The Magpies Under 18s moved through to the final qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 victory at neighbours Slough Town on Wednesday night. Aaron O’Brien’s side dominated much of the match at Arbour Park but had to survive an anxious final twenty minute spell before making the game safe at the death and deservedly progressing.
United were the dominant force in the first in particular. Christian Johnson intercepted a misjudged defensive pass and fed the impressive Okba Bassaid who fired over. Zubin Khaliq saw his shot pushed over the bar by Rebels goalkeeper Dylan Pannu and Scott Rodway saw his effort deflected wide before the Magpies opened the scoring midway through the half when the ball broke to Bassaid in the area and his snap shot flew into the top corner. Khaliq nearly took advantage of more defensive uncertainty by the hosts but he put his effort over the top before a deep cross from Slough right-back Troy Clarke-Henry caused a back-pedalling Will Cornwall in the Maidenhead goal to wisely parry the ball over the bar. Bassaid’s cross was met with a glancing header wide by Bailey Jefferies and again Bassaid was pulling the strings when his corner was headed back across goal by Daniel Smith only for Hudson Friday’s shot to be blocked at point blank range.
The second period saw more of the same Maidenhead domination of possession before the game became stretched in a typical local-derby atmosphere inside the final twenty minutes. Pannu was quick off his line to thwart Rodway and United had a couple of penalty shouts waved away as firstly Rodway and then substitute Oscar Wachowicz went down in the box under Slough challenges. It became end-to-end stuff as Rebels substitute Archie Cave found himself in space down the right channel and his centre agonisingly missed his onrushing team mates and then Raphael Dennie saw his chipped effort headed away from danger by the Magpies Max Thursley.
Zakaria Zaoui’s ball into the box was then steered wide at the near post by Clarke-Henry before Bassaid went close twice at the other end for Maidenhead. As the game ticked into injury time Maidenhead finally made the game safe with a composed penalty scored by Johnson after Rodway was felled and just before the referee’s final whistle Bassaid capitalised on an ill-advised back pass to tap into an empty net to guarantee United a Third Qualifying Round tie due to be played week-commencing 10th October.