Maidenhead United 1-1 Fleet

The Fleet kept their unbeaten run going and their ability to perform a comeback, too, as Luke Coulson’s well-taken 50th minute equaliser cancelled out Harry Pritchard’s first half looping effort.

In a match with a little less hype surrounding it than the previous such occasion here at York Road, Daryl McMahon opted for Aaron McLean up front while Andy Drury made way for Jack Powell in the middle.

Maidenhead looked keen to set Dave Tarpey on his way early on and within the first three minutes he had bustled his way into the box to earn his side a corner and then fired a free-kick over from a good position. The home side were eagerly about their task and Yado Mambo had to get a head on to a mid-height delivery into the Fleet box as the Magpies forced a number of corners.

On eight minutes Nathan Ashmore was out well to a delivery over the Fleet defence that Tarpey seemed set to latch on to and five minutes after that, the Fleet goalkeeper was glad to see the Maidenhead hotshot fail to get a proper connection on a ball to feet on the edge of the six-yard box and it rolled conveniently towards Ashmore’s waiting arms.

Fleet mustered a few counter-attacks and Myles Weston got an effort on target but it was easily caught by Carl Pentney. On 21 minutes, a James Comley cross to the far post was met on the volley by Pritchard but he skied it over the bar before McLean got clear as Fleet broke at the other end but his quick one-two with Coulson saw a shot pulled wide of the post.

Maidenhead were certainly enjoying a territorial advantage and with Fleet sitting a little deep, the Magpies pressed on and took the lead on 26 minutes. From a corner, Maidenhead played the ball back out to the right for Pritchard and his searching cross to the far post from 25 yards seemed to catch the breeze and loop wildly over Ashmore into the top corner.

The home should have extended that lead two minutes later when Sean Marks fired a shot on target in a packed box and Ashmore got a hand to it and then somehow recovered to despatch Jake Goodman’s follow-up to safety.

That signalled a let-up for the Fleet defence and the visitors clamped down in midfield, cutting off the supply line to the Maidenhead strikers. Coulson almost fashioned an unlikely equaliser when his searching cross evaded the centre backs and dropped for Weston at the far post but with a tight angle, the Fleet winger was unable to guide past Pentney.

But Fleet are nothing if not well versed in the art of the comeback and the second half was only five minutes old when they produced another one. Powell supplied a ball upfield for Coulson on the left who allowed Ryan Peters to bounce off him before easing clear and slotting a shot past Pentney.

The visitors were much perkier in the second half and much more adventurous going forwards, with Coulson bright in his support of the strikers. Pritchard struck a good shot into the advertising hoardings before Weston sped upfield on the break and supplied McLean but the Fleet forward’s shot hammered into the ground which rather took the sting out of it.

The Fleet midfield was much more fluent and began to thread some nice moves through the middle of the park, though Comley and Pritchard in particular for the home side were having a growing influence on the game which kept it finely balanced.

Mambo headed a Powell free-kick just over and Darren McQueen, on for McLean, saw a goalbound shot blocked from 10 yards as Fleet tried to grab a winner. But the visitors had to withstand an amount of pressure in the final 10 minutes and Ashmore had to be alert to tip a Harold Odametey cross over as it threatened to dip beneath the bar and then he punched clear another delivery from Comley as Fleet fought hard in the final third.

Sam Magri made several timely interventions in the box and even when Jack Connors limped off injured to force Fleet to play with 10 men, the red wall held firm to earn Fleet another point, albeit a rather less heartstopping one than those of recent times!

EUFC: Ashmore, McCoy, Connors, Mambo, Magri, Weston (Mills 85), Payne (Drury 74), Powell, Coulson, Kedwell, McLean (McQueen 70). Subs not used: Miles, Shields
MUFC: Pentney,Kilman, Peters, Massey, Goodman (Inman 77) Odametey, Comley, Pritchard, Upward, Tarpey (Hyde 74), Marks (Clifton 88). Subs not used: Barratt, Mulley
Attendance: 1,628 (223 away)


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