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, 16 October 2011

Woking on Sunshine

Sometimes in football everything just works as intended, not very often and certainly not at York Road for Maidenhead United in an FA Cup tie, but yesterday it did. 
A reminder of how things stood at 3 pm yesterday. Woking arrived at York Road having lost just once all season, at second place Welling. Maidenhead were missing a goalkeeper, full back and star striker through suspension not to mention three influential players to injury. Even I the eternal optimist could only hope for a 1-1 draw and a replay on Tuesday night, which would be Woking's worst result at York Road since relegation to the Alliance South.
Yet from the kick off Maidenhead executed a brilliant plan to win the game, flooding the midfield with five men to stifle Woking's counter attacks, and provide the width to create their own goal scoring opportunities. This left Ashan Holgate alone up front but he manfully stepped up to his solitary task, just like Craig O'Connor did at Cambridge City more than five years ago in another splendid win. Holgate however was far more cultured in his approach than the feisty O'Connor, with his range of deft touches starring his favoured back heel. Thus Maidenhead dominated the opening stages and took a deserved lead in the seventeenth minute.
The architect of the goal was the man of the first half Anthony Thomas, who shrugged off the inconvenience of playing out of position on the left wing, picked up a pass from Will Hendry then beat three players before bending a shot around Aaron Howe which hit the far post. The loose ball then fell to Holgate to score from close range. 
Woking were quickly handed a way back into the game when Holgate was harshly judged to have fouled Joe McNerney in the penalty, Jack King equalising from the spot.
This proved to be a temporary setback for the Magpies as they quickly reclaimed the lead when a blocked Bobby Behzadi shot was fired in by Reece Tison-Lascaris. Woking again responded instantly in true Cup tie fashion but the post denied Moses Ademola a second equaliser. This proved to be a crucial miss as Maidenhead went out of sight with two more goals before half time.
Once again it was Thomas who pulled the strings, as firstly his cross was turned in by Holgate, then a lob pass found Tison-Lascaris to score the goal of the game, deftly the taking the ball past Howe before hitting the target. 
Thomas was keen to indicate his influence to the Maidenhead bench and with five goals to his credit this campaign as well as the assists, he must the star of the early season.
Before the break there was just time for Woking to show they still intended to fight for their place in the competition, giving a taste of things to come when Ademola was first denied by the feet of Jordan Clement, then saw an effort tipped over the bar.
Dale Binns had also joined the fray shortly before the interval after being surprisingly left out of the starting line up and as expected he gave makeshift right back Andrew Fagan a torrid time as Woking set up camp in the Maidenhead half from the restart. The score remained the same though Clement saving well from Elvis Hammond. As the game drew to a close Woking manager threw on Giuseppe Sole as a last throw of the dice but Clement was ready pulling off three superb saves from Sole to claim the man of the second half award and strangle any lingering hopes of a comeback. Sam Beasant will sweating about reclaim his place after this performance from the Aldershot loanee.
At the final whistle the Maidenhead players deservedly took their ovation from Bell Street and the Shelf, having given certainly the best FA Cup performance since the away tie at Stafford in 2006. 

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