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.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Out with the new in with the old

An absolutely herculean effort by Jason Stewart and his grounds team both on New Years Eve and at dawn on New Years Day meant that a sunny winter's day would see football at York Road. It was an effort not just to capitalise on the prospect of a better than normal crowd but also to take advantage of some splendid away form which had seen seven points taken from the last nine. 
This would be the first time new signings Alfie Mawson, Patrick Kanyuka and Joe Tabiri were on show to the York Road public but once again when presented with a great opportunity to impress the long suffering home support the Magpies fell short in a tight match which for once reflected its local derby status.
Maidenhead lined up as at Staines with only Michael Pook missing having been injured late on in the six goal win. Unlike their Middlesex counterparts though Hayes were quite able to deal with the United formation, deep lying centre back Pedro "Pele" Monteiro often dropping back into a virtual sweeper role to use the ability that Southampton reputedly paid £6 million for in 2006 to snuff out most of  the Magpies attacking endeavours.
Nevertheless the confidence gained from Saturday's win was on show early doors, Alfie Mawson's drive being tipped over the bar by Hayes' keeper Brandon Hall in the sixth minute. Unfortunately this was the closest the Magpies came to scoring and just one minute later they fell behind when Kudus Oyenuga neatly passed from the left to Coskun Ekim to fire the ball home from the middle of the penalty area.
These 120 seconds of end to end action proved to be unique in a tight game where the heavy going underfoot meant chances were few and far between. As the half went on Maidenhead played the role of home team well by having the lion's share of the play but could only fashion one clear cut goal scoring opportunity when a cross found Alex Wall with the goal at his mercy only for the striker to fluff his chance. Instead the best reflection of what was to come derived from a niggly exchange just before half time between Reece Tison-Lascaris and Jamie Hand which saw both players booked.
After the break Drax attempted to break the deadlock by bringing on David Pratt to partner wall up front, and use a midfield diamond with Chris Flood at the apex. This ensured the game remained open, with Maidenhead's pressure matched by the constant threat of a Hayes breakaway. Wall's departure then saw Flood pushed up front and he had a great chance to equalise when Pratt played him in on the left side of the penalty area only for the Eastleigh loanee to put the ball into the side netting with his weaker left foot.
This all went on against a background of constant gamesmanship from the visitors which had little influence on the game but reached comedic proportions when the subs board raised Oyenuga's number. The striker attmpeted to dash off to the touchline furthest from the dugouts but found a black and white shirt checking his move. He then suffered  a tragic loss of athleticism and walked off at snails pace to the bench.
In the corresponding fixture on Boxing Day, a last minute goal sealed the points and for a moment it looked like it would be Maidenhead who snatched a draw only for Harry Pritchard's header from Flood's corner to be disallowed for off side. It was then left to Hayes to have the last word when substitute Jamel Lowe broke away down the left wing before cutting inside to score and confirm the destination of the three points. A fair result given the Middlesex men were more clinical in front of goal and disappointing that in view of the effort given by the Magpies on and off the pitch that they had nothing to show for it in front of the biggest crowd of the season.

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