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Whitehall sparks second half fightback but Maidenhead United lose five-goal thriller against Woking

Maidenhead United 2, Woking 3

Jake Hyde returned to haunt his former club, netting Woking’s crucial third goal as they held on to beat Maidenhead United 3-2 in a thriller at York Road.

The ex-Magpie turned home Jamar Loza’s clever cross to make it 3-1 in the 75th minute and stifle hopes of a second half comeback for the home side.

Woking looked on course for a comfortable three points after scoring twice through Moussa Diarra and Loza in a dominant first half display.

But the Magpies were much improved after the break, galvanised by their second half substitutes Bernard Mensah and Danny Whitehall, with the latter scoring twice to set up a grandstand finish.

On another night the Magpies might have nicked something from this game – and there were lively performances from the likes of Josh Kelly and James Comley – but Woking did just about enough to merit the victory. 

Coming into the fixture the Cards were firmly stacked against the Magpies with their first choice centre half pairing of Alan Massey and Joe Ellul both missing the game through suspension.

And the Cards took full advantage of this defensive indecisiveness when Diarra scrappily turned the ball home from a ninth minute corner.

Woking should have doubled their advantage midway through the half when Diarra headed wide unmarked from Josh Casey’s lovely, left-footed cross from the right.

United rarely threatened but they did so on the half-hour mark when Ibra Sekajja’s deflected cross fell kindly for Remy Clerima, whose close range volley was blocked by Ben Gerring.

Aron Davies slid in to prevent another of Maidenhead’s former players’, Dave Tarpey, going through on goal in the 38th minute, but he played an unwanted hand in the visitors’ second just before the break. His wayward header was latched upon by Loza who skipped inside Clerima before thumping the ball past Chris Dunn.

The half-time changes had an immediate effect on Maidenhead and they should have grabbed a goal back in the 55th minute when Jake Cassidy’s well-struck shot was palmed away by Ross. In the ensuing melee the Magpies should have grabbed a goal back with Mensah, Kelly and Whitehall all seeing efforts blocked as Woking put their bodies on the line.

But the blue touch paper for an electric second half was lit when Whitehall tucked home from close range after Ross had parried Mensah’s low drive in the 60th minute. Rene Steer slid in well to deny his former teammate Tarpey a certain goal in the 64th minute, but it seemed the contest had been put to bed with 15 minutes to play when Hyde got to Loza’s clever reverse cross and touched it past Dunn and inside the post.

United regrouped and came at Woking again. Cassidy was narrowly off target with a diving header before Whitehall pounced to give them a second lifeline, turning the ball through Ross’ legs in the 86th minute from Cassidy’s knock-down.

The Magpies had a few late shots that were blocked and a Comley corner was headed off the goalline, but the Cards defended well in those frantic final minutes and most of the additional three minutes of injury time was played high up in Maidenhead’s own half.

Maidenhead drop to 17th in the National League table and sit five points above the drop zone ahead of Tuesday's trip to Dover Athletic.

Magpies assistant boss Ryan Peters said: “We were poor first half and we gave away some really poor goals. It doesn’t help when you concede one in the first 10 minutes. You would have expected us to deal against that much better than we did.

“But we were up against a front three who are in very, very good form so we knew it was going to be a hard task. We didn’t give them much, other than the mistakes we made.

“The good news is that the boys knew straight away they were low on their levels in the first half. The gaffer made two inspiring substitutions and we went on to win the second half. And for the majority of those boys they did get back up to those levels.

“The gaffer is all about the positive mindset. He’ll talk about the two goals we scored and they were good goals. It’s just a case of scoring more. Our defensive record isn’t too bad but if we can score a few more goals it will just take the heat off at the back a bit.”  

Woking boss Alan Dowson added: “I think we gave everything, and we battled hard which you’ve got to do against Dev’s teams.

“I think we deserved the win but we gave away some sloppy goals. If we stop giving away those goals we’ve got half a chance.

“It was frustrating because we were 2-0 up and I thought we were comfortable at the time. Then again we got it to 3-1 and I thought ‘let’s kill the game’, but we gave away some disappointing goals. I hate it (on the touchline), I’ll have a heart attack before I’m 50. But it’s three points, at the end of the day that’s what matters.”

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Attendance: 1, 307

Maidenhead United (4-4-2): Dunn 8’; Sheckleford 7’, Clerima 6’, Davies 6’, Steer 7’; Upward 6’, Comley 7’, Smile 5 (Mensah 45’ 7’), Sekajja 6’ (Whitehall 45’ 8’); Kelly 8’ (Akintunde 87’ 6’) , Cassidy 7’. Subs not used: Grant, Brissett.

Woking: (4-3-3): Ross 7’; Casey 8’, Gerring 7’, Diarra 8, Cook 7’; Donnellan 7’,  Rea 7’, Poku 7’ (Kretzchmar 79’ 6’) ; Loza 9’, Hyde 8’, Tarpey 7’ (Gray 85’ 6’). Subs not used: Collier, Hodges, Paulat-Brigg.

 

 Selected other results:

Concord Rangers 0, Slough Town 0 (FA Trophy - replay at Arbour Park on Tuesday night).

Marlow 1 Harlow Town 1

Royal Wootton Bassett Town 2, Flackwell Heath 1

Longlevens 6, Burnham 2

Wycombe Wanderers 1, Doncaster Rovers 0

Brentford 1, Reading 0

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M4 closures this weekend

M4 closures this weekend

The motorway will be out of action from junction 6 for Slough and 8/9, Maidenhead from 8pm tomorrow night (Friday), until 6am Monday.