11:24PM, Tuesday 14 September 2021
Photo: George Tewkesbury
Maidenhead United 0, Stockport County 2
Maidenhead United lost for a third league match in a row after going down 2-0 at home to Stockport County in a match which also saw their French defender Remy Clerima and on loan keeper James Holden sent off.
County deservedly left York Road with all three points, after goals in either half for John Rooney and Alex Reid, but that only partially tells the story on an evening when everything that could have gone wrong for the Magpies did.
Stockport didn’t look like they needed a helping hand in the early stages, having taken the lead through Rooney’s clinical strike in the 17th minute, but they got one anyway with some questionable decisions from the evening’s officials.
County broke well on the Magpies in the 17th minute, turning defence into attack in a blink of an eye to leave the Magpies outnumbered in defence. Will Collar, who was influential throughout for the visitors, led the counterattack, and after he got lucky with a deflection off Manny Parry, he had the presence of mind to square the ball for Rooney who made no mistake from just inside the area.
Momentum then swung massively in the visitors’ favour, just when it seemed United were getting themselves back into the contest. Emile Acquah had done well to turn his marker on the left side of the penalty area and drove towards the box. His run was checked, and the Magpies were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position but, as the players jostled for position on the goalline, Collar went down clutching his leg and County’s players surrounded the referee demanding Clerima be shown the red card.
Clerima clearly felt he was provoked by Collar but did appear to kick out petulantly and this momentary loss of composure left his teammates chasing the game with only 10 men.
After that Maidenhead barely laid a glove on Stockport. They looked toothless in attack and threatened only sporadically from set pieces. Charlee Adam dragged a low free kick through a crowded penalty area and wide of the post in the 32nd minute and Parry glanced a header wide from another Adam free kick just before the interval.
The Magpies lacked energy in the second half and made little impression on the County backline, who were content to keep possession and frustrate their hosts. Liam Hogan very nearly got his head on another Rooney delivery in the 52nd minute and, had he done so, would surely have doubled their lead. Their second goal did arrive in the 63rd minute and it was simplicity itself. A corner was whipped in from the right and Reid got the jump on Holden, nodding the ball into the empty net from right in front of him.
Josh Kelly, who’s netted twice for the Magpies in the league this season, had a quiet night for him, but he sensed an opportunity to burst through on goal in the 67th minute, only to be denied by a superb sliding challenge from Southam-Hales.
Paddy Madden struck the base of Holden’s post with a volley after another impressive break from Collar in the 75th minute, and Collar then fired over on the run with Madden returning the favour. Any slim hopes the Magpies had of getting back into the game then completely evaporated when Holden was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Reid as he ran out of his box to clear the ball. He made contact with the ball, but also with Reid’s shoulder and the referee swiftly pulled out the red without consulting his linesmen. Second half substitute Ryan Upward donned the keeper’s gloves for the final 12 minutes, but he didn’t really have a shot to save. Rooney blasted over the bar on a couple of occasions, but the visitors were generally wasteful with their possession and territory as the game fizzled out.
A quick word on the Maidenhead fans who were in remarkably fine voice given the circumstances, or perhaps because of the circumstances and the perceived injustice of having two men sent off.
Maidenhead, who have fallen a couple of places to 14th in the National League table, will look to bounce back at unbeaten Notts County on Saturday.