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First Team - Match centre

Maidenhead United
Eastleigh
Tue 20 Feb 19:45 - The Vanarama National League - National League Full time Attendance 1,055

Magpies down Spitfires

Back-to-back wins push Magpies into top half of table

Following away day victory at Guiseley, Maidenhead returned to York Road hoping to make it back-to-back league wins for the 4th time in their inaugural 2017/18 National League season.

Not only were the Magpies able to replicate the 3 points, the 3-1 score line was also repeated with goals from Emmanuel, Marks and Pritchard sealing a deserved victory.

Devonshire made 4 changes to his line-up as the striking partnership of Marks and Emmanuel was rekindled in place of Hyde and Clifon, Kilman came in for Steer and Massey returned to centre back having served his suspension with Barratt rested.

There was a clear game plan from Devonshire and that was to get the ball wide as frequently as possible and target Eastleigh’s high defensive line. With 4 minutes gone Odametey won a corner down the right, with Marks nodding the resulting cross a few yards over Stack’s goal. Eastleigh were then eventually able to clear a sequence of crosses from Upward and Massey.

That high Eastleigh line was a risky tactic, with the flag up on several occasions but the chemistry between Emmanuel and Marks was on full display with 20 minutes gone. Marks knocked down to his strike partner under pressure from Cresswell and Obileye, Emmanuel took his time and from 20 yards curled the ball into the top right corner for 1-0.

With Marks firmly occupying the attention of both centre halfs more space was created for other Magpie attackers and Comley saw a low left chance caught by Stack on 35 minutes. Pritchard then volleyed over under heavy pressure before Emmanuel had a shot blocked as Maidenhead upped the pressure before the break.

However, and firmly against the run of play, Eastleigh got back into the game deep into first half injury time. McCallum fell down in the box and the referee duly pointed to the spot, Obileye stepping up to calmly make the score 1-1 with the penalty.

This was a real sucker punch and starting the second half saw Eastleigh’s brightest 10 minutes of the game. Massey cleaning house in the box to clear the danger following a corner and Pentney dealing with a dangerous Hoyte cross helped keep the match level.

With 57 gone Odametey embarked on another storming right wing run, stepping over and creating a yard of space to fire in a powerful cross. Stack parried it and Sean Marks was the first to react and after several efforts managed to beat Stack and restore the Magpies advantage for his first goal since Boxing Day. 2-1.

Just 7 minutes later it was 3-1 and the Magpies top scorer getting in on the act. From the right flank Pritchard curled in an inswinging corner which glided into the net without a touch! His 14th goal of the season in all comps.

This goal seemed to kill the game off as a contest, although Matthews worked hard for Eastleigh until the end but fluffed his lines when in decent positions on two occasions.

Maidenhead climb to 47 total points and can look forward to a visit to league leaders Macclesfield on Saturday who enjoyed one of the most impressive results of the season, winning at Tranmere 4-1.

Magpies

Pentney, Clerima, Goodman, Massey, Kilman, Odametey (Owusu, 84), Comley, Upward, Pritchard, Marks (Clifton, 90), Emmanuel (Hyde, 74)

Unused subs: Steer, Smith

Eastleigh

Stack, Hoyte, Togwell, Cresswell, Wood, McCallum, Yates, Zebroski, Obileye, Miley, Matthews

Subs: Consable, Hollands, Boyce, Williamson, Shaw

Attendance: 1055

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