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, 9 December 2012

Eastbourne find late Finnish salvation

Christmas was in the air at York Road yesterday, the air was clean and crisp, the Salvation Army band was playing on the shelf, and Maidenhead United thought it better to give than receive by gifting visitors Eastbourne Borough the three points after dominating the game.
Despite the traditional autumnal slump after a promising start to the season, hopes were high of a much needed win yesterday with the Magpies having got the better of their Sussex opponents since the Sports relegation from the Premier.
These hopes were raised by a bright start from Maidenhead with a team eager to take the initiative, Harry Pritchard and Bobby Behzadi pinging over several probing crosses, one of which goalkeeper Craig Ross punched goal-ward only for a defensive colleague to clear off the line. 
The early blitz launched up the slope paid dividends in the sixteenth minute when after Alex Wall and Pritchard has shots blocked the latter got another bite of the cherry, and deftly fired home with his right foot. Having taken the lead Maidenhead dealt comfortably with any Eastbourne threat, remaining in control for the rest of the half, Leon Solomon almost doubling the lead with a longshot that Ross could only push round the post. The Magpie attack really rattled Eastbourne reducing the Sports defence and management team to frequent but groundless whinges to the referee. Indeed manager Tommy Widdrington, like the Salisbury coaching team seems to have been on the Ron Manager coaching course, such was the drama with which he regularly shot out of his dug out and gesticulated wildly throughout the game.
As the first half closed Maidenhead fashioned a great opportunity to double their lead with the move of the game as Chris Flood, Pritchard and David Pratt combined to put Wall through with just the keeper to beat only for the striker to blast the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Eastbourne instantly stated their intent to get back into the game when within a minute of the second half they entered the Maidenhead penalty area en masse. James Smith went to ground but the referee judged that he had dived and awarded a yellow card. A good open game ensued and Maidenhead continued to look good value for their lead as the game entered the closing stages. 
The introduction of the powerful Kelvin Bossman kept the Magpies momentum for a second goal going, the striker powering in a shot from a tight angle which Ross touched behind only for the referee to award a goal kick. With sixteen minutes remaining a Maidenhead corner produced the chance which should have sealed the points. Pritchard swung the ball in from the right deep into the six yard box where Mark Nisbet rose to meet the cross heading goalward from point blank range. Ross stood up well to keep the ball out initially but somehow Maidenhead could not get the rebound over the line and after a quick bout of pinball Eastbourne managed to clear.
This incident proved to the game's turning point as within four minutes Eastbourne were level and went on to win in rampant fashion. The equaliser came as when Chris Shepherd got behind the Maidenhead defence on the left for the first time to cross to the far post where Elliot Charles, who up to this moment seemed only to contribute as a long throw  specialist, rose at the far post to head in the equaliser. The goal was the spark the Sports needed and sensing the chance of an unlikely win, they poured forward. Yet they owed their winner, three minutes from time, largely to defensive errors. A ball launched into the box was missed by goalkeeper Jesse Joronen, fortunately a defender picked the ball up but possession was returned to Eastbourne, Darren Lok shooting quickly from the edge of the box as Joronen raced back into position. Although the Finn was able to get down to the shot he somehow managed to squeeze the ball under his body and over the line to the delight of everyone from Sussex who in smash and grab style had rescued victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a sad end to the game for Joronen who had impressed throughout with his handling of crosses and fast distribution using his big throw, but like the Dorchester game three weeks ago, Maidenhead's profligacy going forward when dominant had cost them dear, meaning a defensive error was enough to gift the visitors all three points.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was the Marlow Town Band providing the half time musical interlude, not The Salvation Army.