have stood. Williams didn't touch the defender before he lobbed his own keeper and even the defender was probably the most suprised person in the ground when he realised he got away with it.

The ref was abysmal throughout - failed to give the Magpies a number of decisions when they were caught late by Farnboro tackles, but seemed to give everything in their favour.

I'm usually supportive of refs and officials who generally do a very good job under difficult circumstances - but this was just so obviously biased. Even the sending off was wrong - deliberate handball is a yellow card offence not a straight red and as there was a defender back as well it could not be argued that the attacker was denied a clear goal scoring opportunity.

It was all very suspicious.

Lenny Baryea said...

An enjoyable read.

Lenny Baryea said...

Oh, and top marks to MUFC for the pre kick-off tannoy announcement thanking the away fans re the collection for Chris Taylor.

Steve said...

In my opinion the dismissal of Beasant was correct, by handling the ball he must have slowed it down and allowed Fagan to get back and clear? He was also intentionally denying a goal scoring opportunity in doing so.

I agree the defender looked as surprised as anyone when the goal was disallowed.

Anonymous said...

you guys have got to be having a laugh, he has quite clearly tackled him late which irrelevant of where the ball lands up its a foul in any standard of football, an also keeper had to go!!!

Steve said...

Here's a neutral verdict: