07:00PM, Wednesday 07 April 2021
After three successive league defeats Maidenhead United no longer look like one of the dark horses for promotion to the Football League, but forward Sam Barratt believes it’s still possible for results to snowball for them in a positive way if the players keep believing and keep working hard.
Impressive home wins over Chesterfield and Torquay United, rivals for a top seven spot, took the Magpies to the brink of the play-off places with matches in hand last month.
But successive defeats to Altrincham, Weymouth and Eastleigh, all by a narrow one-goal margin and where the rub of the green seemed to go against Alan Devonshire’s men, has stalled their promotion challenge and left them with very little margin for error if they are to drag themselves back into contention.
Barratt and his teammates believe that’s still possible, and with 15 matches left to play and games in hand over all of the sides above them, he’s hopeful the real Maidenhead United will stand up in the coming weeks.
“It’s been tough to take,” said Barratt. “We were hoping to kick on and push for the play-offs following those matches against Chesterfield and Torquay, but it hasn’t quite worked out like that.
“But there are so many games left that if we can get a couple of wins, hopefully it will snowball from there.
“Those wins against Chesterfield and Torquay got everyone excited, and maybe we did think ahead a bit too much. But we’ve still got 15 games left, a third of the season left.
“There’s plenty to play for if we can find our form again and start picking up the results that we’ve managed to get throughout the season.
“There’s more than enough time, we’ve just got to believe, keep working hard and play the way we know we can get results.”
The Magpies management team could argue they deserved to get something from each of their defeats to Altrincham (1-0) last week, Weymouth (2-1) on Friday and Eastleigh
(1-0) on Monday, however, Devonshire is wise enough to see that although decisions had gone against his side, performances haven’t been good enough.
Against Weymouth the dismissal of Manny Parry changed the course of the game and saw the home side battle back to claim victory in the dying minutes. They were also worn down by Eastleigh on Monday, the winner coming from Ben House in the 86th minute after Josh Coley deservedly received his marching orders for kicking out at Andrew Boyce midway through the second half.
“Friday was a tough one,” added Barratt. “Decisions didn’t go our way and it killed us in that game. In my eyes they didn’t have too much of a goal threat, even after we had a man sent off, so it was frustrating to walk away without any points.
“We knew Eastleigh would be tough, but we didn’t reach our standards, especially attacking wise. It wasn’t the smartest of red cards for Josh, but I’m sure he’ll hold his hands up to that.
“A mistake then led to the goal and we’ve got to cut out these lapses in concentration because you get punished by the better sides.
“But we’ll keep grinding and try to turn around this run of form.”
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