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Is FA Trophy run a distraction for Magpies?

Ground Hopper

Ground Hopper

(Printed in the Maidenhead Advertiser on January 18, 2018)

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MAIDENHEAD UNITED

What value should Maidenhead United manager Alan Devonshire put on the FA Trophy this season?

Really impressive successes away at Woking and then Halifax have put the Magpies in the last 16 where they will host Stockport County of the National League North on Saturday, February 3.

Two more victories and they are in a Wembley final, a match which the winner walks away from with huge prestige and a cheque for £60,000. The runner-up bags £30,000.

I know this first-ever campaign in the National League is paramount for the Magpies, but the FA Trophy looks like a chance to nab the cherry on the cake.

That must be too tempting not to take as seriously as the league.

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FLACKWELL HEATH FC

Flackwell Heath FC are an interesting club, aren’t they?

They are currently fourth in the Hellenic League Premier Division, yet a few years back they won the title, but turned down promotion because of the travel and cost implications of the Southern League.

Since then Graham Malcolm departed for Gibraltar, his successor Paul Shone parted company with the club after some behind the scenes disagreements a couple of months ago, and now his assistant Sean Kelleher has moved on from Wilks Park.

Marcus Richardson has been brought in to take over the reins and after seemingly making quite a few changes to the squad, the side is once again finding some consistency.

I just wonder how long it will take for the Heathens to be genuine title challengers again. It’s a tough division and could take a while.

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BURNHAM FC
After all the strife Burnham FC have been through, and just as they seem to be inching in the right direction, they get penalised three points for fielding an ineligible player.

What a disaster, especially when you only had 17 points to your name in the first place.

It puts then rock-bottom of the Hellenic League Premier Division again and must feel like a self-inflicted kick in the teeth.

It was always possible given the huge number of players manager Alan Paris is using as he seeks to find a competitive squad, but that does not make it any more palatable.

I just hope those three points aren’t the difference between staying up and relegation at the end of the campaign.

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