York Road plays host to this evenings National League clash, between Maidenhead United and Altrincham. Both sides currently sit fairly close to each other in the table, with Maidenhead 11th and the visitors just three places below. However The Magpies position in the league is quite deceiving, with the side having played the least games in the league, six less than their opponents tonight.
A win for the hosts would bring them up to ninth and set them well on their way for a good shot at claiming a playoff spot, something that was completely out of the picture at the start of the season. Three points would also do nicely for Altrincham, with multiple teams with games in hand breathing down their neck below them.
Harry Buckett will be taking you through all the action.
KICK OFF Following a minutes silence to remember those we have lost to the pandemic, the visitors get us going.
5′ An early corner is swung in for the hosts to attack but Alan Massey’s header goes sailing over the bar.
7′ Ryan Colclough is given acres of space to run into, giving him the opportunity to have a go from range. It doesn’t trouble Taye Ashby-Hammond, who holds onto the low-driven strike.
13′ A bit of a scrappy start to this one. There have been flashes of quality, but misplaced passes and poor touches have prevented either side from really getting into their stride.
18′ CROSSBAR How on earth have Altrincham not scored there. First Ashby-Hammond is called into action after Josh Hancock finds himself one-on-one. Following a strong save, Colclough absolutely leathers the ball onto the underside of the bar, off the half volley. So close yet so far.
With no crowd you can almost hear the sigh of relief from The Magpies backline.
23′ Altrincham almost find themselves through on goal until the linesman’s flag signals offside.
The visitors starting to take control of the game following their big chances. Maidenhead having a tough time containing the oncoming attack.
27′ The ball rolls across to Ryan Upward on the edge of the box who opts to shoot. It’s snatched at a bit and goes flying over the bar.
31′ Maidenhead starting to put a bit more pressure on their opponents now. They’ve had the ball around the box a few times now but just haven’t been able to find that final pass to give them a clear cut chance.
38′ The Magpies working the ball into the box again, resulting in another shot blocked. They haven’t been able to test the keeper yet but they are certainly much more in this game that fifteen minutes ago.
44′ Josh Coley’s inswinging corner causes a bit of trouble for Anthony Thompson, who just has to punch it behind for another set piece.
HALF TIME Maidenhead United 0-0 Altrincham
Altrincham have been the stronger of the two sides during this first half. They’ve knocked the ball around a lot more efficiently and have also been able to work in a couple of clear cut chances. The Magpies have had efforts, but nothing that’s threatened the goalkeeper at all. They are missing a few players to international call ups, leaving themselves a bit bare within their midfield unit. They are going to need a bit more quality and creativity on the ball if they are to unlock the defence in this second period.
46′ We are back underway with both teams still searching for an opener.
51′ Shouts for a penalty as the ball appears to strike an Altrincham arm in the box. It came from a deep freekick that nodded across goal by Upward. There isn’t really a clear view to see if the ball does indeed strike a hand so perhaps a right call.
53′ YELLOW George Wells is cautioned after demonstrating a good old non league challenge. He gets something on the ball, but he does also send Hancock a good foot off the ground.
58′ A dangerous ball is lofted into the box but Remy Clerima is just beaten to it by Thompson.
64′ GOAL (MAI 0-1 ALT) A huge mistake from Wells.
Colclough takes possibly one of the worst corners I’ve ever seen yet somehow manages to score directly from it. It’s sent bobbling towards the front post where Wells goes to clear his lines but completely misses the ball, leaving it to roll across the line.
A very unconventional goal coming from what should have really been a routine clearance. A big reaction needed from the hosts.
70′ Danilo Orsi does well to work his way out of danger and deliver a cross towards the penalty spot. Sam Barrat rises the highest but his header goes high and wide.
76′ Maidenhead struggling to find a way back into this and with time ticking a comeback is looking more and more unlikely. They still haven’t worked the keeper, with a number of half chances being put way off target.
78′ CLOSE Massey curls a beautiful ball to the back post which is met by the head of Upward but it just bounces painfully wide of the post. The closest they’ve come all game to finding a goal.
81′ Another chance for The Magpies in quick succession.
It’s Upward who goes for goal again but this time from range. It’s a powerful strike of the ball but ultimately straight at the goalkeeper.
83′ The gears starting to really turn for Alan Devonshire’s side as they are really piling the pressure on the leaders. With the intensity they are starting to play with, I wouldn’t rule out an equaliser coming in these closing moments of the match.
90′ There will be 3 minutes of added time. It’s now or never for Maidenhead.
90+2′ CHANCE Altrincham should be two up.
Tom Peers wins the ball in the box but can’t capitalise on a golden opportunity. He had an option to square it, which would have been a certain goal. Instead he tried to go it alone, his shot deflecting wide of the post.
FULL TIME Maidenhead United 0-1 Altrincham
Altrincham travel home with the full three points after a bizarre winning goal.
They were by and large the better team although Maidenhead did start to threaten in the final stages. It was just too late on to start to get into their groove as for most of the match they didn’t offer too much going forward.
Alan Devonshire may wonder whether he should have agreed to have the game go ahead. Having multiple players on international duty, the option to postpone was there.
Without a game in over a week, and the money they would get from having the television coverage was probably the reasoning behind going ahead with it.