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, 31 March 2013

Usual March malaise sets up annual April relegation pantomine

Whereas Julius Caesar only had to worry about the Ides of March, Maidenhead fans have had to suffer for the entire month in recent seasons as a regular Spring time Conference South collapse under Drax leads to a nervy end to the season of varying proportions.
Looking at the evidence of the Magpies' league record in March, yesterday's defeat means 2013 has topped the lot with at least 2008 having a draw (albeit abandoned after 87 minutes, with the replayed game in April lost).
2008 P5 L4 A1
2009 P7 W2 D2 L3
2010 P7 W2 D3 L2
2011 P7 D1 L6
2012 P7 W1 D2 L4
2013 P6 L6
There is no rhyme or reason for this and at least this season's plight does not seem as dire yet as the previous two with this term's relegation battle being a seven way fight for the two spots to join doomed Truro City. Maidenhead also still have the consolation of a positive goal difference which remains for the time being ten goals better than any of their relegation rivals. This is of course thanks to the Magpies putting nine goals past Truro without reply whose continued existence until May everyone at York Road will be very grateful for.
Any chance that the inevitable end to March was to be avoided was jeopardised by the  visit of Bath, a club which have never lost a league match to Maidenhead. Add a Magpie defence of which 75% had two United appearances between them and I had little confidence of the form table being upset.
Bath themselves are not having the best of seasons on and off the pitch, suffering the usual Conference relegation hangover. Although their financial worries seem grave, for the moment they look set to avoid the fate of Lewes, Weymouth and St. Albans by dropping down again, keeping their heads just above the relegation dogfight. 
City just about earned their win by virtue of dispatching one of the chances that came their way and working hard to deny Maidenhead any joy at the other end. On a surface which showed the effects of frost following flood, caution on the ball was the watchword but the game was open enough to enjoy, at least until it became clear Maidenhead were again going to end up rivalling Alexander Armstrong for Pointless appearances in March.
The first half set the pattern for the game with both teams enjoying spells of pressure but Bath being just a little more potent in front of goal. This was typified midway through the first half when an Adam Connolly shot from outside the penalty area was expertly pushed around the post by Billy Lumley at full stretch. Maidenhead responded with some good build up play but could only trouble the Maidenhead Advertiser sign with the end product. Lumley was then beaten by an Elliott Chamberlain effort only for the ball to rebound to safety off the inside of the post.
Half time saw Bath fans reposition their fine flag tifo behind the Maidenhead goal, (not only black & white but also one sporting the legend "terraces not armchairs"), and it was to good hear that in this season of adversity they have found a collective voice loud enough to back their team. The Bell Street End then looked on as the match was effectively decided within ten minutes of the restart. First Richard Pacquette came closest to scoring for United only to be denied by the feet of Jason "chocolate orange shorts" Mellor, then Chamberlain broke the deadlock by being first to the ball when Lumley could only parry a Josh Low shot.
As always Maidenhead could not be faulted for effort but the result seemed inevitable when with seventeen minutes remaining three Magpies queued up ahead of the Bath backline to head home a free kick only for the ball to be nodded wide.Similarly with nine minutes left following a Michael Pook corner which Mellor tipped over the bar take two saw the otherwise impressive debutant Curtis Ujah head narrowly wide.
It was clear that a moment of quality was required and this was provided by the eternally Stakhanovite David  Pratt with a turn and shot which deserved a goal only for Mellor's super tight shorts to again direct his legs to divert the ball to safety.
The final whistle soon at last brought relief that the next match would be played 48 hours later in April which hopefully will provide some sort of respite as I don't want any more last day dramas particularly against this season's meta Stoke experiment at Billericay.


Lenny Baryea said...

Maidenhead need to borrow Arsene Wenger, for home league matches in March, in light of the following fact -

Arsenal have only lost one Premier League home game in March under Arsene Wenger (W23, D4, L1)

Steve said...

What is Wenger's record in April? Not as good in recent years I guess?