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.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Captain Markvel leads Magpies second half turnabout

Welling United always prove to be a good benchmark against which to measure progress and so it proved on Saturday as one of the better teams to play the Magpies this season were turned over in the second half despite being well in control at the break.
The game started slowly but soon settled down into a pattern which saw Maidenhead's attempts to attack snuffed out by an efficient defence led by the impressive Fraser Franks in the centre whilst the Welling front two Theo Fairweather-Johnson and Ross Lafayette maintained a constant threat. 
The threat was realised a quarter of an hour into the game when a Scott Kinch long ball found Fairweather-Johnson on the right, who hooked in a cross to Lafayette. The striker then turned and shot for goal in one beautifully smooth movement, Finnish goalkeeper Jesse Joronen momentarily raising hopes of a save but his magnificent effort could only push the ball into the net.
The goal pretty much settled matters for the first forty five minutes, with Welling looking comfortable holding a lead. They came closest to doubling it when a long shot was almost dropped into his own net by Joronen having collided with the woodwork when making the initial save.
After the break Welling looked well set to consolidate their lead into a victory using the wind and the slope to pressure the Maidenhead penalty area, but Joronen and the defence were equal to everything the Wings and the elements could throw at them and thus after having survived the initial second half onslaught the Magpies were ready to turn the tables on the visitors.
With the hour mark approaching a shot from outside the penalty area by Michael Pook was pushed around the post for a corner by Welling goalkeeper Sam Mott. Following the kick the ball found its way back to Pook on the left wing and his cross was headed goalward by David Pratt. Mott could not hold the ball and captain Mark Nisbet was first to bundle it over the line for an equaliser.
After a month in the doldrums the Magpies at last began to recover some of their vim and vigour getting the upper hand in the game for the first time. With nineteen minutes left this translated into what proved to be the winning goal, an almost identical move to the first. This time Pook took a free kick from the left wing which Nisbet headed past Mott. Full of confidence again United saw out the remaining time with little alarm, helped by the early departure of Kinch for two fairly innocuous challenges. Further entertainment was provided by a Welling fan who charged from behind the goal to challenge the linesmen on every decision with the final whistle soon coming to signal a satisfyingly unexpected victory to end the Magpies recent poor run of form.
The win left me pondering the power of confidence. The first half felt little different to the other defeats of late but the second half goal led to a visible transformation in the authority of the Maidenhead team to produce a win. A key factor must have been the return of captain Mark Nisbet, not least with his two goals, his leadership linked with the tenacity through the middle of the team with Bobby Behzadi in the centre and Pratt up front seeing the Magpies return to their resilient character shown earlier in the season.

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