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, 10 March 2013

Mike's Momentary Lapse For Reason

Last game at York Road for a while and the final episode in a quartet of matches against some of the top teams in the league. Fortunately the heavy rain stopped early enough on Friday night to allow the ground staff time to get the pitch ready for visit of the Bank of England club Eastleigh.
Last Tuesday Dover arrived at York Road with a well financed team of all talents sourced with some of the best players at this level, but Eastleigh have gone one step further using a rumoured £20,000 a week budget to build a squad with substantial Football League experience.
Thus the game largely mirrored its predecessor with both teams keen to get the ball forward quickly creating plenty of goalmouth incident. However Eastleigh were unable to dominate to the extent of their promotion rivals from Kent and didn't secure the three points until the last minute of the game.
Indeed the outcome may have well been further in doubt but for an extraordinarily generous penalty award in the first half when a cross from the left struck the raised hands of Bobby Behzadi on the byline whilst the full back was in the act of slipping over. The spot kick was converted by the wonderfully named Jai Reason with the Magpie fans ire only increased a couple of minutes later when a similar ball to hand incident outside the penalty area saw referee Mike Blackledge wave play on.
The game began with Eastleigh going off like a train, with the over eagerness of striker Chris Zebroski leading to an early booking. Zebroski then almost drew first blood with a stinging shot which Billy Lumley pushed past the post. The Spitfires commitment to attack left plenty of gaps at the back for the Magpies to exploit although Chris Flood wasted a chance to score against his former team from a well positioned free kick. 
As usual David Pratt was in fine form showing a different side to his game when he allowed the ball to pass between his legs to put Daniel Brown through only for the midfielder to pull his shot wide.
An injury to Harry Pritchard gave Richard Pacquette the opportunity to come off the bench, the formation changed to accommodate a two man attack. The new signing looked keen to mark his return to Maidenhead colours with a goal and but was denied a chance to do so when Ross Flitney just about collected a shot from Pratt.
The source of Eastleigh's goal rather spoilt what had hitherto been an even contest as it forced Maidenhead into a greater commitment to score to get back on level terms. In attempting to do so Pratt enjoyed a battle royale with centre back Dean Beckwith but could not fashion a chance to continue his recent return to hitting the back of the net. United's best chance of the second half fell to Pacquette but he was denied an opportunity to shoot when well placed by a perfectly timed last ditch tackle by Mitchell Nelson.
At the other end only an outstanding double save by Lumley from Damian Scannell and Dale Binns kept the deficit to one only for the Magpies achilles heel of a set piece cross from the right to be exposed once more in the final minute when substitute Alex Lacey headed home at the far post from a corner.
So three defeats in a week again leave Maidenhead looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone. Yes the Magpies were underdogs in all three games and feel sore at the outcome of two of them but the temptation to look back at what might have been must be ignored to focus on accumulating the points required to ensure a tension free end to the season. Eastleigh may well squeeze into the play offs but they will need to find another gear to obtain the momentum for a run to promotion. Certainly if their financial subsidy is sustainable they will be title favourites for next season although experience tells me its a case of when not if these vanity projects run out of steam.

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