11:37AM, Wednesday 29 January 2020
Maidenhead United players after the final whistle
Maidenhead United 1, Marlow FC 1 (Marlow progress 3-1 on penalties).
Maidenhead United exited the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup on penalties to Marlow on Tuesday night, but assistant boss Ryan Peters wasn’t in the least bit disappointed with the youthful squad who he called 'immense'.
Manager Alan Devonshire opted not to risk any of his first team in the last 16 tie, with the focus now very much upon survival in the National League.
So United’s academy players were handed an opportunity to impress, and they let no one down despite the disappointing outcome.
All but a handful of the side who played on Tuesday had never played senior men’s football before, with the likes of Fred Chapman, Reece Smith and Bradley Keetch the only players to have tasted first team action prior to last night's game.
Despite this they acquitted themselves with maturity and can feel slightly hard done by that they're not the side progressing to the quarter-finals
After a quiet start to the contest, in which Malachi Caesar dragged an early effort wide of the Maidenhead post, the home side took a 10th minute lead.
The Blues were caught out by a swift counter attack and the Magpies' captain Keetch drilled a low shot beyond Simon Grant after adjusting his body well to receive the pass from the left.
They might have made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute when Keetch again went close, this time his shot flying just wide of the target from Smith's pass.
The Blues - who'd made six changes to their line-up for the clash - looked disjointed in the first half, but they came close to levelling in the 36th minute when Kelvin Bossman rounded Chapman and looked to slot home, only for the recovering Taro Chitepo to get back and hook the ball off the line.
Smith saw a shot just before the interval saved by Grant's legs, but the Magpies deservedly held an advantage at half-time.
Bartley made a few changes for the second half, and threw on Kameron English who gave the visitors some added impetus.
Despite this they struggled to carve out clear cut chances until the hour mark when Isaac Osei-Tutu swept home a cross from the left to make it 1-1.
Neither side was able to impose themselves on the game in the latter stages so the tie went to penalties, and Grant was the Blues' hero, saving three spot kicks to see the Isthmian South Central side through.
Marko Borkovic netted for the Magpies, but Smith, Tommy Boyd and Harrison Playle all missed as the Blues went through 3-1.
After Peters said on Twitter: "Rubbish way to lose a game of football via penalties.
"But that's the only negative today. We were able to field an entire side of our up and coming stars and they were all immense, giving Marlow FC a competitive game.
"The future is bright at Maidenhead United."
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