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.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Magpies Win 'Nam War

"Been away Ted?
 Yes just got back from 'Nam.
No Cheltenham"
Ted Chippington

Gloucestershire is one of my favourites places is England although the uncomfortably busy train ride provided ample reminders of some days out at football I would rather forget. Yes the scenery just gets better and better when you leave Reading but the view is scarred by memories at Didcot, Kemble (i.e. Cirencester), Stroud (i.e. Forest Green Rovers), and finally Gloucester, where on a glorious sunny day in 2006, we confidently felt that we were going to walk all over the Southern League as Dwain Clark ran the show and gave the Magpies the lead before two late Tiger goals won the game, punctured our ego and signalled the beginning of the end for manager Carl Taylor.
Fast forward six years and one young debutant from that day, Mark Nisbet was leading a team looking for revenge, this time in the FA Trophy. Having arrived at Gloucester though we stayed put on the train as the driver changed ends and continued the journey to Cheltenham where the Tigers are forced to play their games. Still unable to rebuild their flood damaged ground at Meadow Park due to the local council's intransigence and preference for egg chasing, City have led a nomadic existence for a few years now, firstly playing at Cirencester before moving to Whaddon Road.
Taking a taxi from the station we found ourselves dropped off in the middle of a housing estate, which our driver Dick assured us was a cheaper option than going to the ground itself. Sure enough walking down the alley as directed saw us arrive at Cheltenham's footballing Narnia. A swift pint in the cosy supporters bar was enough refreshment before taking my seat in the Directors Box to take in yet another picturesque sporting view in Cheltenham, though not quite up to the standard of the College cricket ground or famous racecourse.
A pattern of a open game contested by two committed teams was quickly laid out, with the officials from the West Midlands being happy to keep their cards to themselves for the time being despite a few full blooded challenges from either side. Leon Solomon, switching to the left full back slot to cover for injured Derek Duncan, showed much promise going forward finding David Pratt with a great pass just ahead of the quarter hour mark, the striker turning well before shooting narrowly wide. 
Gloucester came close to opening the scoring when Lewis Hogg rattled the woodwork with a free kick but it was Maidenhead who scored the only goal of the game in the thirtieth minute. Reece Tison-Lascaris instigated the move with a trademark dribble but seemed to have lost the ball only for two Gloucester defenders to tackle each other in their haste to recover possession on the edge of the penalty area. This gave the youngster the opportunity to shoot and with goalkeeper Mike Green unable to hold the shot, Tison-Lascaris was first again to the ball to score from close range. As the tackles continued to fly in both sides saw a yellow card, the half finishing on a sour note after a nasty challenge by Hogg on Nisbet.

After the break a change of viewpoint was in order to see everything the 7,000 capacity Whaddon Road had to offer with the view behind the goal revealing a couple of interesting floodlights, one of which also served as a site for an old fashioned clock.

It also proved to be a good place to watch the Magpies soak up wave after wave of Gloucester pressure, the team working well as a unit to stop any clear cut chances and launch an increasing number of dangerous counter attacks. As the game drew on the bookings continued to pile up whilst Maidenhead got closer to a decisive second goal, Daniel Brown feeding Pratt with a Hoddlesque pass which the striker was unable to convert, whilst Harry Pritchard announced his arrival on the pitch by hitting the inside of the post with his first touch.
Gloucester lived up to their nickname and showed why they have done so well in the FA Cup this season by battling all the way to the end, almost snatching a draw in the dying minutes. Firstly they returned a botched Billy Lumley clearance goalward only for Nisbet to ahead away from the empty net, and with virtually the last kick of the game fired in a half volley which fizzed past the post.

A hard earned Cup win for the Magpies then, which made the thought of an arduous journey home worthwhile as we wandered off down the alley to find Dick the taxi driver.

No comments: