06:38PM, Saturday 18 March 2017
Maidenhead United 3, Welling United 0
Three fantastic first half goals helped Maidenhead United coast to all three points over improving Welling United.
The performance, their best at home in several months, was enough to maintain their one point lead over title rivals Ebbsfleet United. But, crucially, it also showed the Magpies are refreshed and relaxed for the run in.
Dean Inman’s thumping header from Dave Tarpey’s corner put them in front in the 23rd minute before another dazzling piece of skill and finish high into the net from Tarpey, his 36th of a record breaking season in National League South, put the result out of Welling’s reach.
The game turned into a practice match from there on in and a third goal arrived in first half stoppage time when a partial clearance from the Wings’ defence was returned with interest as James Mulley thumped home on the volley.
Further goals could and should have come the Magpies way in the second half but for a fine goalkeeping display from Wings’ keeper Chris Lewington who denied Tarpey twice and generally stood up well to the home side’s second half onslaught.
Welling, who’ve been improving under joint caretaker managers Harry Wheeler and Tristan Lewis, eked out the odd half chance with Alex Cathline volleying wide in the 10th minute and substitute Pierre Joseph-Dubois poking over a late chance for a consolation.
The Magpies were on it from the first whistle and, seeking their third straight league win, quickly set about their 15th placed visitors.
Sean Marks might have been in on goal had the ball not got caught under his feet from a clever James Comley pass in the sixth minute, and Harry Pritchard flashed a cross come shot mightily close to Lewington’s left hand post on 15 minutes.
The goal that settled the Magpies arrived after 23 minutes when Inman shook off the attentions of Ricky Hayles to powerfully head home Tarpey’s corner.
Minutes later the Magpies were two goals to the good when Tarpey raced onto Marks’ flick with the outside of his boot and sidestepped Sean Francis before lashing the ball high beyond Lewington. Tarpey’s quick feet left Francis in a heap and injured on the floor and the defender was substituted in the aftermatch.
Tarpey took down a high throughball and got another shot on goal, which Lewington saved with his legs before half-time and Marks just failed to head Pritchard’s left wing cross on target as the Magpies closed in for the kill. The decisive blow was landed by Mulley in first half stoppage time when a poor clearance from a corner fell to him in the area and the midfielder arrowed a low volley through a crowded area and past Lewington.
The shooting gallery opened up again early in the second half as Tarpey forced another save from Lewington and Comley swerved a shot just wide from outside the box. Pritchard got in a couple more times on the left side of the Welling box but failed to provide the telling cross or finish and the Magpies happily settled for another convincing win. The only sour point on an otherwise perfect afternoon was Ebbsfleet coming from behind in the final 10 minutes to beat Weston 2-1 to prevent the Magpies escaping further at the top.
Referee: Sam Purkiss
Star man: Remy Clerima
Maidenhead United: Pentney 8, Clerima 9, Steer 8, Upward 8, Massey (c) 8, Inman 9, Tarpey 8, Comley 8 (Parkinson 82’ 7), Marks 8 (Cox 75’ 7), Mulley 8, Pritchard 8 (Barratt 75’ 8). Subs not used: Wiltshire, Peters.
Welling: Lewington 8’, Hatton 6, Brown 6, Fuseini 7, Hayles 6 (Karagiannis 40’ 7), Francis 6 (Leacock 30’ 7), Walker 6, Waldron 6, Cathline 6, Crawford 6, Murrell-Williamson 6 (Joseph-Dubois 77’ 7). Subs not used: Richards, Amu.
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A tribute to John Spicer, who died in a traffic collision in Winkfield Road on Sunday, has been issued by his family this evening.