07:30PM, Thursday 15 July 2021
Maidenhead United’s media joked this week that they had signed a goalkeeper and striker all at once when announcing that goalkeeper Rhys Lovett had re-joined the club for the 2021/22 season.
The 24-year-old, Birmingham-born, shot-stopper played four times for the injury-hit Magpies last season after his time at Gloucester City was brought to an end by the premature climax to the National League North season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it was as a goal-poacher that he will be best remembered during that brief first stint at York Road.
After having to spend a spell of his own on the sidelines following a pair of late challenges by Ruben Rodrigues of Notts County during the first half of the National League game between the sides in May which necessitated hospital treatment, the goalkeeper’s next appearance came as an outfield substitute for Alan Devonshire on the final day of the 2020/21 season.
The depleted Magpies were 3-1 up at Boreham Wood before Lovett tucked home Danilo Orsi’s cross in injury time to complete a memorable victory and spark some delirious scenes of celebration.
Deputising for Taye Ashby-Hammond who had broken a finger, Lovett – who started out as a trainee at Walsall before going on to gain EFL experience at Cheltenham Town – started four games for Maidenhead before that injury blow, keeping a clean sheet on debut at King’s Lynn with a couple of smart saves before appearing in the surprise victory at eventual play-off winners Hartlepool and the creditable draw with another high-flying side, Wrexham ahead of the set back against County.
Talking to MUFC media officer Grace Scott after putting pen to paper this week, Lovett revealed: “With the injury it hindered what I wanted to go on and do, getting more games and stake my place in the team. I just want to get back, play as many games as possible and do well and hopefully have some success.”
Talking about his goal-scoring cameo, Lovett joked: “I’ve watched it probably about a hundred times. All I can hear is ‘Give it to Rhys!’.”
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.