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, 8 April 2012

Pain in Staines

Yesterday's game in Middlesex was the source of as much disappointment as the previous game in Kent provided hope. Despite the double material gain of a point and keeping a relegation rival in the drop zone, the predominant emotion at the final whistle was embarrassment at being second best to a team who had spent the entire season in the bottom six.
Providing the easiest and most pleasant journey to an away game, Staines still represents Isthmian league football to me, with its small ground now presented as an afterthought to a health club, hosting similar paltry crowds to York Road, although in this case boosted by the watching eyes of a couple of ponies in a neighbouring field.
Maidenhead started the game well, thankfully taking my mind off the inane chanting emanating from the Staines ultras in the stand, but once Town took charge it was clear that the yellow shirts would be producing virtually all of the goalmouth action.
The Swans served notice that they would be going all out for the three points when a David Wheeler header flashed past the post. He again went close before half time with Billy Lumley playing a key role in keeping the score line goalless at the break. 
Staines showed much in common with their Middlesex neighbours and fellow relegation strugglers Hampton, with endeavour far outweighing potency in front of goal, but although the Magpies achieved the same result at the Beveree at least on that occasion they did everything but score. 
Yesterday there was virtually nothing on offer up front for United, which only increased the pressure on the midfield and defence. Ashan Holgate is clearly a talented ball player but his lack of pace left Manny Williams a lone force in attack. With Harry Pritchard blowing hard on the left wing for much of the second half, it was left to a set piece to provide Maidenhead's one and only real goal scoring opportunity. With twelve minutes remaining Mark Nisbet stooped to deliver a looping header which was pawed from under the bar by Danny Potter. Sadly this stood alone as the only moment when Maidenhead looked capable of taking all three points as the second half saw Staines dominate once more, Lumley saving well with his feet from Richard Butler, then left thanking the woodwork when with eighteen minutes to go Wheeler hit the crossbar.
Any hopes of a late rally by Maidenhead disappeared when Jermaine Hinds was sent off for two cautions in the 84th minute. Like last week Hinds had come on as a second half sub, and whereas his dismissal seven days ago within two minutes of coming on could be ascribed to a rush of a blood to a head, at Staines the two cautions were separated by ten minutes, and there was no doubt about either. His rather British notion of commitment in being prepared to dive in and win the ball at all costs, has deprived his team mates of pressing for late points two weeks in a row at a vital time of the season and I can only shake my head in disappointment when a player of this mindset appears on the team sheet.
Thus Maidenhead had little option but to defend deep for the final minutes and again had the woodwork to thank for a cleansheet when Tom Kavanagh hit the post at the death.
At the final whistle I held my opinion that Staines were likely relegation candidates but on this showing Maidenhead would be keeping them company in the bottom three. Survival in the next few weeks will depend on two things. Firstly the ability to keep eleven men on the pitch for ninety minutes. Secondly the capacity to create goal scoring opportunities. Suspension will mean the pace and strength of Alex Wall can't help, so for my money Maidenhead hopes must rest on the young shoulders of Reece Tison-Lascaris, a player who enjoys running at opponents with the ball at his feet, and has proved he has the ability to go on and score. Needless to say he must still complete a suspension tomorrow but the way he combined with Holgate earlier in the season presents the best opportunity for a goal from open play in the remaining games.

1 comment:

Lenny Baryea said...

"Needless to say he must still complete a suspension tomorrow"

Sooner or later our abysmal disciplinary record under Drax was going to really hurt us

Ten dismissals this season, is that right?

Disgraceful, really, esp bearing in mind that this year hasn't been a one-off