07:31PM, Saturday 25 January 2020
Maidenhead United 2, Eastleigh FC 0
Having been flirting with the relegation spots in recent weeks, Danny Whitehall’s brace of goals earned Maidenhead United a crucial win over Eastleigh on Saturday afternoon.
The Magpies move above their rivals into 18th place of the National League with the victory and gain some breathing space above the drop zone.
Eastleigh were looking to overcome a rough patch of form themselves having lost three on the bounce. But Rob Atkinson, back on loan from Oxford United, had a nightmare return as he gave away an early penalty for a foul on Josh Kelly.
Whitehall was the man to step up and he smashed the spot kick past Max Stryjek to give the Magpies a dream start against the Spitfires inside seven minutes.
Just minutes later, Kelly looked likely to secure a second for Maidenhead when he found himself with the ball just outside the box. But the forward was swiftly dispossessed by the Eastleigh defence who swept away the danger.
The visitors pressed well to search for an equaliser and James Alabi was given a free run into the area after shrugging off Ryheem Sheckleford. But Joe Ellul was on hand to put in a strong tackle and prevent the forward from pulling the trigger.
Down the other end, Remy Clerima slipped Kelly in inside the penalty area but the striker just clipped his shot off the post on the 18th minute.
The strength of Alabi continued to prove a handful for the partnership of Massey and Ellul to deal with, and the Eastleigh forward created the space to strike a snapshot just over the woodwork.
But with just over half an hour gone, Whitehall doubled his own and Maidenhead’s advantage with a great team move that culminated in the forward coolly slotting home a low driven cross from Kelly.
(Highlights by Maidenhead United)
Alabi had a screaming chance to pull one back for the Spitfires shortly after when he found himself one-on-one with Taye Ashby Hammond, but the Magpies keeper stood firm to deny the forward.
The half concluded with a free kick for the Magpies just outside the box with Whitehall firmly positioned to try his luck. But the striker was only able to see his shot go wide as Maidenhead entered the break with the two goal advantage.
Chances were certainly at a premium in the second half, and it took until the hour mark for Eastleigh to have an attempt at goal.
Substitute Jake Scrimshaw had a glaring opportunity to open his account for the Spitfires but saw his effort fly high over the crossbar.
Aside from Scrimshaw’s effort, chances were few and far between and the Magpies were able to close out the second period with relative ease.
After the match, Alan Devonshire said: “I’m delighted. there was a lot of pressure on us today and they delivered the goods. I thought we played really well in the first half, and then we showed a lot of resilience in the second half.”
Eastleigh boss Ben Strevens reflected on his team's performance and said: “We needed to be more clinical. We had very good chances but we did not capitalise on them.”
“We knew if we beat them today we’d go above them and that’s all the motivation we needed.”— Joshua Browne (@JoshuaB_BM) January 25, 2020
Danny Whitehall bagged a brace today and here’s what he had to say on @MUFCYorkRoad’s win. pic.twitter.com/9uswHEw9x0
Maidenhead United: Ashby-Hammond, Clerima, Ellul, Massey, Sheckleford, Twumasi, Upward, Smile (’72 Steer), Akintunde (’79 Fenelon), Kelly (’69 Alfa), Whitehall. Subs not used: Davies, Keetch.
Eastleigh FC: Stryjek, Partington, Atkinson, Boyce, Payne, Barnett (’67 Scrimshaw), Wynter, Miley, Alabi, Hollands (’67 Rendell), Godwin-Malif (’67 Smart) Subs not used: Flitney, Bearwish.
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