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, 15 March 2014

Every Second Counts...

Following Saturday's sucker punch by Bath the immediate worry was whether the team would be able to pick themselves up for two midweek relegation six pointers. This did not prove to be a problem as the Magpies created enough chances to win both games but instead continued to fail to maintain concentration and latterly energy to the end, being punished with late goals in the 93rd and 89th minute which saw Boreham Wood and Gosport Borough snatch three points at the death.
Both defeats were hard to take as a mere spectator and one can only speculate about the impact on dressing room morale with essentially the bottom nine clubs relatively even and set to play roughly the final quarter of the season over the next six weeks.
Against Boreham Wood, Maidenhead appeared to initially miss Tyrell Miller-Rodney in the base of midfield, with Adrian Clifton moving back to cover the Brentford loan player, Reece Tison-Lascaris taking Clifton's forward role.There was little to choose between the two clubs in the first half, Harry Grant going closest to opening the scoring with a curling short which almost deceived goalkeeper James Russell.
After the break Boreham Wood tested Elvijs Putnins, the Latvian goalkeeper tipping a Graeme Montgomery shot over the bar, punching a Loick Pires shot away, before combining with Mark Niset to deny Kudus Oyenuga.
The last quarter of the game though was dominated by the Magpies with only a man of the match performance by Russell denying them the lead. Just past the hour mark Russell managed to get his fingertips to a Danny Green strike to deflect it past the post. Then with twenty minutes remaining Russell produced a superb reaction save to deny Grant from close range, then from the resulting corner tipped a Harry Pritchard effort onto the bar. In the last minute Grant had a great opportunity to win the game but couldn't apply a decent contact to the ball so as the game entered stoppage time it looked like the Magpies would have to settle for a point.
Frustratingly though with just seconds left on the clock a Putnins clearance was intercepted by Junior Morias and he ran clear to score and spark delirious scenes on the Boreham Wood bench.
This painful memory was somewhat soothed within three minutes of the start of Thursday's match against Gosport Borough, when Clifton, back in his advanced role thanks to the return of Miller-Rodney, finished from close range to score Maidenhead's first goal at York Road since Boxing Day. The goal naturally proved a real boost to the Magpies and they looked good for their lead in the opening stages of the game. Twice though they failed to take advantage of goalscoring opportunities when the Borough defence stopped in anticipation of an offside flag, the chance to play on seemingly as much a surprise to the Maidenhead players. With the pause causing the forward momentum lost, Grant and Tison-Lascaris squandered the chances and as the half drew on Gosport began to threaten.
Before the half time whistle blew Rory Williams shot over the bar when well placed, whilst United's loan full back Brett Longden had to clear another effort off the line.
In the second half Maidenhead showed plenty of forward intent but could not create a chance to consolidate their lead and a Gosport equaliser began to look inevitable. Borough were increasingly making inroads into the United penalty area with booming cross field balls either from open play or set pieces. These were often met by headers and it was in this fashion that Luke Bennett, who had only returned on loan from Poole the previous day, equalised with half an hour to go.
As the game went on the Magpies increasingly showed signs of fatigue in their third game in six days, and as the clock entered the closing minutes there was an inevitability about the final score which was settled in the final minute when Bennett scored his second brace of the week with a tremendous strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Three defeats of this nature in quick succession can only cast aspersions on Maidenhead's ability to retain their Conference South status. At best there was an opportunity to put daylight between the Magpies and the relegation zone and at worst three draws would have at least maintained the status quo. Instead United need to reboot their season once again to secure 16 points out of the last 36 available to have any confidence of staying out of the bottom three.

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