Despite the absence of key players Aldershot Town made it back-to-back National League wins at Moss Lane on Saturday, as both Toby Edser and Chike Kandi scored their first competitive goals for the club in a 2-1 victory over Altrincham FC. On Tuesday evening, Danny Searle’s men, who moved up to 11th place following Saturday’s win, return to the EBB Stadium to take on 4th placed Maidenhead United.
Rob Worrall previews the game:
Searle acted quickly last week to strengthen his squad with an ever-growing injury list. In addition to Lewis Kinsella’s long term MCL injury, which will keep him side-lined until Spring 2021, The Shots are now without: Alex Finney (hamstring), skipper Jamie Sendles-White (calf), Craig Tanner (TBC) and Ross McCormack (Achilles). Top scorer Mo Bettamer is still away on international duty with Libya.
Incoming at the EBB Stadium last week were; Wycombe Wanderers Centre Back Giles Phillips, Winger Joseph Hungbo (Watford) and Forward Mike Fondop, who was unattached and joins on a short-term contract.
Name: Maidenhead United
Nickname: The Magpies
Manager: Alan Devonshire
Stadium: York Road
2019/20 National League position: 22nd (21st on PPG)
Current National League position: 4th
Magpies boss Alan Devonshire is an experienced manager, now deep into 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. After over 350 appearances with the club he departed for the final two years of his playing career at Second Division Watford. In 1996, he took charge of Maidenhead United and had a successful reign at the club. He won promotion from the Isthmian League Division One in 2000 and won 4 Berks & Bucks Senior Cups. He also won the Isthmian Full Members Cup (1997) and made 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, finished runners-up in the Conference South (2009) but lost in the play-offs. Previously, he won promotion from the Isthmian League Division One South & the Isthmian Premier Division (2007). Devonshire took over as Braintree 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 in 2015. Two years later he steered them to the National League South title and a twelfth-place finish in their first season in the National League. Since then they have battled hard to stay in Non-League’s top tier, coming dangerously close to relegation last season, when, despite finishing in 22nd place, they survived by the slightest of margins on PPG.
Perhaps the key departure from York Road in the close season was that of top scorer Danny Whitehall. 4 players chose to leave York Road, including Striker Jake Cassidy, who moved to York City. 7 others were released, including Goalkeeper Chris Dunn and Winger Shamir Fenelon.
Devonshire retained 9 players from last season’s playing squad and these included, Seth Twumasi, Alan Massey, Josh Smile, Josh Kelly and Ryan Upward.
There are 12 new ‘Magpies’ this season and the most eye-catching arrival was the returning Sam Barrett for a second spell, after spending time in the EFL at Southend United. Barrett has ‘hit the ground running’ this term and is currently the club’s top scorer with 9 goals to date. Shaun Donnellan and Manny Parry both joined from Woking, Winger Dan Sparkes (Barnet) Nathan Blissett (Solihull Moors) and Danilo Orsi-Dadomo (Hampton & Richmond Borough) are perhaps the pick of the other new arrivals at York Road.
The Magpies form has turned on its head in recent weeks. After losing their first 3 National League games this season, they have since won the next five, including a ‘come from behind’ 2-1 win at Chesterfield on Saturday.
Tuesday evening’s referee is Daniel Middleton who has refereed 2 National League matches so far this season, showing 4 Yellow Cards and 1 Red Card to date. Including last season, Middleton has sent off 7 (seven) players in his last 7 National League matches.
The match will be streamed and available on ‘Shots TV Live’ with Presenter Mark Butler, Match Commentator Rob Worrall and they will be joined by Special Guests; Alex Finney and Lewis Kinsella.