03:00PM, Thursday 14 October 2021
Reece Smith. Photo: George Tewkesbury
Maidenhead United haven’t won in eight matches and their early season promise has stalled badly in recent weeks, but manager Alan Devonshire feels some of the criticism that’s been dished out to his players in recent weeks has been unjustified.
Yes, Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Altrincham wasn’t one of their best of the season, but, no, he doesn't think the home side ‘could have scored five or six goals’ as some have suggested.
An even first half gave way to a much more passive second half display, and Altrincham, who’ve found form at the J Davidson Stadium in recent weeks won the game with goals from Matty Kosylo and Tom Peers, emulating their 2-0 home win over the Magpies from last season.
United’s goalkeeper Rhys Lovett was named man-of-the-match by many observers, a backhanded compliment if ever there was one, but, while Devonshire accepted the second half display wasn’t up to scratch, he felt the reaction to the defeat has been ‘over the top’.
“The first half on Saturday was very even,” said Devonshire.
“The second half we didn’t play that great, but I wouldn’t say it was our most disappointing display.
“It’s a bit over the top when people are saying it could have been three, four or five. Well, it couldn’t have been because they only had five shots in the whole game. I was a bit disappointed with the reports to be fair.”
There are mitigating factors for the side’s eight game winless run.
This summer they saw two or three of their most talented players move on, not that Maidenhead stood much of a chance of keeping them at York Road, with Danilo Orsi-Dadomo and Josh Coley progressing to play in the Football League. Some of those who have come in are still finding their feet at the club, but Devonshire firmly believes he and the coaching team can strike the right balance between attack and defence and find a system that produces results.
“We couldn’t keep hold of Danilo (Orsi) and Josh (Coley), they’ve gone into the league, and we can’t give players the deals we want to sometimes,” he added. “We’ve got a structure that we can’t break, so we do what we can.
“These are the circumstances behind players moving on and, at the end of the day, we’re not going to stand in their way. But the way it’s put, it’s like we’ve let them go which isn’t what happened.
“It just ain’t happening for us at the moment. But I’ve always said this league is like that. You can go without a win for 10 matches and then suddenly win three in a row. We’ve had a lot of injuries, we’ve had sending offs that have cost us in games, we’ve got one of the lowest budgets in the league and you can’t keep doing miracles.
“There are reasons behind certain things. But we need to be positive. We’re going through a bad run, I know that. We lost 6-0 and then 7-0 a few years back and had a bad time but we turned things around and hopefully we’ll do the same now.”
There were fairly few positives to take from Saturday’s defeat and Devonshire admits Hastings United of the Isthmian League South East Division will be fancying their chances of an FA Cup upset when the sides meet in the fourth qualifying round at York Road on Saturday. Jay Mingi, signed on a month’s loan from Portsmouth, is expected to come straight back into the side after serving a suspension following his red card in the goalless draw at Yeovil Town.
“They’ve won eight in eight and they’ve got players who have played in the league,” added Devonshire. “We haven’t won in eight so they will probably come here fancying their chances.
“It will be a leveller, but we need to step up and do what we need to do. A win would help, of course it would.
“We’ve got to roll our sleeves up, we know we’re not playing well at the moment but the only way through it is hard work.”
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.