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, 26 February 2012

Dead Wood

The slow but inevitable demise of Thurrock as the Conference South's purveyor of joyless efficient football witnessed by next to no one has left a vacancy, with two possible candidates to fill it, Maidenhead United and Boreham Wood. 
The contestants went into yesterday's game level on points, cut adrift with Thurrock at the bottom of the attendance table with the Wood stone last, a somewhat surprising statistic given their facilities and chairman's conceit for their marketing strategy.
The game promised to be a tight affair. With both sides looking to quickly move the ball forward into the final third to maximise opportunities for scoring, it was clear that defensive discipline would be paramount. So it proved that after holding out against Maidenhead's early attacking promise, two goals midway through the first half for Boreham Wood effectively decided a game tainted by an inept refereeing performance.
This early spell of dominance was as good as it got for Maidenhead, a Leon Solomon drive being tipped over the bar and in the Magpie move of the game Bobby Behzadi running the length of the pitch before being denied by a last ditch challenge.
This initial effort proved fruitless when David Bryant volleyed home the opening goal, despite being deemed offside by reporters from either side's local newspaper.With the Maidenhead defence still stung by conceding they afforded Omer Riza the time and the space to fashion a delightful chip to double the lead within three minutes.
As the game drew on the main feature became the woefully inconsistent performance by the referee who steadily crumbled in the face of constant berating by the Boreham Wood players. Matters came to a head in the second half when as Maidenhead showed the intent to get back into the game, Wood successfully broke the game up by fashioning a series of controversial incidents starting with a soft challenge to the chest by Alex Wall on goalkeeper Elvijs Putnins which saw the stopper roll around on the ground until Wall was booked. Later a more severe body check on Solomon saw no such sanction. Still the Maidenhead pressure at least started to rattle Wood when chief yahoos Charlie O'Loughlin and Mario Noto started arguing with their own bench.
The introduction of all three Maidenhead substitutes upped the pace a little but still the Magpies could not conjure up a chance to seriously test Putnins and with the points looking destined for Hertfordshire it was left to the referee to lead the game to its nadir.
With time ticking away O'Loughlin clearly tripped a Maidenhead player, a foul as deserving of a yellow card as any of the others in the game. As the referee called him over the penny dropped that this would be a second card for the defender and so with the help of Captain Noto he successfully hectored the weak official into giving him one more chance.
All there was left was for an all at sea Maidenhead defence to concede a third goal, Osei Sankofa taking advantage of the wide open spaces in the United penalty area to score.
The result leaves Maidenhead anxiously looking ahead at a seriously difficult fixture list for the rest of the season, an outcome of the ridiculous way it was planned in the summer. The unscheduled winter break was clearly unhelpful and a tricky seven days follows with trips to promotion chasing Chesham in the County Cup on Tuesday followed by table topping Woking next Saturday. 
The team is crying out for creativity in the midfield as the defence is unable to maintain the discipline and concentration required to regularly achieve the clean sheets which are necessary to complement the sides parsimonious forward play.
As for Boreham Wood, their ugly use of gamesmanship, particularly with regard to the treatment of officials is unlikely to lift them off the bottom of the attendance league despite being based in the middle of a housing estate. Still with his desire to constantly discuss the laws of the game, a career as a referee clearly beckons for Charlie O'Loughlin.


Lenny Baryea said...

A good read.

Opening paragraph made me chuckle.

Re Wood's gamesmanship - other clubs have made similar accusations against Maidenhead in recent seasons, and our disciplinary record under Drax is poor. Wasn't the reverse fixture, earlier in the season, a niggly affair that ended with Manny Williams taking his frustrations out on an advertising hoarding?

Steve said...

I think Boreham Wood were awarded as many if not more cards yesterday.
Maidenhead's record, certainly this season has largely consisted of cautions for poor challenges rather than dissent.
I didn't go to the away game.