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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, 3 November 2013

Eastbourne Pass Masters

Les Thompson takes a throw in
I travelled down to Sussex in some trepidation yesterday following warnings about the amount of rain that had fallen in the day or so before the game. Certainly the weather would go on to have an effect on the game as was plain by the way I was buffeted by the wind en route from station to the ground. As I entered the ground just ahead of kick off an almighty shower tipped down, with the PA man responding by playing Waterfall:
Fortunately the players and officials were able to carry on through it all on the sunshine coast and the teams lined up for kick off. For Maidenhead new signing Les Thompson slotted in at right back for Bobby Behzadi and for Eastbourne it was the fit again midfield dynamo Chris Shephard who was was to have the most significant influence on the game.
From the start Levy was in the midst of most attacking moves as Eastbourne began the game with an early blitz on the Maidenhead goal, live wire forward Darren Lok drawing a great save from Elvijs Putnins in the seventh minute when the striker skipped clear.
Widdrington's alter ego
Having successfully weathered the early storm Maidenhead slowly came into the game with the wind at their backs. A discernible pattern then emerged, with Eastbourne centre backs Ian Simpemba and Adam Watts sitting deep to nullify the threat of Richard Pacquette (sporting a mouthguard after last week's tooth loss) and Jacob Erskine, the Magpies aiming for direct attacks down the wing with quick crosses into the far post. 
When turning over possession Eastbourne set in motion slick passing moves which were not hindered by the heavy surface. In terms of their approach to the game Sports are the most aesthetically pleasing team I have seen this season and it was only the return of Maidenhead's early season resilience in defence which kept the scoreline blank at half time.
Any chance that the lack of goals would distract me from the action was removed by the entertainment provided by Borough manager Tommy Widdrington on the touchline. The Geordie seemed to have stepped straight out of the pages of Viz comic using language to constantly berate the officials that would have made Roger Mellie blush, before turning round to chuckle at the crowd. One can only wonder what would have happened if there had been a big contentious decision in the game.
After the break Eastbourne soon took a deserved lead when Gary Hart turned in Shephard s low cross from the left at the near post. In response it was clear that Maidenhead were impotent, their high balls going nowhere now the wind was against them. 
Still with the Magpies only one goal down there was still plenty to play for, but honest endeavour was no match for the skill and team work of the hosts and as the game drew on United remained a clear second best.
Another player to shine for  Eastbourne was Simon Johnson, he almost doubled the lead when he collected the ball at the end of lovely move only for his shot from the edge of the penalty area to hit the crossbar at the halfway mark of the second half. With fourteen minutes remaining Johnson did hit the back of the net with an outstanding free kick from twenty five yards out, the ball delightfully hitting the goal frame on the left to peel across the net before landing in the right corner.
With the points won, Eastbourne continued to press for the goals which would have given a true reflection of their dominance of the game. That they didn't was due to the tremendous effort of the five players at the back for Maidenhead, Putnins making another great save at the end. The game then was decided in midfield with Eastbourne's superior passing snuffing out any Maidenhead attack from getting started, with the home team's mastery of the conditions also ensuring they moved up at the final whistle to challenge the play off positions.

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