07:30PM, Wednesday 26 May 2021
Maidenhead’s season may not be finishing in quite the way Alan Devonshire envisaged, with the club falling short of its target of finishing in its highest ever league position and with its highest points tally.
But it’s still been a season of progress and once again the Magpies have shown they’re capable of defying their part time status to mix it with the teams challenging for promotion. At one stage in the season the Magpies found some consistency and looked a dark horse to finish in the play-offs, but injuries, a busy fixture list, international absentees, as well as ill-discipline and the associated suspensions, scuppered those hopes.
However, Devonshire said the return of fans to grounds this past month had been a breath of fresh air and helped motivate the players at a time when they’ve been running on empty.
“It’s been brilliant having them back,” he said. “Football isn’t football without the fans.
“It’s like playing a training game without them really.
“As much as you try to motivate yourself, with the fans back it’s just a different ball game. Even having fans back for the away matches has been better. The Yeovil game and the two matches we’ll have this week. It’s just a much better atmosphere for everyone and hopefully the crowds will be back for the new season and we’ll see what we can do.”
United’s chances of finishing in the top half haven’t been helped by a spate of dismissals in recent weeks, including the manager himself in the 4-0 defeat to Notts County. He was forced to watch the game at Barnet from the stands and will do the same in the season’s finale at Boreham Wood on Saturday. Ryan Upward was the latest Magpie to see red in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Halifax Town.
“That seems to be happening to us a lot this season,” added Devonshire.
“Let's hope we get it all out of the way and we don't get as much of that next season.
“We need to keep 11 players on the pitch to be competitive.
“I was stuck in the stand, out of the way last night.
“I’ve been banned for two games, last night and Saturday but I’m pleased I’ll be back in the dugout for the start of next season.”
The race to get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus has ramped up in the Royal Borough and Slough amidst an ongoing rise in cases across the country.