09:00AM, Saturday 11 February 2017
Most Maidenhead United fans will be hoping Christian Smith’s injury-time leveller against Poole Town on Saturday proves a defining moment in what pans out to be a title winning season.
Alan Devonshire, the Magpies manager, said they won’t know for sure if that’s the case until April 29, but the manager, who’s been there and done that in English football, isn’t feeling the pressure as Ebbsfleet and Dartford breath down the Magpies necks.
Their lead at the top of National League South was cut to just three points after Saturday’s draw with the Dolphins and Ebbsfleet’s 4-0 home success over Concord Rangers but, when the chips are down, Devonshire can count on his players' character to get them through.
As James Mulley said afterwards on Twitter, this Magpies team never know when they’re beaten.
“I’ll let you know on April 29 if that was an important moment,” Devonshire said of Smith’s strike. “We don’t know what will happen.
“I don’t think we were at our best on Saturday but we’ll take the point.
“Look they’re (Ebbsfleet and Dartford) are in good form but there’s no pressure on us. If they catch us, they catch us. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing all season. All we can worry about is ourselves.
“At the end of the day there are 16 games left to go and we’ll respect every team that we face.”
Smith’s late wonder strike certainly lifted some of the gloom which would almost certainly have festered had they not managed to cancel out Marvin Brooks’ second half strike. And it sends them into Saturday’s match at Hemel Hempstead knowing their unbeaten home record is still intact and with the knowledge that only two sides have managed to get the better of them in the league this season.
Devonshire cautioned that Hemel – who this week brought in Reiss Greenidge and Charlie Sheringham on loan from Ebbsfleet – will be looking to avenge their 5-0 defeat at York Road from earlier in the season, but added that the Magpies go there with confidence.
Whatever happens from here Devonshire knows his players have done themselves, the management team and the fans proud.
“Listen, of course it gives us a bit of confidence,” he said. “But it gives them motivation because they won’t want that to happen again.
“We know it’s going to be difficult but all we’re worried about is getting the three points. Hemel are a decent team with decent players. We know the boy they’ve signed up front and he scored last week but it doesn’t affect us. It’s 11v11 and we just have to worry about us.”
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