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, 2 September 2012

Eastbourne Pratt fall

A welcome end to the summer with a trip to Eastbourne. Having stayed in the welcoming Sports clubhouse as long as possible, we walked into the ground to the pleasingly unexpected accompaniment of the final pre match tune, French Disko by Stereolab. 
This naturally gave way to the brass strains of Good Old Sussex By The Sea as the teams walked out, a title that rings true for the Magpies who have generally been on the right side of results at Eastbourne and Lewes this century. Of course I don't like to talk about the day we ventured into inland Sussex.
The stand out sound from the PA though was the news that Borough defender Darren Baker was about to make his 950th full appearance for the club, a truly astonishing achievement which makes one wonder if there has ever been a better one club player.
At kick off confidence was high at Priory Lane that Eastbourne were going to continue their encouraging start to the season, a feeling reflected by the pre match odds which perhaps chose to ignore the Magpies resilient start to their campaign in favour of their bottom three finish in April.
This proved to be unwise as the Magpies started brightly, taking a deserved lead in the twelfth minute. Midfielder Michael Pook started the move with a slide rule pass to Leon Solomon, the right back driving into the penalty area, shrugging off the challenge of a defender to cross low into the six yard box where David Pratt won the race to put the ball in the net and shake the hands of the celebrating fans behind the goal.
Eastbourne's response did not lack effort but took a bizarre approach by firing a series of long balls forward, an odd tactic for a team full of players shorter than their opponents. Maidenhead punished this short sightedness with a second goal just after the half hour mark, a well worked goal of suitable quality for a team wearing the Brazilian colours.
This time Pratt started and finished the move, playing a 1-2 with Reece Tison-Lascaris, the striker collecting the return pass to burst clear into the box and apply a thumping finish which gave goalkeeper Danny Potter no chance.
The writing was on the wall for the home team when Tison-Lascaris himself spearheaded a counter attack five minutes later, but this time Potter was able to push the youngster's shot round the post.
The degree to which the Magpies were dominating the game was then shown when, following a break in play whilst Harry Pritchard received treatment to his ankle after a heavy challenge, Eastbourne manager Tommy Widdrington called his team over to the dugout and humbly ordered a change of tactics. This also put an end to some on pitch squabbling among the home team and set them up for a strong finish to the half although their best chance at the far post was put wide to leave Billy Lumley to reflect on an largely untroubled first forty five minutes.
The break saw Drax forced into a change as midfield playmaker Pook withdrew with a suspected fractured arm whilst Widdrington unsurprisingly opted to bring on a striker in the form of Gary Hart. The saw second half thus saw more pressure from Eastbourne, particularly when lively substitute David Knight entered the fray, but they were unable to profit from any of the openings they found in the Maidenhead United penalty area, whilst the Magpies remained a constant threat on the break. Indeed it was United who came closest to the adding to the score in the second half, a blistering strike from Daniel Brown from twenty yards hitting the post, and then following a period of sustained Eastbourne pressure in the closing minutes an Alex Wall shot was tipped over the bar.
So the final whistle brought an end to the best performance of the season so far by Maidenhead, but one that must be consolidated in the two home games which follow this week. A year ago to the weekend, the Magpies won a similarly thrilling contest at Truro, and back in January won by the same scoreline here at Priory Lane. Time for the squad to prove their assertions that they are a top half team, assertions that will be proved by following the example of the outstanding David Pratt, clinical in attack and so hard working that at times he was back in defence winning back the ball to launch another attack.

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