05:46PM, Saturday 07 April 2018
Aldershot Town 1, Maidenhead United 0
Maidenhead United gave an awful lot to this contest, but they were once again let down by a late lapse in concentration, as substitute Nicke Kabamba stole in to seal a deserved win for the Shots in the 90th minute.
The Shots, who are chasing promotion through the play-offs, were the dominant side in this fixture, but they were thwarted by another resilient rearguard display by the Magpies.
At least they were until the 90th minute when Lewis Kinsella was given far too much time to whip a deep cross to the back post where Kabamba escaped the clutches of Alan Massey and Jake Goodman to head home.
Aldershot boss Gary Waddock will feel that was no less than the home side deserved, after carving out the better, clearer cut chances at the Recreation Ground.
They might well have had a two-goal lead to celebrate going into the interval, had some rather dubious refereeing decisions not gone against them.
Carl Pentney had already pulled off a world class save to keep out Scott Rendell’s firm header when the Shots, who were targeting the inexperience of Max Kilman, won a free kick on the left-hand side. Bobby-Joe Taylor, who played well throughout for the Shots, whipped in a cross-shot that eluded everyone, including Pentney and bounced into the net. But, after an age, and some consultation with his linesman, referee Richard Hulme ruled out the strike because Rendell, who’d tried and failed to get a touch on the delivery, had been in an offside position.
It was a let off for the Magpies and they were reprieved once more before the interval when Rendell looked to have bundled the ball over the line from close range. Pentney clawed the ball away on the goalline, but Rendell was incensed and adamant he’d scored a good goal.
Pentney was the standout player for a Magpies side that looked a yard off the pace in the first half. He also saved well from Manny Oyeleke, turning his 34th minute strike over the bar.
But, despite spending much of the half under the cosh, they carved out the odd threatening moment of their own. Jake Hyde very nearly caught out Lewis Ward in the Shots’ goal with a low shot to his near post, while Sean Marks’ glanced one of numerous first half corners won by the Magpies over the bar.
The Maidenhead defence came under some sustained second half pressure from the hosts, but they failed to crack until the final 10 minutes. Aldershot worked the ball well from flank to flank, but were let down by their final ball or a well-judged Maidenhead challenge. Taylor’s low shot in the 56th minute was the best they had to show for their possession and territory at the start of the second half.
Mirroring the first half, Maidenhead came back into the game as the period wore on and creating a few opportunities from which they might have scored. The best of them fell to Marks, whose powerful header from sub Sam Barratt’s long throw was turned over at full stretch by Ward.
The Magpies retreated more and more as the half wore on, however, and they suffered a mighty let off when Rendell’s close-range header bounced back off the inside of the post with six minutes to play and was scrambled to safety. At that moment you sensed it might be Maidenhead’s day, but, just as they did against Macclesfield, they let their guard down as the game drifted into the final minute.
Kabamba, on loan from Portsmouth, had only come off the bench 10 minutes earlier, but Waddock’s last throw of the dice came up trumps. He ghosted in on the far side to send a diving header past Pentney with time running out.
Harry Pritchard’s injury-time volley was deflected behind for a corner, and Barratt scuffed a poor effort wide as United tried to force an equaliser but the Shots held on for a victory that should all but guarantee them a play-off spot this season.
Maidenhead United: Pentney, Massey, Kilman, Clerima, Steer, Smith, Odametey, Pritchard, Upward, Hyde, Marks. Subs: Goodman (for Upward, 69), Barratt (for Kilman, 71), Comley (for Hyde, 80), Owusu, Ademola, Emmanuel (unused).
Match Highlights: Aldershot Town 1, Maidenhead United 0. Posted to YouTube by AldershotTown1992
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