07:00AM, Thursday 22 August 2019
Maidenhead United boss Alan Devonshire admitted he might have to play two very different sides against Yeovil Town and Bromley this weekend, as he nurses his injury-hit squad through their hectic schedule.
Back-to-back wins over Torquay United and Chorley have seen the Magpies rise to fifth in the National League, but Devonshire knows keeping them there will be easier said than done with his lengthy injury-list.
On Saturday they had to ‘fight’ for all three points against Chorley, in a game that was a lot closer than the 4-1 scoreline suggests.
First half strikes from Josh Kelly and Jake Cassidy, a penalty, had put United 2-1 in front, but it was Taye Ashby-Hammond’s second half penalty save that tilted the balance in the home side’s favour.
Second half substitute Danny Whitehall then wrapped up the points with two sumptuous finishes – one with his head from a fabulous Shamir Fenelon cross and the second a lovely solo goal at the Bell Street End.
“Listen, we had to fight for that,” Devonshire admitted after the final whistle. “That’s our fifth game and the players were shattered, you could see that. We didn’t play great but we still scored four goals with quality finishes.
“I think the turning point was probably the penalty save. That would have made it 2-2, but then we’ve been clinical on the counter so yeah, 10 points after five games, I’m delighted with that.”
Devonshire hopes Rene Steer and James Akintunde will recover from knocks in time for Saturday’s trip to Huish Park, but the rest of those on the treatment table won’t see action for at least a couple more weeks.
Devonshire is looking forward to having a full compliment of players available again – and hopes to have some selection problems when they do all return to fitness.
“I need to get players back, especially for next weekend when we play Yeovil and then Bromley. We had boys playing out of position (against Chorley) because we’ve got six or seven out at the moment,” added Devonshire.
“I might have to play two different teams, or as close to that as I can. Remy (Clerima) we’re waiting on. His knee is quite swollen. Rene and James could be back for the weekend, but apart from that I think the others will be a couple of weeks after that.”
But, injuries aside, Devonshire is delighted with the way his squad has started the season.
“We’ll see how long it lasts (staying in fifth),” he joked.
“We’re just looking ahead to the next two games.
“It’s funny, I was talking to Danny (Whitehall) yesterday and saying ‘be patient, it’ll come son, it’ll come’ and today he’s popped up with two goals.
“The one thing we’ve got this season that we didn’t have last season is players in a few positions who can score goals.
“Shamir Fenelon has also come on today and done really well having been injured. When they’re all fit and firing I’ll have plenty of problems. But it’s good, that’s what I want.”
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