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.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Many happy returns

Much pompous back slapping all day as the FA celebrated their 150th birthday with a load of self congratulatory speeches at a dinner in central London. If there was any justice they would have had to stuff the multi course meal down their chops at about 10 in the morning for the benefit of TV but as it was probably the one event the FA couldn't find a buyer for, they didn't.
With this taking place at the gothic monstrosity which is the Connaught Rooms, a more suitable tribute was the game at York Road, home to football since 1871, and still managing to come up with events which entertain and enlighten.
The visitors today were Bromley, currently in the boom phase of their regular stop/go economic cycle. Almost exactly a year ago they pipped Maidenhead by the odd goal, with Bobby Behzadi missing a penalty as the Lilywhites warmed up for a first round FA Cup tie at Fleetwood. A few months later they ended the season at York Road in total disarray on a long losing streak following rumours of a hefty budget cut announced in the dressing room ahead of the first game after the transfer deadline.
They arrived at York Road back challenging for promotion in third place and although clearly a class above the likes of recent visitors Slough and Dorchester, lacked the quality of Eastleigh. In an entertaining open ended start to the game, Maidenhead gave as good as they got, with Harry Pritchard a real threat on the left wing. The pendulum then swung firmly Bromley's way when Curtis Ujah was dismissed for two cautions in three minutes late in the half. Whilst the first yellow was debatable, there was no question about the second, and a quick reshuffle saw Richard Pacquette withdrawn into Ujah's central defence role.
Maidenhead, grateful that the referee only saw fit to play three minutes of stoppage time despite two lengthy stops for injury as well as the sending off, kept the scoreline blank up to what turned out to be an extended half time break due to an injury to the linesman (the other assistant being a lineswoman).
Now I've seen this happen several times watching Maidenhead, and someone in the crowd has always responded fairly quickly. Today no one rose to the call. From my point of view this meant the game looked likely to be abandoned, although the referee reportedly said it was fine to carry on with just two officials. Eventually it was agreed that a member of the Bromley backroom staff would take the flag on the line in front of the shelf monitoring his defence which brought light relief to the usual second half slide to defeat.
This did not seem in doubt as Bromley dominated the start of the second half although it took 21 minutes for them to take the lead when the wonderfully named Jay May volleyed home at the far post from close range.
Within a minute of the restart Maidenhead were thrown an unexpected lifeline when Jacob Erskine was fouled in the penalty area. As usual Behzadi stepped up to take the spot kick but a delay whilst the ball wobbled off its spot augured ill for United and the keeper saved the penalty.
This proved to be the last of the real goal mouth action despite both sides showing the positive attitude to score. At the back for United, Pacquette, despite reportedly losing two teeth in a challenge, held things together, but his absence in his usual role meant the Maidenhead attack remained similarly toothless.
Meanwhile the shelf linesman put on a great display. Initially this was farcical as he flagged for a throw in when the ball looked like it might go out of play but didn't, and then plain funny as he seemed to favour the Magpies with his decisions, much to the annoyance of his club mates. At least he didn't have to worry about his ride home as it turned out that the team had come by train.
The end result then, although continuing the negative trend of defeats, at least fitted in the box of gallant failure, the Magpies conceding just one goal to what the league table deems to be the second best team in the league tonight, whilst having only ten men for an hour. 

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