Maidenhead United 1, Barrow 1
Maidenhead United fought back to grab a well-earned share of the spoils with Barrow at York Road this afternoon.
Mike Fondop netted a brilliantly constructed equaliser in the 74th minute, running onto James Comley’s lofted ball over the top before controlling it with his chest and side-footing past Joel Dixon.
There was much more urgency about United after the interval after a lacklustre first half showing.
They fell behind after 20 minutes when Jack Hindle anticipated Remy Clerima’s under-hit backpass and made the most of Carl Pentney’s hesitancy to nip in and poke the ball home via the post.
Moments before that the Magpies missed a great chance to go in front, Josh Kelly getting a touch on Ricky Gabriel’s left-wing cross, but Dixon got down well to smother.
Pentney made amends for the goal in the 25th minute, tracking James Philpot’s run to make a sprawling save after the striker had been sent clear on goal by Lewis Hardcastle’s through-ball.
Alan Massey got his bearings mixed up to flick a free-header wide from Comley’s chipped free-kick a few minutes before the break. But the United skipper got down well to block John Rooney’s effort from the edge of the box a few minutes later to ensure the Magpies went off at the break with only a one goal deficit.
The introduction of Adrian Clifton for Max Worsfold at the interval appeared to galvanise the hosts, who played with far more purpose throughout the second period. Fondop – who might have had a hat-trick on the day – slipped on the ball in the 52nd minute after being played in by Clifton.
Josh Granite then nearly turned the ball past Dixon for an own goal after Gabriel had picked the pocket of Sam Hird down on the left touchline.
On the hour mark Fondop thought he’d brought the Magpies level when he volleyed home from a Comley throw in. But his hooked volley took a little nick of Kelly before beating Dixon and the linesman’s assistant rightly raised his flag.
The on-loan Wrexham forward finally took his chance in the 74th minute, chesting down Comley’s lovely ball to beat Dixon with a clinical finish. Harold Odametey danced round a couple of Barrow tackles before shooting weakly at Dixon a couple of minutes later. While, at the other end, Pentney turned Connor Brown’s effort around his near post in the 88th minute.
The Magpies might have won it with the last kick, when Fondop went scampering away down the right side of Barrow’s area but his pull back for Clifton was blazed just over the bar, and referee Carl Brook put the whistle to his lips to signal full-time a few seconds later.
After the game Magpies boss Alan Devonshire said: “Yeah we played a lot better in the second half. We gave a sloppy goal away again. But, listen, second half performance was good on a hot day. We should have won but we’ll take a point.
“We still want to get points on the board but we’re down to the bare bones. Uppy’s (Ryan Upward) injured and Ayo’s (Obileye) injured. We’ve got another game on Monday (at Eastleigh) and we’ll see how we go.
“The sloppy goal hurt our confidence a bit, but second half we were a lot better. Second half (Fondop) he was very good so it’s all looking very good for Monday and next week.”
His opposite number Ian Evatt added: “I think we played really well in the first half. The conditions were difficult when it’s this hot. It doesn’t make it any easier when the opposition turn the radiators on in the changing rooms before the game. I thought them old tactics were over but they still came to fruition today.
“Listen, I’m pleased that we’ve put so much effort in. I think a point is probably fair. The pitch is difficult, it’s a difficult place to come and there were certainly no beach towels out there today, we put it all in. When we came under a bit of pressure in the second half we stood up to it well. We just switched off for a moment and it cost us.”
Maidenhead United (4-4-2): Pentney 7’; Twumasi 7’, Clerima 6’, Massey 7’, Gabriel 7; Worsfold 5’ (Clifton 45’ 7’), Comley 7’, Odametey 6’, Nombe 7; Kelly 6’ (Akintunde 70’ 7’) Fondop 8’. Subs not used: Bird, Owusu, Steer.
Barrow (3-5-2): Dixon 8’; Granite 7’, Jameson 7’, Hird 7’; Kay 7’ (Brown 7’ 77’), Taylor 7’, Rooney 7’, Hardcastle 8’, Norrington-Davies 8; Philpot 6, Hindle 7 (Angus 6’ 69’). Subs not used: Elsdon, Barthram, Molyneux.
Lydney Town 2, Windsor 0
Elsewhere on Good Friday, in-form Windsor suffered a surprising set-back in their battle for a top four finish, going down 2-0 at Lydney Town AFC.
Both of the goals came in the second half, with Thompson firing Lydney ahead in the 58th minute before Halford finished off the Royalists' challenge with a second goal in the 83rd minute.
Windsor sit sixth in the Hellenic Premier Division table ahead of their home game with Wantage Town on Monday.