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Maidenhead United stung by Bees after failing to take first half chances

Magpies captain Alan Massey. Photo: Darren Woolley

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Maidenhead United 0, Barnet 1

Barnet kept their seventh straight clean sheet to frustrate the Magpies and nick all three points at York Road this afternoon (Saturday).

Maidenhead came into the clash off the back of last weekend’s 1-0 win at Halifax and were by far the better of the two sides for much of the first period.

But they paid the price for not taking their chances when Ephron Mason-Clark’s lovely ball across the face of the Magpies six-yard box was volleyed in by Medy Elito a minute before the break.

To come off at half-time 1-0 down was harsh on the Magpies who’d been the side on the front foot from the first whistle. Captain Alan Massey should have swept them in front after only six minutes, but his attempt from Mike Fondop’s cut back was well blocked. Josh Kelly then latched onto Harold Odametey’s well-timed through-ball but pulled his shot wide from the left-edge of the area on 19minutes. Sam Nombe dragged another attempt wide from a good position just after the half-hour mark before the Bees stung with their first real attack of the half.

Even after falling behind Adrian Clifton, deployed in central midfield, saw a well-struck volley hacked clear on the goalline as the game headed into the break.

Barnet improved after the interval and by the end of the game had Maidenhead’s forwards on a very tight leash. The closest the Magpies came to a leveller was a shot on the run from Fondop in the 49th minute which Mark Cousins got down well to save. A late James Comley corner was also just turned over the bar amid a sea of bodies and legs but by that stage the hosts had run out of ideas. Barnet rarely threatened Carl Pentney’s goal. A Shaquille Coulthirst header from close range was well stopped by Pentney in the 55th minute but, on a bobbly surface at York Road, one goal was all they needed.

Magpies boss Alan Devonshire reflected: “I thought we were much the better side. We made a mistake and then second half we’ve just huffed and puffed.

“I thought they did a job on us in the second half and I’m a little bit disappointed about that but I was really pleased with the first.

“Cliff (Adrian Clifton) had a chance and Josh (Kelly) got in the way of it, but, listen, it’s a mistake for the goal but we move on.

“Conditions ain’t great and the pitch was bobbly. But we just move on and look forward to Salford next week.

“Where we were at Christmas and where we are now is like chalk and cheese.

“Barnet think they should be in the top six but, listen, at the end of the day, where are they? They’re only six points ahead of us. So they can give it as large as they want. They’re supposed to be a big club, they want to come back but they’ve got no chance have they?”

His opposite number, Darren Currie added: “We showed another quality today. It was a very difficult pitch, probably the poorest in the league and it wasn’t fit enough for us to pass the ball around so there was an agreement made by everyone before the game that today’s decision making would involve a lot of helping the ball on and returning it into the other half. We had to stand up and be counted when that was happening to us.

“For the type of game it was today, we were outstanding. Ephron’s put a wonderful ball in and it’s an emphatic finish from Medy to get his first goal.

“He’s got qualities and I hope people are starting to appreciate what he’s got to show.

“It (the goal) was probably the one stand-out bit of quality in 95 minutes from both sides.”

Maidenhead United: Pentney, Twumasi, Clerima, Massey, Gabriel; Odametey, Comley, Clifton, Nombe (Bird 87’); Kelly (Akintunde 74’), Fondop (Worsfold 66’): Subs not used: Alves, Owusu. 

Attendance: 1,491. 

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