06:42PM, Saturday 16 October 2021
Photo: Elise O’Brien.
Maidenhead United were able to put last season’s FA Cup catastrophe behind them with a 3-1 victory over Isthmian League South East side Hastings United to move into the tournament’s First Round Proper.
The Magpies were expected to comfortably cruise past Cray Valley in the Fourth Qualifying Round last year but badly under-performed and suffered a humiliating 3-2 defeat on home turf.
However, on Saturday – with perhaps the thought of embarrassment lurking at the back of their minds – Alan Devonshire’s men put in a much improved and characteristic display against an outfit three leagues below.
Sam Barratt (4’), Kane Ferdinand (29’), and Nathan Blissett (47’) were all on the scoresheet for the home side this afternoon, along with Hastings’ Kenny Pogue (32’) who had halved the deficit before the break.
At full-time, Maidenhead United manager Devonshire believed it was a much more challenging game than what it appeared as from the stands: “Make no mistake, it was difficult out there,” he said.
“I’ve seen a few clubs have been knocked out by lower-ranked clubs today, and that’s what can happen. But we ain’t one of them today, we’re in the first round, and I’m pleased about that.”
The home side started on the front foot and took the lead early when Barratt rifled in an effort from just outside the box into the bottom right corner of Louis Rogers’ net.
George Wells put his body, or rather face, on the line next as he bravely blocked a Hastings free kick and ushered the ball out of play for a goal kick.
A minute later, Ryan Upward had the ball down the other end, stinging the palms of the visiting ‘keeper with a thumping effort.
Rhys Lovett had the home fans panicked when he fumbled a fierce effort from Sam Hasler and the Magpies’ keeper was forced to deny the follow up from the number 11 inside the area, in the 27th minute.
However, the hosts doubled their advantage just before the half hour mark when Josh Kelly drove at the visitors’ defence and slid Ferdinand in for a comfortable finish.
Three minutes later and against the run of play, Pogue pulled one back for the visitors after his initial shot was saved by Lovett and the deflection fell neatly for the forward to try his luck again.
After the break, Blissett found his breakthrough in this clash when he tapped home an easy rebound after Barratt had hit a low drive across goal.
In the 67th minute, Mingi was unlucky not to beat Rogers one-on-one after he sprinted from the hosts’ half with the ball and breached into the visitors’ box with ease.
Ten minutes later, the 20-year-old went close again with a sweet effort that Rogers was just able to tip out for a corner.
In a swift counter-attack, Pogue tried to catch Lovett out with a lob but the ‘keeper wasn’t fooled.
The Magpies saw the final 10 minutes out in comfortable fashion, with Devonshire turning to his bench to wind down the clock even faster and ensure his team would have their names in the hat for the next round.
MAIDENHEAD UNITED (4-3-3): Lovett, Wells, De Havilland, Massey, Clerima, Upward, Ferdinand, Mingi (92’ Adams), Kelly (89’ Asonganyi), Blissett, Barratt (83’ Smith). Subs not used: Holden, Parry, Beckwith, Acquah.
HASTINGS UNITED: (3-5-2): Rogers, Black, Elphick, Stone, Chalmers (45’ Olulanze Azeez), Dixon, Adams (69’ Worrall), Hasler, Goldsmith, Pogue, Martin (78’ Legg). Subs not used: Bates, Penn, Greig, Hoad.
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.