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Five-star Maidenhead United finish with a flourish to crush Bromley's play-off hopes

Maidenhead United 5, Bromley 2

Maidenhead United finished off their hugely promising first season in the National League with a flourish this afternoon, as they hit play-off chasing Bromley for five at York Road.

The FA Trophy finalists arrived with an outside chance of ousting one of their rivals for a play-off berth, but those hopes went up in smoke inside five minutes thanks to goals from Sam Barratt, who powered home a far post header from Nana Owusu’s cross, and Christian Smith, who tapped home from close range after keeper David Gregory spilled a corner kick.

Smith, who ran the London Marathon just six days previously, was bossing things for Maidenhead alongside James Comley and Harold Odametey in midfield, and Owusu very nearly added a third with a shot that Jack Holland hacked over his own crossbar.

George Porter’s fantastic volley got Bromley back in touch in the 22nd minute, but it was cancelled out 10 minutes later when Owusu took a touch to steady himself before firing a fizzing low shot beyond David Gregory to restore the Magpies’ two-goal cushion. Then end to end game continued to the break and Alan Massey was in the right place at the right time to clear Josh Rees’ shot off the line when Carl Pentney was beaten. 

Bromley were sent out early for the second half, after what was surely a chastening teamtalk from Smith, however, their hopes of a revival were dashed in the 49th minute when Comley fed Barratt on the left of the Bromley area and he steered a low shot past Gregory. Remy Clerima, named Alan Devonshire’s player of the season at the post match awards, nearly capped his day with a goal, but Gregory was equal to his well-struck volley, while the Bromley keeper pulled off an even more astonishing save to deny Owusu a second just five minutes later.

Sean Marks, who announced he was leaving the club this summer after the match, saw a diving header in the 65th minute turned behind for a corner, but there was no denying the Magpies’ front man, who found the net with a looping header in the 61st minute from Barratt’s right wing cross.

Omar Bugiel pulled a goal back for Bromley 20 minutes from time when he fired past Pentney from Louis Dennis’ low cross, and Dennis also struck the frame of the post with a free-kick seven minutes from time, but this was Maidenhead’s day and there was never really any danger of a comeback from the visitors.  

Smith reflected:  “That isn’t the Bromley team that we’ve had all through this season. To a man they’ve been amazing, and it was probably a game too many for them. That wasn’t us. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and we’ve got a fantastic game coming up at Wembley, and we’ve just got to know we’ve got to be better than that.”

Alan Devonshire added: “I’m pleased for them and we’ve now won five out of our last six games of the season. I’m delighted with the way it’s gone, but the hard work starts now for next year. It’s gone ever so well. We’ve had a few hiccups along the way but you’re going to get that in the National League. I’m proud of them, I’ve got some good players here, and I’m sure some of them will go on to better things.”

 

Attendance: 1418

Maidenhead United (4-5-1)

Keeper: Pentney ,Steer, Massey, Clerima (Goodman 59’), Kilman, Owusu (Pritchard 77’), Odametey, Comley, Smith, Barratt, Marks (Clifton 87’),

Subs not used: Emmanuel, Peters

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The end of season awards were also made on the pitch after the final whistle. 

Harry Pritchard walked away with three awards, the supporter’s player, the players’ player and the golden boot. 

French defender Remy Clerima was Alan Devonshire’s pick for player of the season.

Alan Massey was runner up for supporter’s player of the season. 

Mick Vogel, the club photographer and voluntary groundsman when needed, was named club man of the year. 

Jake Hyde won the FC Video goal of the season award for his thumping effort in the abandoned match against Sutton United. 

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Other results:

Slough Town 2, Royston Town 1

The Rebels will meet Kettering Town at Arbour Park on Wednesday evening (7.45pm), after narrowly winning their final game of the campaign to claim a home semi-final tie.

James Dobson was unsurprisingly named the Rebels' man of the match after netting twice in win, a second success over Royston in the space of just a few days.

He powered home a header from Matt Lench's inch perfect cross in the sixth minute. Then, after Adam Murray headed home to level things up five minutes before the break, Dobson grabbed his second three minutes after the restart with a free kick which went over the wall and into the bottom corner.

Slough were holding on a little at the end, and Murray smacked a shot against the crossbar in the 94th minute, but they did enough to hold onto third spot, with Kings Lynn Town winning 3-1 away at Chesham United.

The Linnets will entertain Weymouth at The Walks on Wednesday night, and the two winning teams will meet in the play-off final on Monday, 3pm kick-off.

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Chesterfield 1, Wycombe Wanderers 2

Wycombe Wanderers have sealed promotion to League 1 after today's 2-1 away win at Chesterfield.

The visitors fell behind to a Harriman own goal in the 38th minute, but levelled through Nathan Tyson in first half stoppage time. The striker bundled home O'Nien's cross at the near post, and the promotion bid was well and truly on when Dominic Gape added a second with 15 minutes to play. What a time to score your first goal of the season.

Chesterfield struck the crossbar through McCourt's deflected, looping effort, but the Chairboys held on to join Luton Town and champions Accrington Stanley in the league above.

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Reading 0, Ipswich Town 4

The Royals still have relegation concerns after this damaging 4-0 defeat by Ipswich this afternoon.

Paul Clement's side will go into their final game with a chance of ending the season in League 1, even if it's still only a very slim one.

The home side were already trailing to goals from Waghorn and Jordan Spence before capitulating in the final minutes. Sears made it 3-0 to the Tractor Boys before Connolly chipped home a fourth.

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Marlow 0, Beaconsfield Town 1

Beaconsfield Town were crowned champions at Oak Tree Road this afternoon.

Former Blues player Lee Barney poked home the game's only goal in the second half after the home side failed to clear their lines.

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Flackwell Heath 1, Brimscombe & Thrupp 1

The Heathens failed to hold onto Dean Allen's opening goal as their season ended in a draw against Brimscombe at Wilks Park.

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Lydney Town 0, Windsor 2

Windsor rounded off their impressive end to the season with a comfortable win at Lydney.

Both goals came from striker Matty Woods in the space of five second half minutes. Jamie Di Guiseppe set him up for the first in the 60th minute, and Gus Bowles, who was later sent off, supplied the pass for Woods to register his second on 65 minutes.

Jack Denton also saw a 68th minute penalty saved after he was brought down in the box by Lyndsay.

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Burnham 2, Wantage Town 2.

Burnham already knew they'd finish the season bottom of the league, before this afternoon's visit of Wantage.

But they ended their campaign with a 2-2 draw against one of the division's front-runners that had plenty of incident.

The home side took the lead through Granville in the 15th minute before Steve Robertson levelled things up on the half hour. Dan Taylor restored Burnham's advantage two minutes later before Jack Dunmall scored again for Wantage in the 65th minute.

There were no further goals but Burnham were reduced to nine men after seeing two of their number sent off in the second half.  Granville was the first to depart for kicking out at his marker, while a second red followed in the 94th minute.

Burnham were always going to finish bottom, whatever the outcome of today's games, after their 3-1 defeat at Tuffley Rovers and Woodley United's 3-2 win over Royal Wootton Bassett on Thursday night.

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