Clerima on target as Maidenhead United beat Gateshead to move out of relegation zone

Daniel Darlington

FOOTBALL 130783-14

Maidenhead United v Braintree Town.Maidenhead United FC, York Road, Maidenhead.

Gateshead 0, Maidenhead United 1

Remy Clerima netted a first half winner as Maidenhead United hauled themselves out of the relegation zone with victory over Gateshead. 

The Magpies have found Gateshead something of a bogey team in the past season and a half, losing 7-1 on their last trip the International Stadium and 3-1 at home on the first day of the season. 

But the Magpies set out to be resolute defensively, executed their game plan to perfection, and ran out deserved winners, claiming their second clean sheet in the process. 

Clerima bagged the game's only goal, finishing well on the turn in the 29th minute after after great work from James Comley. 

Buoyed by their first clean sheet in over a month at Aldershot on Tuesday, the Magpies started the game brightly with Ryan Bird drilling over in the opening minutes and Harold Odamatey firing wide from the edge of the area on 11 minutes. 

With both teams opting to go direct, defences were on top in the opening 25 minutes, but, in a game of relatively few chances, it was the Magpies who made the break through and held on to pick up a crucial three points in their relegation fight. They were cheered on by former chairman Roger Coombs and his wife Jean, the club's former treasurer, as well as 15 loyal supporters who made the 564 mile round trip from Berkshire. 

Bird again went close in the 50th minute, directing a header wide from Seth Twumasi's cross. 

Gateshead upped the pressure in the latter stages of the second half, and Rene Steer was forced into making a fantastic clearance under pressure in the 63rd minute. Mark Foden headed a chance straight at Carl Pentney a few minutes later. The Magpies survived a couple more moments of panic, with Alan Massey hacking clear in the 79th minute, but their defence stood firm to shut out The Heed. 

Ryan Upward made his long-awaited return following injury, replacing Bird with five minutes to play, and helped the Magpies to their eighth win of the campaign. Victory lifts them to 20th in the table, above Aldershot Town and Chesterfield. They've now picked up seven points from 12 in their last four games - survival form. 

Reflecting on their performance, Sam Lock said: "It's an absolutely fantastic result. We set up in the right way and came here with a game plan. We executed it perfectly and that's two clean sheets on the bounce. We're buzzing. 

"You make your own luck and I'd say in the last two games we've worked hard and today was testament to that. What I will say, and it's from the players and everyone at the club, is that the fans who've come today. It's fantastic of them to travel this far to support us. Singing the gaffer's name, cheering the boys is incredible and we really do appreciate it."

On Tuesday the Magpies host Oxford City in the first round of the FA Trophy. A win would see them through to the second round and a trip to Maidstone United on Saturday, January 12. Their next league game is also at Maidstone, on Tuesday week, January 15. 

Maidenhead United: Pentney, Clerima, Steer, Odametey, Obileye (Clifton 89') Kilgour, Comley, Bird (Upward 85'), Twumasi, Akintunde (Kelly 81'), Massey (C). Subs not used: Alves, Peters. 

Attendance: 581, including 15 Maidenhead United fans. 

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