Maidenhead United revive play-off hopes with spirited victory over Chesterfield

Maidenhead United 2, Chesterfield 0

Maidenhead United revived their play-off hopes with an excellent team display in a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win over in-form Chesterfield at York Road.

The Magpies looked the hungrier side throughout and won pretty much all their collective and individual battles in difficult, blustery conditions.

Nathan Blissett side-footed home Dan Sparkes low cross to make it 1-0 after 21 minutes, and Sparkes doubled their advantage with a close-range finish from Josh Coley’s clever cross shortly after the interval.

Alan Devonshire’s side remain 15th, level on 36 points with Chesterfield, however, both sides have matches in hand on almost every side above them in the race for the play-offs.

United began brightly. Sparkes pulled an early shot narrowly wide for the hosts before sending a free kick over the angle of post and bar.

In the 20th minute Chesterfield’s Liam Mandeville was played in on goal by George Carline’s cross, but the striker’s loose touch allowed the chance to get away from him.

The Magpies took the lead just seconds later when Sparkes found space on the left and whipped in a dangerous low cross which Blissett side-footed home for his second goal in three matches.

Alex Whittle missed a great chance to level the scores on 27 minutes, when Akwasi Asante played him in on the overlap, but Taye Ashby-Hammond narrowed the angle well and saved the low shot with his legs.

Ashby-Hammond made another fine save minutes after the restart when he got down well to keep out Jak McCourt’s well struck drive, but United continued to pose a threat, and it was no surprise when Sparkes ghosted in at the far post to turn home Coley’s cross in the 51st minute.

Substitute Adi Yussuf passed up an excellent chance to half the deficit when he shot tamely at Ashby-Hammond on 62 minutes, while Nathan Tyson looped a header over for the visitors in the 74th minute.

Ryan Upward, who was everywhere for the Magpies in an excellent midfield display, very nearly capped off the performance with a third, but his 82nd minute shot was deflected just wide.

Afterwards Magpies boss Alan Devonshire said: “That’s definitely our best display here. I’m delighted, we played some good stuff at times in difficult conditions. We looked like the team that were in form to be fair.

“Credit to the boys they’ve defended well as a group, and we’ve got to make sure we push on now.”

Chesterfield boss James Rowe added: “They were better than us today, first and second contacts. Full credit to the opposition, I don’t want to take anything away from Maidenhead. It’s not that we didn’t do it, but maybe they forced those mistakes. They stood up better in the conditions. But we won’t dwell on this, we’ve obviously lost only three in 17.”

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