About Me

My photo
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, 16 March 2014

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

"That joke isn't funny anymore,
it's too close to home and it's too near the bone"

As the fourth late winner of the week hit the back of the net after cruelly hitting the post and running across the goal I pondered the odds of four defeats in eight days by a single goal, with the score being level with five minutes remaining. Calling to mind the frustration of continually unfulfilled hope, would it have been better to endure four comprehensive beatings? Probably not. The allure of tantalisingly close progress is more attractive than the despondency of autumn when it looked like Maidenhead would be already relegated by now. With six weeks of the season left all that can be done is to put your head down and join the scramble to avoid relegation. The last eight days have seen United fall back in the pack of nine teams fighting the drop but the experience of the last four seasons of relegation battles shows that little is likely to be decided before Easter Monday with the next notable landmark coming at the end of the month with the transfer and ground grading deadline.
Yesterday's game was influenced by a strong westerly wind and a hard pitch which remarkably will soon be in need of watering. With the ball bouncing high as it was launched back and forth prompting the Dover fans to sing "what a load of rubbish", the second half delivered little of the promise of the first, Tom Murphy coming closest to breaking the deadlock on the hour mark when he ran clear only to be denied by the prompt action of goalkeeper Yannick Nlate.
The stalemate had hardly seemed likely when Murphy had given Dover the lead in the eighth minute. He pounced on a mistake by Jacob Erskine in the centre circle to head for goal, efficiently dealing with the attentions of  the United defence before rounding Nlate to score. Although the goal seemed to be the harbinger of another big win for Dover, Maidenhead struck back four minutes later when Adrian Clifton headed in a Brett Longden cross at the far post.
The Magpies then went on to almost take the lead with what would have been the goal of the season. Reece Tison-Lascaris collected the ball inside the penalty area and neatly flicked the ball over his shoulder Bergkamp style before volleying the ball goalbound only for keeper Mitchell Walker to pull out all the stops with a lightning fast reaction save to divert the ball around the post with his hand.
Instead then it was Dover who took all three points with Ricky Modeste's late strike, not the first he has scored at York Road, the substitute picking his spot from the edge of the penalty area to curl home the winner.
At least the mood after the game, following the usual post mortem, was lightened by the discovery of some first time visitors to the ground. A group of Italians had travelled all the way from Genoa to take part in a local Subbuteo tournament and were celebrating after their mini men had triumphed. If only I could have flicked Modeste's shot off the line.

No comments: