05:51PM, Friday 14 April 2017
Maidenhead United 2, Concord Rangers 0
Concord Rangers played pretty well at York Road, particularly so after going down to 10 men early in the second half, but the Magpies comfortably sealed their eighth straight league win to move further clear of Ebbsfleet at the top.
Dave Tarpey blasted home the second of two first half penalties to all but confirm the result before half-time, adding to strike partner Sean Marks' beautifully measured chip in the 10th minute.
The result takes the Magpies eight points clear of Ebbsfleet, for 24 hours at least. Fleet take on Eastbourne Borough at home tomorrow (Saturday).
Marks' precision chip, like a lofted short iron onto the green in golf, drifted just underneath the crossbar before United were awarded two spot kicks in quick succession.
The first, which saw Bailey Vose deny Tarpey with his legs, was given after United's leading scorer was hacked down by Audrius Laucys with the goal gaping in front of him. The defender was fortunate to stay on the field, having clearly denied Tarpey a clear goal scoring opportunity.
But the Beach Boys luck ran out in the 28th minute when referee Paul Howard pointed to the spot for a second time after Laucys - again the offender - handled the ball while attempting to stop Tarpey. This time the prolific frontman made no mistake, firing the ball straight and true past Vose to double the Magpies lead and take his tally for the season to 43 goals.
The Magpies, who seemed intent on ratcheting up the pressure on Ebbsfleet, should have led in the fourth minute when Jack Parkinson's free header was well held on the goal line by Vose.
Carl Pentney's blushes were then spared when Steve Cawley's raking shot from distance flew over his head but fortunately also wide of the upright.
Taylor Mckenzie's sending off early in the second half, following a late, out of control, lunge on Ryan Peters, should have given the Magpies impetus to go on and improve their goal difference. But, caught between two stools of protecting their lead and pushing for a third, it was Concord who enjoyed their best spell and carved out the better chances.
Dion Sembie-Ferris skidded a low shot toward goal after the ball dropped invitingly for him on the edge of the box, but Pentney got his body behind it. And United's custodian was stretched again in the 62nd minute by Cawley's well struck volley.
The best the Magpies could muster was a fierce drive from substitute Jordan Cox which Vose clutched to his midriff in the final minutes. Harry Pritchard stung the palms of Vose with a rising effort in injury-time and the keeper got down well again moments later to fall on Tarpey’s cross shot.
Still, this was another decent win for United - their eighth on the spin in the league - and, with a handful of games to go in a tight promotion battle, it was just about as comfortable as it gets.
They visit a Truro City side battling against the drop - and beaten 3-2 at Welling United today - on Easter Monday.
Maidenhead United: Pentney, Clerima, Peters, Parkinson (Smith 84'), Massey (c), Inman, Tarpey, Comley (Upward 71'), Marks (Cox 57'), Mulley, Pritchard.
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