Maidenhead back on the coat-tails of rivals following first win since October 9

Matt Heller

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Maidenhead's men's 1sts picked up their first league win since October 9 to move back to within touching distance of the sides just above them in the table.

A series of poor results had seen Phil Cowell's side slide down the South Central Men's Premier Division 1 table ahead of Saturday's trip to bottom of the table Milton Keynes, and defeat would have left them propping up the rest of the table heading into the long Christmas and new year break.

However, a side packed with quality, if not quantity, was able to secure a much-needed 4-2 win with the goals coming from Matt Heller (two) and Sam Richardson (two). The win moves them onto eight points from nine matches and to within a couple of points of a clutch of teams just above them in the table. They'll return to league action at one of those clubs, seventh-placed Staines 1sts, when the league resumes on Saturday, January 15.

“It was really good to finally get another win on the board again,” said Cowell. “Going into Christmas with another loss and sitting bottom of the table would have been tough on morale. But this has dragged us back up to those next four teams around us.”

Cowell picked out a few players who made notable contributions in Saturday’s win.

“We were better than them really. I think they had 16 players, but they’ve lost eight players through the COVID period, and it’s affected them. We were the better team and deserved the win. It would have been nice to stick a few more goals in but the three points was all that mattered on the day.

“Matt Heller got two and Sam Richardson got two. Sam played pre-season with us but then picked up an injury. He’s played a few games for the 2s while he’s been coming back. But he played really well at the weekend and got man of the match. It’s like having a new player, he’s a poacher and knows where the goal is.

“For Matt to get back on the scoresheet is good for his confidence as well. We also had Dave Harding back as well, after he had COVID and missed four games in a row. He makes a real difference, he’s such a classy player.”

He added: It just shows that if we take a full 1st team, we can get results and with players to return from injury, it's positive for the second half of the season.

“It's going to be a busy first few weeks back. Hopefully we can keep up some fitness over Christmas, I know it’s easier said than done with drinking and eating and everything, but Rohit, our coach, has laid down the law and said we need to be doing some running.

“We have to improve. I wouldn't say there's any team in this league that we can't beat with our full squad. It's just about improving our availability and hopefully we don't pick up any injuries.”

Maidenhead Women's 1st team are also progressing nicely in South Central Women's Premier Division 1, even though their winning streak was ended by a 0-0 draw at home to Fareham. The result leaves them fifth in the table ahead of their return to league action at home to Marlow on January 15.

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