Magpies fall into drop zone
By Nathan Bingham
Maidenhead 0 - 1 Hartlepool
Following midweek success in the Berks & Bucks Cup with a youthful side at Holmer Green, Alan Devonshire unsurprisingly made nine changes to his starting eleven. Max Worsfold and captain Alan Massey being the only players to keep their place.
It was Worsfold in the thick of the action with less than ninety seconds played as a quick combination with Kelly won an early corner. The resulting set piece from Comley caused brief panic in the Hartlepool area after not being initially cleared before being scrambled away.
Alfie Kilgour, who has extended his loan with the Magpies for an additional month showed why he is so highly valued by all at York Road as he threw himself in front of an eleventh minute Hartlepool shot from eighteen yards and blocked an effort on goal. Hartlepool continued to probe around the Maidenhead area and in the seventeenth minute were rewarded. Attacking midfielder Josh Hawkes worked an opening and his low shot from the edge of the penalty box managed to squirm under the diving Pentney. 0-1.
In the first half Maidenhead’s main attacking outlet seemed to come from Worsfold who in the 24th minute showed good acceleration to breeze past his marker. His floated ball across the six-yard box evading Clifton and Clerima. There would be repeat of this in the 40th minute as Worsfold got into a good area to deliver but couldn’t pick out a man in the middle.
Minutes before the half-time whistle Hartlepool came close to doubling their lead. Left back Kitching stung the palms of Pentney at the near post and Rene Steer was importantly able to block the rebounded effort wide for a corner.
The heavens opened moments after the half-time whistle sounded and the wind also seemed to pick up, the conditions certainly giving the players more food for thought.
The matches big talking point would arrive in the 50th minute as James Comley went in for a slide tackle on the half way line. The referee judged it to merit a straight red and Maidenhead were reduced to ten men. Devonshire adjusted his 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1 with Kelly going over to the right and Clerima taking a central position in midfield.
Pentney got down well with 66 played to save from Muir at his near post after a good Hartlepool move and keep Maidenhead in it. In truth though the second half would have less action than the first with Hartlepool happy to sit back and let their numerical advantage count, Maidenhead unable to really lay glove on the Hartlepool goal.
The introduction of Harold Odametey did inject some much needed energy into the game and he was cynically pulled back by Hawkes as he looked to counter attack.
There were four minutes added on but United couldn’t conjure a final chance on a day where they never quite got going, falling to 22nd place in the National League table. The win saw Hartlepool complete a league double over the Magpies, avenging 2017/18 where Maidenhead took 6/6 points.
Next up is Oxford City in the Buildbase FA Trophy at York Road on December 15th. The Magpies will look to rediscover some form in a competition they were able to reach the quarter finals in last year.
Pentney, Twumasi, Massey, Kilgour, Steer, Clerima, Comley, Obileye (Cole, 62), Worsfold (Odametey, 78), Kellly, Clifton (Bird, 71)
Unused subs: Peters, Owusu
Pools: Loach, Kioso (Richardson, 35), Magnay, Anderson, Donaldson, Featherstone, Noble, Kitching, Hawkes (McLaughlin, 83), Muir, James.
Unused subs: Butler, O’Neill, Dinanga.
Goal: Hawkes (17)