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, 23 February 2014

Chelmsford 1, 2, 3-0 to Maidenhead

I was expecting nothing from a trip to Chelmsford yesterday either in terms of the match or the day itself and therefore at the start of the season had penciled in a first trip to Colchester's new ground on this date. However the sheer novelty of watching Maidenhead play on a Saturday for only the second time in 2014 meant I got off the train a little earlier than initially planned. The warm sunny weather was certainly welcome as was the sight of the ground improvements at Melbourne Park since my last visit three seasons ago. With a terraced end (one covered) directly behind each goal it felt more like a football ground and slightly lessened the impact of the athletics stadium. Off the pitch I was impressed by what must be the slickest operation in non league football in terms of their hospitality for all comers whether they be officials or paying supporters, and of course the programme remains of a quality that could grace the Premier League (no idea how they make that pay though).
Before the match Drax had been quite bullish in his approach to the game, saying that he would be going all out for a win in the local paper. This looked a little unlikely due to the lack of striking options on the team sheet but as it turned out was an accurate prediction.
Kicking off into the wind on an understandably heavy surface which was soon covered in divots, Maidenhead were initially made to work hard by a Chelmsford team eager to continue their much improved form under new manager Mark Hawkes. However by failing to create any on target goal attempts, the home team set their tone for the afternoon. In contrast once Maidenhead began to bring the ball forward, their incisive passing was backed up by some ruthless finishing which virtually decided the results in a four minute spell around the quarter hour mark.
Leon Solomon opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute with a shot from the right flank which curled round the keeper Carl Pentney and into the back of the net. Three minutes later, Adrian Clifton, who had an impressive game in the false nine role, slotted in a slide rule pass which split the Chelmsford defence. Harry Grant who was playing off Clifton's left shoulder ran through to collect the ball and apply the finishing touch to double the score.
Maidenhead almost put themselves out sight with their next attack when Grant returned the favour for Clifton, only for Pentney to scramble his near post effort off the line. Chelmsford responded by methodically bringing the ball forward but barring a couple of efforts that were blocked in the penalty area scarcely looked like troubling Elvijs Putnins in the Maidenhead goal. Not that you would have thought this was the case if you closed your eyes as the Chelmsford fans continually erupted in howls of outrage at the referee which was marked by the lack of any protest from the home team players.
By contrast Maidenhead always looked likely to add to their tally and Clifton's industrious afternoon continued to go unrewarded when he headed a Danny Green corner from the right onto the woodwork at the far post six minutes ahead of the break.
Little changed when the teams changed ends. Magpie debutant Tyrell Miller-Rodney who gave an unfussy efficient performance sat in front of the central defence throughout, really started to shine as he began to get forward firing in a shot which Pentney could only push behind for a corner early in the second half. From the resulting corner Clifton then capped an unlucky day in front of goal when this time having  hit the back of the net with his header saw the referee rule it out for a foul.
Chelmsford continued to enjoy periods of pressure with no meaningful end result bar a Justin Miller effort which Putnins had to tip over the bar.
Three Maidenhead substitutions injected some much need life to a team faced with an energy sapping surface to maintain a counter attacking threat as Mark Nisbet and Jacob Erskine continued to deal effectively with anything Chelmsford could throw at them. The Magpies attacking ambition finally paid dividends in the final minute of stoppage time when Miller-Rodney delightfully nutmegged defender Christian Smith before squaring the ball to Jonathan Constant to score with a tap in with virtually the first touch of the Maidenhead career.
There was nothing flattering about this scoreline which accurately reflected Chelmsford's impotence and Maidenhead's ruthlessness when going forward. A first United win at Melbourne Park at the seventh attempt was a great tonic, taking the team out of the bottom three and hopefully revitalising the fight against relegation after two poor recent results.

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