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.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Weston's super 'mare

Weston-super-mare's annual visit to York Road is not one I look forward to. At one stage there were three goalless draws in a row, one of which literally saw bad play stop light as darkness descended briefly 'til someone found another penny for the meter. This run was broken in 2010 when Lee Barney scored a stoppage time winner, the only goal of the game, and since Weston have had the upper hand, as under the guidance of Craig Laird they defied the odds to take root in the top half of the Conference South.
I missed last season's defeat courtesy of the usual trainmaggedon from First Great Western and the way this week started on the mainline out of Paddington, a repeat seemed likely, something I wasn't overly troubled by given the likely outcome of the match.
Nevertheless I made it to York Road in good time for kick off, to see the evening's events follow the script for the first half hour. With Leon Solomon and Adrian Clifton returning for selection, Drax was able to field perhaps his strongest eleven. The Magpies started brightly but as was hitherto the case at home in the league, without an end product. Clifton couldn't capitalise from slipping the offside trap, manfully staying on his feet under a heavy challenge from a defender, whilst Dave Tarpey signalled his intentions with a stinging shot which was parried by the goalkeeper. 
Weston, who had lost the experienced Clayton Fortune to injury in the pre match warm up, took heart from staying on level terms and began to exert their influence on the game. It was thus no surprise when Jamie Lucas skipped through the Maidenhead defence to score the opening goal with a fine finish in the 24th minute.Cue the usual feeling of emptiness as yet again Maidenhead failed to take advantage of their early supremacy, and were punished by a more clinical opposition. The only conclusion could be that the rest of the evening would follow the trend set previously this season and over a decade of contests against the Seagulls.
By half time though Maidenhead had not only equalised, but had turned over the deficit and accelerated into a two goal lead. It all started to go right for the Magpies just after the half hour mark when Eddie Hutchinson had a header tipped over the bar by Luke Purnell. Nothing came of the resulting corner but from the next attack Tarpey drove into the box in trademark style, drawing the foul from Sam Teale to win a penalty.
The return of Clifton from suspension meant he now could take over penalty duty from Danny Green, and he began his new job in some style, keeping his back turned to the keeper until the whistle was blown, when he ran up to strike the ball into the back of the net. A minute later Tarpey had another shot deflected wide and once again Maidenhead's attacks were full of promise, which as half time loomed turned into the goals which would put United out of reach.
With six minutes to go until half time Green won the champagne moment of the match with a superb challenge to win a loose ball just outside the penalty area. His commitment resonated with a will to win, and almost by virtue of winning the ball appeared to take himself away from the Weston defence with typical elan. Heading towards the left wing, Green checked his run then with his pass found Hutchinson in the space the winger had vacated, the central midfielder drilling the ball home to put United ahead.
Tarpey then finally found the target on the stroke of half time to cap a stunning quarter of an hour for the Magpies. Within minutes of the restart they showed they hadn't finished for the evening as Clifton had a header scooped out from under the bar by Purnell who was fast becoming Weston's man of the match. Midway through the second half Tarpey beat him once more, and although Ryan Bath pulled a goal back for the visitors this only encouraged United to redouble their efforts with the dying minute seeing them threaten to turn the game into a rout.
Firstly Harry Pritchard, quietly efficient in his new role at left back, popped up in the opposing six yard box to tap in a cross from Clifton, and then Tarpey bagged a well deserved hat trick in stoppage time to leave the scoreline at a humbling 6-2.
The aftermath saw my head buzzing with statistics, 18 goals in the last 4 games, 10 goals in the last 2 home games when the previous four had produced none, 16 out of 18 points available won with Simon Downer in the team, and most importantly 6 points in October for the first time since 2009.
Overall though the numbers were nothing compared to the aesthetic pleasure to be gained from the dashing attacking performance by the Magpies. Danny Green had his best game of the season so far, Adrian Clifton proved his importance to the team is as big as his frame, and Dave Tarpey set off echoes of the legendary Garry Attrell with his wing play.
It is Attrell and his famed left foot which gives this blog its title and you can see him dribbling down the left hand side of this page. Tarpey reflects Garry's best abilities: his metronomic runs down the left wing providing a reliable outlet for his teammates, his clinical finishing in front of a goal, and most pleasing of all the way he drives into the penalty area and buys a foul from the defender. Attrell lives!

No comments: