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, 27 February 2013

Tuesday night and the gates are low

When this season's fixture list was issued one home game stood out for all the wrong reasons, a midweek game in February against the worst supported club in the division. Add in live football on free to air television, and gridlock on the surrounding arterial roadways and a season low gate was inevitable, but the 178 aficionados who it made to York Road were well rewarded for their loyalty with a superb Maidenhead United performance to beat promotion chasing Boreham Wood.
The traffic problems forced the kick off back to 8 pm but it was worth the wait as with just a minute on the clock David Pratt returned a weak James Russell clearance to Alex Wall, who shrugged off the attentions of a defender before blasting the ball past the keeper. The early strike signalled the start of Maidenhead's best first half this season as they set up camp in the Wood half whilst comfortably dealing with any counter attack.
Only the crossbar prevented Pratt from doubling the lead with an acrobatic volley from a Harry Pritchard free kick, leaving Wood at sixes and sevens, assistant manager Luke Garrard taking advantage of a starting place to dish out forthright reminders about his team mates shortcomings face to face.
On Saturday Maidenhead were made to pay for not making their first half dominance count but this was not the case last night as the Magpies made it 2-0 in the 27th minute with yet another goal from a free kick. This time though the scorer was Daniel Brown rather than Wall as the midfielder's strike deflected off the wall to loop over the hapless keeper's head and sail into the back of the net.
Both sides then proved there was more to their game than luck when Wall connected with a delightful cross from Leon Solomon to lash the ball goalward at point blank range only for Russell to throw himself across the face of the goal to pull off a brilliant save. All this excitement coupled with a slug from Timmy Mallett's hip flask served to warm the cockles on a cold night.
The half time break provided the visitors with breathing space to formulate a response to United's goals and it was no surprise that they turned to the veteran striker Cliff Akurang on the bench. Although Maidenhead felt aggrieved not to get a penalty when Wall was hauled to the ground, the main action continued to take place at the York Stream end as Wood put the young centreback pairing of Alfie Mawson and Devante McKain under ever increasing pressure. However apart from a shot tipped over the bar by Billy Lumley, the defence held firm leaving me feeling comfortable to make an unimaginable early exit with five minutes remaining confident that Maidenhead would see out the win. Boreham Wood did find the net with what was reportedly the last kick of the game but the way the Magpie defence in the second half matched the Magpie attack of the first meant three points were secure at what is fast becoming an unfamiliarly fortress like York Road.


Lenny Baryea said...

"Add in live football on free to air television"

Everton v Oldham Athletic in an FA Cup replay ... good job it wasn't a Champions League night!

"a season low gate"

Genuine question - when was there last a lower attendance for a league game at York Road? Sometime during the season in the Southern Premier, I assume ...

Steve said...

Actually we've had 6 crowds in the Conference South lower than 178. The lowest being 116 when we played Havant on the same night as Chelsea v Manchester United in March 2011.

Lenny Baryea said...

Really? Wowzers. Shows what the occasional 'massive' crowd does to the average attendance figure. Who will be this season's Newport or Woking though?