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, 27 November 2011

Billericay feeling Dickie

Billericay Town is a club that automatically takes me back to the Magpies' days in the Isthmian League. They were always a good yardstick to measure how good United were in any one season with stand out memories being the wins home and away against the Blues in their 1998 Division One promotion season, the latter win in Essex being inspired from the unlikely quarter of Clayton Whittle and the heroic Andy Robertson who ended up in hospital with a broken arm. There were doubles of different varieties in future seasons. Firstly in 2000 an amazing Billy Cove strike at the Lodge was United's only goal in two League Cup semi final legs which were both drawn, Doncaster Rovers' Adam Lockwood featuring in the Maidenehad defence as a loan player from his then employers Reading. The tie therefore went to penalties with goalkeeper Garath Ormshaw firing United through to the final by taking the last kick himself. A few months later and Maidenhead had joined Billericay in the Premier Division but this time it was the Blues who gave the Magpies a memorable footballing lesson in the standards required to prosper at the new level.
Fast forward to 2011 and a Maidenhead team without a win in November was set to face a Billericay side top of the Isthmian League on the back of a 5-0 demolition of Horsham in midweek. The scene was set for Billericay to establish their Alliance South credentials against the team bottom of the form table, a positive outcome for Essex looking likely as the Maidenhead team was weakened by the suspension of Bobby Behzadi and injuries to the likes of Jon Scarborough and Will Hendry. Add in overnight illness to Joe Crook which prevented him from making his full debut, a seventeen year old starting a first team game for the first time at centre back in Devante McKain and Nevin Saroya being prevented from getting game time lower down the pyramid due to Leigh Henry's new fatherhood,  and you had on the face of it a Maidenhead team there for the taking.
As is the style in the Isthmian league Billericay tore into their opponents with a high tempo approach, displaying a penchant for set pieces in the final third with full backs from the Delap school of throw ins. They regularly threatened the Maidenhead goal throughout the first half with balls across the six yard box but couldn't quite get on the end of any of the crosses to trouble Billy Lumley in the United goal.
After 20 minutes Maidenhead launched what turned out to be the crucial attacking phase of play. It started with a rehearsal, Ashan Holgate laying the ball off to Alex Wall whose shot was turned round the post by the beautifully named Town custodian Dale Brightly. Two minutes later Reece Tison-Lascaris was the recipient of a Holgate short pass and this time the promising youngster finished his tricky run with a finish to match to score.
The rest of the half was characterised by Billericay furiously claiming every infringement no matter how minor. A surprisingly lenient referee Nigel Lugg seemed happy to subject himself to a barrage of effing and jeffing every time he ruled in Maidenhead's favour, with Richard Halle on the pitch and manager Craig Edwards off it fortunate not to be cautioned for their frequent protests which were mirrored by the away support.
At the restart Billericay pushed hard for an equaliser but their early efforts came to naught. The introduction of Manny Williams and Martel Powell saw Maidenhead enjoy a spell when they might have doubled their lead but the stage was set for Billericay to give it the kitchen sink treatment in the final stages to try and force a replay. Most of their attacking endeavours were now coming from either wing, Junior Luke blazing a trail down the right whilst Harrison Chatting was left in acres of space on the other flank. The defensive unit of Rose, Saroya, McKain and Solomon held firm for the most part although the post was required to deny Chatting, and Worsfold cleared off the line from a corner which followed soon after.
Billericay had one card left to play in the form of Chris Wild who must have been eager to prove the law of the ex after finishing his Maidenhead career in ignominy at Histon in 2006 arguing mid game with supporters who unlike Wild had managed to arrive by kick off despite having to endure a rail replacement bus journey. This symbol of the club's most Fred Karnoesque of incarnations almost had the last laugh though with a powerful header from a last minute corner. Fortunately Lumley was up to the task of catching the ball with a graceful dive and Maidenhead survived four minutes of stoppage time to earn £4,000 and a place in the first round proper of the FA Trophy on Saturday December 10th. After a much awaited midweek break the team must bring their cup form to the table next Saturday against Dorchester to try and start climbing the table again.

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