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, 21 August 2013

Pacquette swings it for Maidenhead

The view from the Bell Street End as the clock ticks down
Hayes & Yeading United have provided in the last decade the closest approximation of a local derby for the Magpies. They possess all the qualities that the hypothetical derby against Basingstoke lacks, plenty of overlap between the playing staff, decent fans, and their Woking sojourn aside, an easy to reach crowd just up the M4/Great Western Mainline. Arguably the ludicrous abeyance over their move to the revamped Warren has only heightened the atmosphere as York Road provides the opportunity for the Hayes fans to attend a match that is as close as they are going to get to a home game at present. Joining the visiting fans were plenty of faces old and new, contributing to a crowd that at 460 topped last season's best by 10%.
Before the kick off all the ingredients for a great night were in place with old friends sharing good news. The first half saw Hayes on top as they presented a much sterner challenge in the midfield than Whitehawk had on Saturday. This led to plenty of pressure on a Maidenhead defence which had Bobby Behzadi back at right back, with Mark Nisbet moving into the middle to replace Curtis Ujah who missed the game for personal reasons.This pressure was applied most strongly down the left where it was enough to lead to errors at the back. One of these led to the game's opening goal when Behzadi committed a foul in a far from threatening position in the penalty area, Jake Reid converting the spot kick with aplomb.
Maidenhead had to work hard to build the momentum required for an equaliser, with Michael Jaimez-Ruiz in the Hayes goal dealing with the Magpies' rare efforts with relative ease. Firstly he pushed wide a Richard Pacquette shot from distance, then stood up well to block a Harry Pritchard shot when the left winger received a through ball from Michael Pook. A well worked free kick routine found Adrian Clifton at short range of the goal but Hayes got enough bodies behind the ball to deflect the shot wide.
After the break Hayes continued to look good value for their lead, until with only eight minutes of the second half gone, United manager Johnson Hipployte made a double substitution which revitalised his team. Reece Tison-Lascaris and Michael Pook were replaced by Tony Mendy and Wada Ahmidi, allowing Danny Green to slot into his more familiar wing position. 
The resilient character that was much in evidence on Saturday was shown once again as Maidenhead persisted in the search for a goal until Hayes cracked. The equaliser came with twenty one minutes remaining when a Pritchard corner saw the winger get a second chance at a cross, the ball finding its way to Matt Ruby on the edge of the six yard box, the defender forcing the ball over the line at the third attempt. Three minutes later, another former Hayes player completed the comeback with the champagne moment of the night. Pacquette fired off another shot from the edge of the penalty area which appeared to be going wide until it swung in like a Jimmy Anderson delivery to nestle in the corner of the net.
Just to rub salt into the wound of Hayes' collapse Adam Everitt was sent off for a second caution although his teammates managed to keep the deficit to one clearing a Tony Mendy effort off the line after the young striker had rounded the keeper.
The final whistle signalled the end to one of those memorable nights at York Road with even the International Space Station popping by to watch as it flew in orbit over head, the attraction of football at this level continuing as I caught the train home with fans and players alike. Bring on Farceborough!

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