Josh sees red in Spitfires defeat
Maidenhead United: Forward's red card for retaliatory kick hands Eastleigh initiative to go on and claim narrow victory
Maidenhead United 0, Eastleigh 1
Maidenhead United’s play-off charge was dealt another serious blow as they were beaten 1-0 by Eastleigh at York Road on Monday.
A late goal by Ben House condemned the Magpies to a second defeat in just three days, after Friday’s defeat at Weymouth, and the Magpies finished this fixture with 10 men once again after Josh Coley was dismissed in the 66th minute.
This was also their third straight loss in the National League and, although their play-off hopes haven't been completely extinguished it does leave them with very little margin for error if they are to force their way back into contention.
Alan Devonshire’s men are now 14th in the table, level on points with Solihull Moors and Yeovil Town, but they still have games in hand on many of their rivals above them in the table.
United were without a few key players for this afternoon’s clash with midfielders
James Comley and Rohan Ince absent from the squad. Comley played at Weymouth after flying home from international duty with Montserrat, but he wasn't fit enough to make Monday's squad. Defender Manny Parry was
a welcome addition to the lineup, however, after seeing his red card from a fair if robust challenge on Weymouth's Pierre Fonkeu in Friday’s clash rescinded.
Maidenhead began the brighter of the two teams and tested their visitors’ defence inside 10 minutes after a George Wells free kick was headed across goal by Nathan Blissett only for it to be hacked away by Pierce Bird.
Blissett registered the Magpies’ first shot on goal five minutes later, but his side-footed effort at the far post was too tame to trouble Joe McDonnell between the sticks. The remainder of the half passed by with little action as both teams struggled to pose any danger in the area.
Maidenhead came out after the break on their toes as Coley danced into the box with ease before his effort was deflected wide for a corner. Parry rose highest from the following Dan Sparkes cross but could only flick the ball over the woodwork.
A Jack Payne corner troubled the Magpies just before the hour, his cross neatly dropping inside the six-yard box. But with no Eastleigh attacker present, captain Alan Massey was able to clear away the danger.
Five minutes later, Coley saw red after he
kicked out at Andrew Boyce as the men wrestled one another to the ground. The sending off was the winger’s second of the season and forced the Magpies to play with 10 men for the remaining half an hour.
A series of substitutions were made by both Devonshire and Eastleigh manager Ben Strevens next as a way to accommodate the absence in midfield, and it was the latter whose change proved successful.
With his first touch of the ball, Ben House was able to volley in the game’s only goal with just four minutes of normal time remaining. In front of a dejected Taye AshbyHammond, the travelling Spitfires mobbed the goalscorer and upon the restart were able to hold on for all three points.
W Alan Devonshire admitted Josh Coley’s red card cost Maidenhead United dearly as they fell todefeat against Eastleigh.
Having been largely in control of the second half, boss Devonshire was left hugely frustrated to see his team succumb to another late defeat after Coley’s sending off just past the hour mark.
The Magpies will now have to play four matches without their no.7, and with a growing injury list to boot,
Devonshire will be required to shuffle his pack and rethink tactics if his men are to stay in touch with the play-off contenders.
“That Coley situation has hurt us,” he said. “We were just getting on top, looking okay, and we felt really in control of the game. Then, a stupid reaction has got him sent off and it’s cost us another game. We shot ourselves in the foot because if we had a full XI on the pitch, I think we would’ve won that game with ease.
“It was a rash decision by the kid and something he will have to learn from quickly.”
Devonshire is optimistic James Comley and Rohan Ince will be back to bolster the Maidenhead midfield from this weekend with both players having recently returned from international duty with Montserrat.
“They’ve been the main part of our midfield for a long time now,” said Devonshire. “They went on international duty and Rohan got injured unfortunately. Coms couldn’t play yesterday because he wasn’t fully fit, and probably wasn’t fit enough for Friday in hindsight.
“We didn’t want to take a risk with him against Eastleigh, so that’s why he didn’t play. I like to think they will both be back next week.”