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.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Home and Away with the Magpies last season

“Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;”
As You Like It, Shakespeare

Although asked to pick out one memorable match from last season, I have gone for two that reflected the contrasting demands of winning a league title, both of which required and delivered three points.
Having hit the top of the league in August, the Magpies swept all before them in September leading to growing anticipation for the trip to Hampton in October. The Beavers had carried over their form that had taken them to the Isthmian League Championship the previous season, and the fixture took on the mantle of the first serious test of the Magpies own title credentials. Add in the fact that Alan Devonshire had previously managed Hampton, and the lingering sting of defeat in a promotion clash at the Beveree some nineteen seasons previously, and you had all the ingredients of a tumultuous afternoon.
What followed did not disappoint as both sides went toe to toe from the first whistle. The Magpies scored first through Harry Pritchard only for the Beavers to respond with an equaliser, but before anyone could take stock of the opening goals, Dean Inman had restored United’s lead, all within a breathless first twenty minutes in front of a packed crowd.
For the first time in my time supporting the club, Maidenhead were backed in a league match by an away following measured in hundreds, and they looked like they had got their reward in the second half when Ryan Upward increased the lead to two goals. Hampton hit back again though and really made the Magpies work for their victory, the impact of the win judged by Devonshire’s clenched fist gesture at the final whistle.
A chilly February evening at York Road produced a rather different challenge for Maidenhead. The doubters were out in force that month for the one stage of the season when form could be described as patchy. United had slipped to second behind Ebbsfleet, and as the match moved into the second half visitors Eastbourne Borough’s tactic of slowing down play to stifle the Magpies seemed to be working, particularly when they took the lead from the penalty spot. However, Eastbourne’s time wasting tactics soon started to rile the crowd who in turn used their frustration to fire up the United players.
A triple substitution by Devonshire proved to be the catalyst that sparked the comeback with all three players playing a role in the win. Firstly, Jordan Cox’s equaliser was followed up by Christian Smith’s determination to retrieve the ball from the net to restart the game. This drew the ire of his opponents, the subsequent conflagration fuelling the vocal fire of the Magpies stood behind the goal. Again, they had turned up in numbers unprecedented for a midweek league match, and their roars urged the team forward as the game drew to a close.
With two minutes remaining Kyran Wiltshire’s pass found Cox who applied a delightful finish worthy of his exuberant celebration that saw the striker whip his shirt off and twirl it around his head. The final whistle brought with it the news that Ebbsfleet had dropped two points at Hemel, to restore United to the top of the table.
Winning away at a rival in their pomp. Winning at home when the naysayers were ready to pounce. Maidenhead truly faced adversity at its ugliest and came away with the precious jewels of three points.

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