Maidenhead United v Aldershot Town – Match Preview – Saturday 7 October 2017
Tuesday evening’s 1-1 draw at home to title favourites Dagenham & Redbridge saw Aldershot Town move up to seventh in the National League table. Ahead thanks to a 21st minute Adam McDonnell strike, The Shots looked comfortable with their lead until the hour mark, when midfielder Jake Gallagher was shown a straight red card. Even against ten men, The Daggers were unable to create much, but crucially full-back Sam Ling latched on to a half clearance, shifted it to his left and drove home to earn his side a share of the points. On Saturday, The Shots make the relatively short trip to York Road to play newly-promoted Maidenhead United.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
With both Will Evans and Will De Haviland now both fully fit, Town manager Gary Waddock this week decided to send Kodi Lyons-Foster (Whitehawk) and Luca Wrightman (Worthing) on loan. The majority of Waddock’s playing squad is now fit, other than Nick Arnold (ACL – out until at least March), Bernard Mensah (tendon, close to re-joining training) and Bobby-Joe Taylor (knee, still a few weeks away from a return).
Opposition – Maidenhead United:
Nickname: The Magpies
Ground: York Road
Head Coach: Alan Devonshire
Formed in 1870, Maidenhead United are one of the oldest football clubs in the country, originally known simply as Maidenhead Football Club. They played their first match in December of that year against Windsor Home Park on a site close to the River Thames. They played their first game at their ground York Road in February 1871, coming up against Marlow. It is still their ground and holds the record of the oldest continuously used ground in senior football.
A superb piece of history belongs to Maidenhead, as they were one of the fifteen original clubs to compete in the FA Cup, when the competition began in the 1871-72 season, which Wanderers famously won for the first time. They have great history in the competition, reaching the semi-final in 1873 but losing to Oxford University.
Maidenhead were founder members of the Southern Premier League, facing the likes of Watford, Brentford and Fulham, but it proved too demanding and they dropped to the West Berkshire League. They moved across a number of divisions in non-league throughout their history picking up three Corinthian and three Spartan league titles.
Undoubtedly the greatest season in Maidenhead United’s history, 2016-2017 will never be forgotten at York Road. An amazing tally of 98 points saw them fight off Ebbsfleet United for the National League South title on the final day of the season, where they beat Margate 3-0 away from home to avoid the lottery of the Play-Offs. Highlights of that season included a 5-1 win over Bath City, 6-1 battering of Oxford City, 5-0 win over Bishop’s Stortford and 5-0 win over Hemel Hempstead. Striker Dave Tarpey won the National League South Player of the Year, scoring 44 league goals.
Manager Alan Devonshire is an experienced manager who is currently in his second spell at the club. He began life in football at non-league Southall before he was picked up by West Ham United. With the Hammers he spent 14 years between 1976 and 1990, making over 350 appearances before departing for the final two years of his playing career at Second Division Watford.
He moved into management in 1996, taking charge of Maidenhead United and had successful reign at the club. He won promotion from the Isthmian League Division One in 2000 and won four Berks & Bucks Senior Cups. He also won the Isthmian Full Members Cup in 1997 as well as losing in the 2000 Isthmian League Cup Final.
He moved on to Hampton & Richmond in 2003 for eight years, where he reached the FA Cup First Round proper and finished runners-up in the Conference South in 2009, but failed to gain promotion through the play-offs. He had previously won promotion from the Isthmian League Division One South in his first season, and won the Isthmian Premier Division in 2007.
Devonshire took over as Braintree Town manager in May 2011, as they ventured into the National League for the first time. He spent four seasons with the Iron, remarkably taking his part-time side to the Conference Play-Off semi-final, prior to re-joining Maidenhead United in 2015.
Prolific striker Tarpey continued where he had left off, netting seven times before earning a move to the Football League with Barnet. It was a big loss for The Magpies, but Devonshire has kept the nucleus of last season’s title winners (including winger Sam Barratt, who has had trials with Crystal Palace) and added shrewdly to it. Centre-backs Alan Massey (100+ games for Braintree Town) & Dean Inman (Hayes & Yeading) give them solidity in defence, whilst Harry Pritchard, Adrian Clifton and Ryan Upward have weighed in with eight goals between them so far this season.
The Magpies (currently 13th) have settled quickly into the National League and, with just one defeat in their opening six matches, found themselves comfortably in the top half of the division. Losing Tarpey to the EFL after just seven games could have hit them hard, but under Devonshire’s excellent guidance, they promptly went to early leaders Sutton United and won 2-0. Three wins and three defeats have followed, so they come into the match with Aldershot Town in mixed form. On Tuesday evening, they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season to date, losing 4-0 to Torquay United, although in slightly unusual circumstances. Due to traffic congestion, they arrived at Plainmoor late, causing the kick off to be delayed and were 4-0 down at half time.
The sides met six times in the Ryman Premier League, between 2000 and 2003, with The Shots winning on four occasions, drawing once and losing 3-0 at York Road in January 2001. In 2004, the teams met in the FA Cup at The Rec, with Town coming out 2-1 winners. Seven years later, The Shots and The Magpies met again, also in the FA Cup, with Aldershot Town needing a replay to progress following a 1-1 draw at York Road. Alex Rodman and Luke Guttridge scored The Shots’ goals as they won the replay 2-0.
Saturday’s ‘man in the middle’ is Thomas Bramall, who has refereed four National League matches to date this season, showing 11 yellow cards and 2 red cards in those four matches. Last season, he refereed Aldershot Town just once, in November’s 2-1 home defeat to Macclesfield Town.
BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and a special guest will be covering the game live on Saturday. Tune in to the BBC Sport website or the BBC Sport App from 2.50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66 or post on the match thread in the Aldershot Town FC Fans Group on Facebook.