05:46PM, Saturday 30 November 2019
Maidenhead United vs Harrogate TownNational League.York Road, Maidenhead.
Maidenhead United 0, Barrow AFC 4
Maidenhead United were hampered by illness, injury and suspension for this afternoon’s game against league leaders Barrow, but boss Alan Devonshire was in no mood to make excuses for his side as they succumbed to a comprehensive defeat at York Road.
On a bitterly cold afternoon the Magpies did little to warm those who turned up to support them, as John Rooney inspired the Bluebirds to a statement victory.
In contrast the Barrow supporters were in fine fettle as they departed York Road, while their manager Ian Evatt admitted his only disappointment was that the Bluebirds didn’t score more.
They came into the game leading the National League by a point, with a game in hand, and showed why they’re there with a dominant display from first whistle to last.
United competed well in the early stages, fresh from their 4-3 win at Dover Athletic on Tuesday night but – without the likes of James Comley through illness and Joe Ellul through suspension – they were no match for a Barrow side who dictated play and bossed the possession stats.
Scott Quigley and Dior Angus will be a handful for most sides this season and they ran the Magpies ragged in this one. It didn’t take them long to make their mark on the game. In the 12th minute Ryan Upward needlessly gave away possession in a promising area for United and, quick as a flash Barrow were in on the Maidenhead goal. Angus broke clear and slipped a pass across the face for Quigley who fired beyond Chris Dunn.
Slowly they began to take a stranglehold on the match. Dunn was called upon again to keep out Josh Kay’s effort at the far post, after more good work from Rooney and Angus to create the chance. Then a flying stop from Dunn denied Quigley again in the 35th minute.
In between times the Magpies created one of their only attempts on effort in the whole match, a dipping shot from outside the area by Ryan Upward which Joel Dixon did well to save.
Angus had chances just before and after the break to put the game to bed but he fluffed his lines on both occasions. With the first, in the 45th minute he shot too close to Dunn who saved with his legs. Then, in the 49th minute, a clever pass from Rooney put the striker in again but this time Dunn foiled him with an even better stop to his left.
The Magpies caused one moment of panic in the Barrow rearguard, when Jake Cassidy’s deflected drive flew into the hands of Dixon on 50 minutes, but, once Angus had tapped home Quigley’s low cross from close range in the 53rd minute, it was a procession for Barrow.
Whitehall nodded over for the Magpies in the 60th minute, punching the ground in the belief that he should have pulled one back for the home side. But, as the game progressed, it became even more painful for the hosts.
On 65 minutes defender Patrick Brough reacted quickest to drive home the loose ball, after more uncertain defending from the Magpies at a corner kick. More half chances came and went for the visitors before substitute Oliver Dyson capped off the scoring in the 88th minute, beating Dunn with a shot with the outside of his right boot after a lovely flick from Rooney to play him in.
United won’t play many better sides at York Road this season but this was still a performance which desperately disappointed manager Alan Devonshire.
“That ain’t good enough,” he said. “I’m really disappointed. We huffed and puffed and all that but that just ain’t good enough. I’ve got no excuses.
“It was a poor afternoon. I can’t really say any more and I’ve told them out there it’s a poor, poor afternoon.
“Yeah performances are (up and down), and if I have to get in other players like last year I will. It depends how we get on next week against Dagenham and then Hemel. Then we’ve got five games over Christmas but if the squad is as thin as this and we pick up injuries, then I’ll need to get people in to cover that. It’s an important period for us over Christmas.
“Them being out (Joe Ellul and James Comley) makes a difference but there are no excuses. Not for a performance like that.”
Devonshire’s mood was in contrast to a delighted Evatt, who felt his side should have scored more.
“The only disappointment today is that we could have scored six or seven, and that’s not disrespecting Maidenhead, it’s just how well we played today. We had chances to kill them off before we did.
“We kept our width, we created one versus one situations, we had good midfield rotation and the strikers were a handful. But for our final decision we probably could have had more goals. But really proud of the way we’ve played and it’s another three points.
“Every three points is important. We are part way through our journey and our end goal. You don’t win prizes in November. They get given out in April and we need to ensure we’re there or there abouts. That’s the aim (to win the league).
Maidenhead sit 17th in the table, five points above the drop zone ahead of next Saturday's trip to Dagenham & Redbridge. They also host Binfield in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup on Tuesday night. With their rivals slipping up Barrow have moved three points clear at the top of the National League with a game in hand.
Maidenhead United (4-4-2): Dunn 8’; Sheckleford 6’, Massey 6’, Clerima 6’, Steer 6’; Smile 6’, Davies 6’, Akintunde 5’ (Whitehall 45 6’), Upward 6’; Cassidy 6’, Kelly 6’ (Mensah 84’ 6’). Subs not used: Grant, Sekajja.
Barrow (4-4-2): Dixon 7’; Brough 8’, Hird 8’, Platt 8’, Barry 8’; Rooney 9’, Hardcastle 7’ (Taylor 69’ 7’), White 8’ (Harrison 80’ 7’), Kay 7’; Angus 8’ (Dyson 80’ 7’), Quigley 9’. Subs not used: Hindle, Brown.
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