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, 24 February 2013

BB = MW all squared

Odd game yesterday where both teams looked poised at one point to win comfortably but overall a draw was very much the right result. This was a satisfactory outcome for the Magpies not only given the way they folded in the second half but also in terms of taking another step towards safety by preventing a rival from taking three points. Although the supposed importance of the game had led local journalist Charles Watts to succumb to "massiveitis" in his pre match tweet, six points from the last two matches meant the pressure was off the Magpies yesterday.
In a game that had BBC Radio Berkshire been interested they would have called a derby due to their assertion that Basingstoke is in their broadcast area, Maidenhead had much the better of the first half with only the woodwork and a splendid performance from goalkeeper Ashley Bayes restricting United to a single goal lead at the interval.
Harry Pritchard was first to go close hitting a shot against the post with the loose ball being fired into the sidenetting by David Pratt. Pratt then hit the target with a snapshot from distance which was palmed by Bayes over the bar although the referee gave a goal kick. Bayes proved to be one of the most entertaining features of the game, not only for his impressive goalkeeping but also for his running commentary on his team's performance, not least his defence. His effusiveness was rather more enlightening due to its candid nature about Town's shortcomings rather than his manager Jason Bristow's constant focus on making the referee aware that he was the reason that Basingstoke did not take all three points.
As well as Bayes' heroics, Billy Lumley proved his worth at the other end saving well at full stretch from Delano Sam-Yorke when the striker had the goal at his mercy. 
Inevitably it was an Alex Wall free kick which led to Maidenhead taking the lead. This week though the set piece wizard's effort was partially stopped by the Town wall only for the ball to fall to Bobby Behzadi who finished well to score.
After the break, David Pratt who was having a decent game in the right wing position usually filled by Chris Flood, looked to be continuing the pattern of the first half when his cross hit the far post but almost immediatley Basingstoke took charge of the game, scoring twice in eight minutes. There was no need to check the programme to look for the scorer in either case as Manny Williams marked his return to York Road with a brace of goals which transformed the game. Both were deft finishes, the first from a well worked move down the left wing, the second when put through by Sam-Yorke who seized the initiative turning over possession from a dithery Maidenhead defence.
The transformation in the game  now saw Basingstoke in complete charge with Maidenhead starting to show the all too familiar defensive frailty which had characterised the autumn downturn in form. Still positive substitutions by Johnson Hippolyte saw a greater emphasis on attack with the return of Flood, releasing Pratt from his dutifully performed defensive duties into a more central attacking role.
After Mark Nisbet had signalled notice of Maidenhead's intent to equalise with a volley which fizzed narrowly wide, Pratt did the next best thing to scoring against his old club by winning a penalty which must have been frustrating to watch for the away fans as the striker looked to be heading away from goal as he drew the foul. After much chatter from the Basingstoke team about the position of the ball on the spot which led to one caution for dissent, Behzadi shrugged off the background noise to score from the spot with trademark aplomb to neatly square not just the score but the scorers.
Despite five minutes of injury time, largely caused by a case of just desserts when Jay Gasson was carried off on a stretcher after diving in for a late tackle, neither side looked to have quite enough in the tank to win the game leaving Hippolyte the happiest of the two managers thanks to the late comeback and sealing a point advantage with two games in hand over fellow strugglers Basingstoke.

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