08:00AM, Friday 20 November 2020
Aaron O’Brien and Ryan Peters after the final whistle at Aldershot on Tuesday. Darren Woolley
Assistant boss Ryan Peters admits his heart was pounding as he stood on the touchline during Maidenhead’s 2-1 win over Chesterfield on Saturday.
The assistant boss was leading the team in the absence of manager Alan Devonshire, who’d undergone hip surgery the previous day, and he said afterwards it was the ‘most nervous he’d been about anything in a long time’.
He needn’t have worried. A change of tactics and some tweaking of the system led to the Magpies coming from behind to beat the Spirerites thanks to two goals from Sam Barratt – the division’s top scorer.
His heart rate had dropped a touch for Tuesday’s goalless draw at Aldershot Town, but Peters says his experience in the dugout this week – working alongside first team coaches Aaron O’Brien and Eddie Keen – has given him an even greater appreciation of the role played by Devonshire.
He hopes to see the former West Ham United player back in the dugout for Saturday’s home game against Bromley but admitted Devonshire ‘wasn’t in a great place’ this week and hadn’t bounced back from the surgery as quickly as he’d have liked. He was, though, able to have a short chat with Peters ahead of the Shots clash and was due to watch the game.
The result at Aldershot extended the Magpies unbeaten run in the league to six matches, although it was tinged with disappointment after their failure to take full advantage of Mike Fondop’s dismissal for the Shots with 20 minutes to play. Still, they sit fourth in the table going into Saturday’s clash at York Road.
“The game changed when the red card came along,” said Peters.
“We weren’t great to be honest. If any team looked like they were going to score when it was 11vs11 it was Aldershot. Second half we came out a lot better and the red card made things a lot easier.
“We just thought, how can we get in the game? How can we get close to their goal to try and get a late winner? It wasn’t to be.
“We brought Josh Smile on and if anyone is going to unlock a defence it’s going to be him. We had a few half chances but nothing to write home about.”
Peters added: I’ll be honest with you, I made a mistake today, leaving Josh Coley out.
“I should have started him. It’s a lesson learned. But when you look at our bench, we look like we can be a match for anyone.”
Fondop’s dismissal with around 20 minutes to play handed the Magpies the opportunity to go on and claim their sixth straight victory in the league. But their performance on the night didn’t really merit it and they failed to carve out the kind of chances which might have nicked a result.
Peters also had a reasonably clear view of Fondop’s sending off and doesn’t think the Shots player can have any complaints.
“Manny (Parry) was down,” he said.
“He was tussling with another boy and then Mike Fondop has had a quick kick out at him.
“He’s missed the ball unfortunately and made contact with Manny. It was a straight red card. Manny’s reaction is the reason he got a yellow.”
Peters, O’Brien and Keen will be ready to lead the side again on Saturday, should Devonshire be ruled out of action once again on doctors’ orders.
Despite being in pain over the past seven days he’s been in regular contact with Peters, offering him guidance on everything from training to team selection and formations.
“I’ve said this a lot recently, but he makes it look very, very easy,” said Peters. “Chesterfield was as nervous as I’ve been in a long time.
“Today (Tuesday) the heart rate was a lot lower. I was able to watch the game and feel free. But we’re hoping to get him back as quick as possible.
“We’re speaking to him every day but we’re managing okay.
“We’re listening to him as much as we can. We’re getting his thoughts on our decisions.
“He’s not necessarily in a great way at this moment in time so he wasn’t in contact during the game. The phone calls are as short as possible, but I spoke to him just before the game.
“I spoke to him about the team and he was happy with the formation. But we’re not going to bother him more than that until he’s a bit better.
“You’d like to think he’ll be back. But until he gets an assessment from the doctors. He’d like to be back. If he’s allowed to be free, he’ll be back in the dugout. Fingers crossed for Saturday.”
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