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, 11 March 2012

Magpies Fall in One Ton Dupe

A solitary Tonbridge goal settled the game yesterday on a humdrum day in Kent notable only for the pleasant Spring weather.
This was in contrast to the Magpies' first visit to Longmead back in the dog days of Alan Devonshire's reign. This FA Trophy tie was full of incident with the result leading to rancour on and off the field, all set to a gloomy backdrop of teeming rain straight out of a Ted Lewis novel. The day was accompanied by a pub crawl the length of the long walk up the High Street from the station to the ground, with a visit to the pubs on the west side of the street on the way there and the east on the way back. Memories are naturally hazy as there was no shortage of stopping points in either direction. Ten years later a similar expedition would have been a more sober experience with many of the watering holes shut down and inevitably a Wetherspoons being one of the few survivors. This at least provided the opportunity for pre match refreshment with a taxi taking us out of this rather down at heel part of town past the more auspicious sites of the Castle and public school before entering the housing estate which enveloped the football ground.
For a relative new build Longmead reflects much of what is good about non league grounds. A clear case of piecemeal development as finance allows, the highlight is the two steep covered terraces behind each goal which ensured that the 591 crowd created a better atmosphere than at Kingfield last week. Unfortunately the game itself produced less incident.
Despite Tonbridge's opening day humbling of the Magpies with a 4-0 win, the teams were as well matched as their midtable positions suggested. Tonbidge tore into Maidenhead from the kick off but after this opening blitz the Magpies gradually got back into the game and as half time approached were applying enough pressure to suggest they were gaining the upper hand. Throughout the half a clear area of United advantage was their delivery into the penalty area from set pieces but sadly there was no one able to apply a finish, the sole save being a Lee Worgan block from a Harry Pritchard shot from a tight angle.
The second half followed a similar pattern only this time Tonbridge sustained their opening burst and were rewarded with a goal, ironically from a set piece. In this case a looping Sonny Miles cross found an unmarked Ollie Schulz who headed home with what was one of the few genuine goal scoring attempts of the whole game. The rest of the game saw Maidenhead throw everything forward coming closest to an equaliser when Jermaine Hinds was well placed in the penalty area only for the rangy midfielder to be harshly penalised for handball. For the most part the Tonbridge defence proved unbreachable, marshalled by captain Ben Judge who has proved a regular stumbling block to Magpie progress since his time in the Croydon defence at the end of the last century. 
As the United commitment to attack naturally increased this inevitably produced opportunities for an Angels counter attack but there seemed little danger of this being anything other than a one goal game. Indeed they merely showcased Maidenhead man of the match Mark Nisbet's ball skills, the captain often recovering the ball then leading the charge back up the pitch. He seemed revitalised following his recent return from injury, adding much needed pep to the flagging Magpie cause as the game drew to a close.
So Maidenhead now face an odd set of four games, with Saturday fixtures against Hampton and Salisbury offering great opportunities for points whilst Tuesday nights see an uphill struggle against promotion chasing Dartford and Welling. Tonbridge seem to have adjusted well to their new level and with a series of announcements yesterday about contracting well established Angels players for next season look to be setting themselves up for a promotion push in 2013.

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