Maidenhead United chairman accepts play-off challenge may be beyond his side

Sam Barratt

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Maidenhead United chairman Peter Griffin says he has few complaints after what's been a thoroughly entertaining season, however, he accepts a play-off challenge may now be just beyond the Magpies thanks to a number of aggravating factors.

Once again United have punched well above their weight in the National League this season and look well placed to achieve their highest ever position and points total.

They’ve also repeatedly raised their levels to compete with, and beat, many of the league’s big hitters and promotion contenders, with Monday’s 2-2 draw with Wrexham an example of that.

A few weeks ago, the Magpies were beginning to gather serious momentum after impressive victories over Chesterfield (2-0) and Torquay United (4-1), but injuries, unwanted postponements and even the loss of key players to international duty has counted against them.

Now they have a huge number of games to squeeze into the last four weeks, starting at Hartlepool United on Saturday, and there’s a sense that the side’s push for a top seven place has lost a bit of steam.

It may still be possible, given they’re only nine points adrift of Bromley in seventh with matches in hand over sides above them, but Griffin says the squad are starting to feel the effects of a long, difficult, season that’s been challenging for several reasons.

“Our squad’s quite small anyway and we’ve got a number of players out injured,” he said.

“People are having to play full games twice a week so we’re a little bit up and down at the moment.

“Saturday, we did alright against King’s Lynn, it was still a very decent away draw, we could have nicked it.

“Weymouth have been our bogey team and have beaten us three times, you just get games and sides like that sometimes. But I don’t have too many complaints.”

Griffin added that it’s been difficult for the side to play catch up in recent weeks, especially with a large number of games being squeezed into a relatively small window.

“We’ve played fewer games than anyone else in the league even though we didn’t have a single case of COVID in the squad,” he said.

“That’s fantastic but we still had a break of over a month and two weeks twice. Each time we came back it took us a while to get going.

“Because of that we've been playing catch up a little bit.

“So, there's been that; the squad size and games being compressed into the last months of the season.

“It was always going to need everything to go our way, but still, who knows?

“We’ve punched above our weight all season and have some very talented footballers.

“This game (Wrexham) sort of just sums up the season where we’ve played some really good football and have enjoyed it, but we’ve also been caught a few times.

“But we’ve been competitive and in the top half of the table and that’s all we can ask for.”

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