04:00PM, Thursday 05 May 2022
Dan Sparkes very nearly didn't get the chance to take the brilliant free kick which put Maidenhead United 1-0 up in Monday's 2-2 draw with Aldershot Town.
The Magpies winger whipped home one of the best strikes the York Road faithful have seen this season, but admitted afterwards that defender George Wells had been determined to take the opportunity off him.
It's been a weekend for magnificent Magpies goals after Sam Barratt's Gazza-esque goal of the season contender at Torquay United on Saturday.
“Before that Wellsy (George Wells) fancied taking it off me,” he told Maidenhead United media officer, Grace Scott.
“I don't know if you saw, but he started giving it 'rock, paper, scissors', but it was a perfect position in the middle of the goal. The keeper gave me quite a bit of room to be fair, I've scored a few free kicks but that's definitely up there as one of my best.
“As soon as you hit a good free-kick you know it, so it was nice to see it go in. That one was right in the corner so I'm happy with that.
“I've always had confidence in my set pieces, I've been taking them all my career.
“But I'd been taking a bit of stick for not scoring enough of them, but I've scored two free kicks now.
United will feel slightly frustrated they didn't take all three points in an entertaining contest at York Road, especially as they should have had a third goal just before half-time from what would have been a comical own goal. Photos showed the whole of the ball had in fact crossed the line before the covering defender's clearance.
Despite this they took a deserved 2-1 lead into the interval thanks to a rare header from Emile Acquah, from a Sparkes' assist, however, a first half goal from Sinclair Armstrong and a late chipped finish from Harrison Panayiotou ensured the spoils were shared.
However, a point was enough to see the Magpies remain 16th ahead of Saturday's long trip to sixth placed Grimsby Town.
“I think as a squad we might have underachieved,” added Sparkes.
“I know the target was to stay up, but I think we've got some really good quality in the squad. We've been riddled with injuries, long-term injuries and we've been missing players every week, but, as a season, we've stayed up and achieved our goal.
“I still think there's more in us. First half today, if we keep up that performance in the second half we win. It's ifs and buts, we've stayed up, but I always want more.”
On the trip to Grimsby, he added: “It's just another game that we want to win. I know it's the end of the season and we've got nothing to play for, but I always want to win, and the lads are the same, you could see that from our performance today. We're not just going up there to have a little kick around and then go home, we want to win.”
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