Kelly Kicks in Two as Magpies Secure Victory
Magpies take all three points to continue unbeaten streak
Two Josh Kelly goals late into the first half and a clean sheet ensured a third win in four games for the Magpies.
Maidenhead move into 14th in the National League after remaining unbeaten since the 25th August, with Kelly joining Adrian Clifton as United’s top-scorer on three goals this season.
The Magpies made two changes, as loan-signing Jordan Archer replaced Clifton on international duty with James Comley, and Christian Smith would replace James Mulley to face the Spitfires.
The visitors started better than the Magpies, focusing heavily on using size over skill. Mark Yeates’ corners were a dangerous threat, but Eastleigh centre-half Reda Johnson struggled to clear his opposite number, Ayo Obileye, a former Spitfire himself. Yeates should have scored the opener just minutes later but struggled to connect in front of the open goal and the scores remained level.
Maidenhead responded with haste, with Nana Owusu making a brilliant run down the left-wing to cross into the Eastleigh box into the path of Archer, with the latter coming tantalisingly close to his first goal for the club.
Not much would come until the dying minutes of the first 45. Smith would play a sublime through ball from midfield to Kelly, allowing the 19-year-old to take the ball past Eastleigh ‘keeper Graham Stack. Calm and composed, Kelly took a touch past the incoming Johnson and placed the ball into the open net, smiling at the Canal End as he did so.
Not even a minute later, Kelly would grab the second of the game, after his rebounded shot fell straight to his feet allowing him to fire the ball into the roof of the net. The whistle blew moments after an Eastleigh corner was cleared off the line by the Magpies defence.
Into the second half, which was one of the quieter halves of the season so far in terms of on-field action. Johnson’s effort looked to be in from the Bell Street End, with many breathing a sigh of relief when the ball went wide.
United came close to wrapping up the game as Ryan Upward’s silky cross was unable to find a black and white shirt; moments later, Kelly would pick the ball up on the edge of the box, but his effort was unable to beat the Eastleigh keeper.
Carl Pentney performed some stunning saves to prevent any chance of an Eastleigh comeback, most notably the save of the game, perhaps even season, as Maidenhead’s Number One got a hand to Yeates’ free kick in the 65th minute.
There was confusion and delay at York Road as the referee cleared players of the pitch with twenty minutes remaining. With no players injured, the 1212 crowd were surprised to find a drone had been flown over the pitch! The drone departed shortly after and was wished well on its travels by those in the Bell Street End.
With E.T. ejected from the ground, play resumed with the Spitfires taking the upper hand. Fantastic defence from Ayo Obileye and Pentney continued to frustrate Yeates and the Eastleigh attack, with Maidenhead’s Upward taking one final effort that went over the bar.
There would be no late drama as seen on Saturday, with the Magpies holding out for a second clean sheet of the season and taking all three points. The result means that United will be heading into Saturday’s game against Barnet unbeaten in four games in what promises to be a close and entertaining fixture. We hope to see you there!
Magpies: Pentney, Clerima, Massey, Obileye, Steer, Odametey, Upward, Smith, Owusu (Mulley, 90+5), Kelly (Akintunde, 80), Archer
Unused subs: Alves, Cole, Worsfold
Eastleigh: Stack, Hare, Green, Johnson, Gobern, Yeates, Wynter, Dennett, Miley, Hollands
Unused subs: Baughan, Flitney, Payne, Strevens