About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Magpies take it to the 'bridge

Saturday was a day ripe for deja vu with York Road hosting a replay of the opening fixture of the 2011/12 season which saw Tonbridge Angels open their first Blue Square Bet South season with a 4-0 victory romp over a sorry Maidenhead United team on a gloomy August afternoon. With the Magpies ending the season relegated then reprieved, and Tonbridge consolidating with a final placing of ninth, the odds on were a similar result twelve months later so it was pleasant surprise that greeted my news of Saturday's win as I spread the word at Pinkneys Green on Sunday.
The win was very much a case of fortune favouring the brave, both in terms of Drax's decision to field an attacking 4-3-3 formation, and later to continue to chase the game with the introduction of substitutes Reece Tison-Lascaris and Harry Pritchard.
In the scorching heat I was expecting a cagey game as the players sought to conserve energy but it was clear that quite the opposite was in store from the off as Maidenhead attacked from the kick off. Then in the seventh minute it was Billy Lumley's turn to shine producing a cracking save to deny George Purcell after he had been put in the clear by Chris Piper.
Any misgivings about Maidenhead's lack of width were allayed by the hard work of the front three who were only too willing to go looking for the ball on the wing and it was very much nip and tuck at the impromptu drinks break taken after half an hour.
As half time loomed Maidenhead took the lead with a well worked goal, a delightful pass from Lee Barney teeing up Paul Semakula to follow up his historic stoppage time strike in the last league game at York Road, with another goal, this time a thumping twenty yard drive giving Lee Worgan no chance in the Angels goal.
With Tonbridge eager to expose any frailties in the Maidenhead defence an equaliser did not look like being long to arrive and before the break Frannie Collin was presented with an open goal only to be relieved of the responsibility for a shocking miss by an offside flag.
Tonbridge needed approximately forty seconds of the second half to level the score, going for goal straight from the kick off. Rory Hill's shot from outside the penalty area could only be parried by Lumley, Collin sweeping home the loose ball from close range.
As with the first half Maidenhead worked hard to get back into the game and just after the hour and an odd passage of events led to the Magpies retaking the lead. Initially David Pratt and Barney combined well down the right wing to send in an incisive ball across the six yard box. This was missed by all concerned but shortly Alex Wall ended up on the deck following a challenge from a defender. After a lengthy deliberation the referee decided no action was required and inevitably it was Wall who found himself in the book when the next United attack saw the roles reversed. This prompted his withdrawal along with debutant Derek Duncan the replacements Tison-Lascaris and Bobby Behzadi going on to play a crucial role with their respective first touches.
First up was Tison-Lascaris, picking up the ball on the right and driving down the wing before cutting into the penalty area and drawing the foul in Attrellesque fashion from Ollie Schulz. Then it was over to Behzadi who blasted the spot kick high into the net to restore the United lead.
Although events on the pitch then settled down tempers boiled over between the two technical areas in a dispute supposedly sparked by which team was supposed to give the ball back after a stoppage.
Maidenhead then opted to sit on their lead and found themselves pushed back into their penalty area time after time only for Tonbridge to spurn a number of headed opportunities. Such was Tonbridge's dominance in the latter stages that goalkeeper Worgan made frequent sallies over the half way line, a move that cost him dear in stoppage time as a long clearance found Pratt (a man in desperate need of a nickname more creative than "Pratty"), who spotting the keeper well out of his goal, lofted the ball over the hapless stopper to seal the points for United.
So a welcome opening day win at York Road for the Magpies, even if the margin of victory was a little unfair on the visitors.

No comments: