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, 26 January 2014

A Quiet Night Out

Pedal faster the lights are going out
Maidenhead's winter break from league football came to a temporary end on Tuesday night when somewhat miraculously Staines Town were able to get the game, originally scheduled for New Year's Day, on thanks to the superb Wheatsheaf Park pitch.
So much to my surprise I found myself crushed on a commuter train out of Waterloo heading to the Magpies' first league match in over three weeks. Taking the long walk down Laleham Road I pondered the longevity of this fixture with the two clubs making fairly even progress over the last twenty years. Tonight though saw the Swans go into the game thirteen places ahead of United in the Conference South table which led to a rather bullish preview of the game from the home side with plenty of comments about "Fortress Wheatshef Park" and a rather dismissive attitude to their comprehensive defeat at York Road on Boxing Day.
Approaching the ground it was clear that the floodwaters from the nearby Thames had subsided although there was much talk of garages and the like still holding water in the surrounding residences. The car park revealed that the Thames Club had reopened and I mused about the practicality of hooking up the floodlights to the treadmills, something Ecotricity is surely investigating after Forest Green, owed by Green energy CEO Dale Vince, had to abandon a recent game due to a power failure. 
After catching up with the latest club news over a pint in the sterile bar, I didn't venture far outside as like Chelmsford, Staines is one of those grounds where the action is best viewed from the main stand, in this case due to the lack of any raised standing anywhere in the ground. The inevitable rain that arrived midway through the first half confirmed the veracity of this decision, my vantage point giving me a view of a well contested game which despite the quality of the play was relatively short of goalmouth action.
Perhaps it would have been different if Staines' star striker Dan "son of Huggy" Brown had been playing. His form had apparently attracted the presence of top non league scout Willie Wordsworth, although it was his namesake in the Maidenhead side who was a driving force in a resilient performance which saw United leave with a well deserved point.
That Staines could have been said to had the upper hand was a marginal call, with Maidenhead coming closest to scoring as early as the fourth minute when Danny Green fed Harry Grant to shoot from close range with the ball kept out well by Swans goalkeeper Jack Turner. With both teams having been stood idle for much of 2014 so far, the game maintained a high tempo throughout but aside from a Green free kick which hit the stanchion midway through the first half, neither keeper was troubled much apart from the occasional long shot which was gathered comfortably. Thus there was plenty of time for my mind to drift and wonder why Harry Pritchard was virtually playing as second left back (presumably to counter the threat of the right winger), to hum Hi Ho Silver in my head everytime I saw the name of the family firm which sponsors and runs the Middlesex club up close emblazoned on the back of the Town shirts, and to chat to the 1927 club
The game was summed up with half an hour left when Grant committed a cautionable offence by kicking the ball away after the whistle had gone. Having been booked at the start of the game for blocking a free kick, some referees would have applied the letter of the law and sent him off but instead captain Mark Nisbet was called over for a chat, and a minute later, Grant was substituted pre season friendly style.
This ensured the game would wend its way to a goalless draw allowing me a gentle walk back to the station and early arrival home.

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