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, 18 November 2012

One for joy two for sorrow

As has now become a worrying custom Maidenhead lost the battle of the southern Magpies at York Road in a game which they opened in unstoppable form.
A typically grey autumnal afternoon had begun with a stop at Bar Sport Maidenhead to watch the North London Derby, a rare opportunity to watch that strange breed of football fans who access the game solely through TV, cheering and applauding at the screen as if at the stadium itself. This fine hostelry seems to be prospering whilst pubs across the town falter which is unsurprising when you consider the investment to ensure everyone can see a screen and their televised sport of choice. The draught Amstel could not taste better as Arsenal capitalised on Emmanuel Adebayor's dismissal, the pair of Tottenham fans sharing a table with me disappearing at half time. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't the only person heading for York Road at the final whistle, testament perhaps to their commercial support of the club.
The game at York Road sadly had shades of that in North London as Maidenhead tore Dorchester apart in the first part of the game, taking the lead when a Bobby Behzadi cross from the right was headed goalwards by David Pratt. The header took a slight deflection, enough to ensure goalkeeper Jason Matthews was unable to hold onto the ball with Daniel Brown reaching it first to score.
A few minutes later Pratt took the ball round Matthews to shoot from a tight angle, the strike well positioned but without the power to cross the line before Aaron Pugh cleared off the line. Pugh, alongside central defensive partner Charlie Clough proved to be a formidable barrier to any further Maidenhead goals. At the time I felt this reflected Maidenhead's lack of width but the introduction later on of Harry Pritchard didn't really change matters.
Having survived the opening onslaught with just a small deficit, Dorchester worked their way back into the game, serving notice of their intentions to level with a free kick that Billy Lumley pushed round the post. Whilst Maidenhead remained a threat, Mark Nisbet heading narrowly over from a corner, Dorchester equalised with the goal of the game, a Mark Jermyn pass finding Ben Watson who applied a super finish to score.
Dorchester were straight out of the blocks after the interval and would have taken the lead but for an outstanding reaction save at the far post by Lumley from Sam Malsom. Lumley was again at his best to deny a second from Watson tipping the shot onto the post when the striker ran clear on goal. That Matthews could only parry another Pratt effort served as a reminder that Maidenhead were still in the game but a double substitution just ahead of the hour mark seemed to upset United's equilibirium.
This unwelcome turn of events was compounded by Dorchester's winning goal to which the Dorset club contributed little. An innocuous through ball seemed to be destined for Lumley's welcoming embrace before James Regis diverted it into the top corner with his head from the edge of the penalty area.Whatever was or wasn't said by anyone in a black and white shirt remains conjecture as I was up the other end but certainly this goes down as a defensive mix up and a frustrating one to concede with Maidenhead seeming to have weathered the early second half blitz.
There was plenty of time to recover but Maidenhead offered little threat apart from a cross which Chris Flood fired across the edge of the penalty area from the right wing which eluded goalkeeper, defender and Alex Wall.
Not a good start to a run of at least five Saturday home games in the next six weekends. With the league table as tight as it is, goals are precious and cannot be given away lightly, certainly the likes of Danny Burnell and Ben Abbey won't need asking twice when they return to York Road with Slough on Tuesday night.

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