02:33PM, Thursday 23 January 2020
Alan Devonshire has warned that Maidenhead United are in real danger of going down if they continue playing as badly as they did in the second half of Tuesday’s FA Trophy exit to Halesowen Town.
The Magpies capitulated once again on home soil, conceding three second-half goals to bow out of the competition, having dominated the first half and taken the lead through Danny Whitehall’s well-taken goal.
The Trophy isn’t a priority for Devonshire or his management team this season but they’d have expected to go through against a side playing three divisions below them in the football pyramid.
However, after the final whistle, Devonshire was more concerned by the extent of an injury picked up by central defender Joe Ellul, which threatens to keep him out of Saturday’s home game with Eastleigh.
That said, he wasn’t shirking blame for the side’s disappointing display and knows there must be a big improvement in the coming weeks and months if they’re to hold onto their National League place.
“They deserved it in the second half,” he said of Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat. “They were better than us in the second half but the game should have been over in the first half. We should have been three or four goals up.
“But, listen, we were poor second half and we’ll end up going down if we end up playing like that again.”
He added: “It’s not the priority though. I’m more worried about the league. I know it’s a cliché but I was more worried about Joe (Ellul) getting injured for Saturday than anything else.”
Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Halifax Town – the side Halesowen will now meet in the third round of the FA Trophy – has left the Magpies just two points above the bottom four, while many of the sides below them have at least one match in hand.
Having competed well in the first half at Halifax, the Magpies folded far too easily after the interval, conceding four unanswered goals before Bernard Mensah lashed home a late consolation.
This Saturday’s visitors, Eastleigh, have also been struggling for form, and a win for Devonshire’s side would see them leapfrog them in the table. But, despite acknowledging the game’s importance, the manager insisted the result won’t be the ‘be all and end all’ for their season.
“They’re all big games,” he said. “We’ve got to compete against the Wrexhams, the Chesterfields and Fyldes to stay in this division. We need to finish above them and it’s going to be tough.
“The Eastleigh game won’t be the be all and end all.
“We’ve got some big games coming up in February with games against teams around us in the table. We’ve just got to get results in those games.
“They’re more important to me than anything else.”
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