09:15PM, Saturday 23 October 2021
Sam Barratt gave York Road a photo finish. Image: George Tewkesbury
Maidenhead United 3, Woking 2
Sam Barratt’s last-minute header earned Maidenhead United their first victory in nine National League games, the Magpies winning 3-2 against Woking in front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday evening.
Alan Devonshire’s side twice recovered from a losing position to emerge victorious in this encounter with Joe McNerney’s dismissal just before the hour mark – for a foul on Kane Ferdinand – beneficial to their cause.
At full-time, the Magpies boss admitted: “It did change the game. We’ve been red-carded this season, and we know how it makes a game difficult. But today, we ended up winning, and I’m delighted.”
The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute when Inih Effiong rose the highest from Max Kretzschmar’s free kick and nodded the ball over the oncoming Rhys Lovett. Penalty cries came five minutes later when Kretzschmar fell to the floor, but referee Daniel Middleton wasn’t interested.
A strong hand by Lovett denied Effiong from doubling Woking’s advantage before Barratt was able to bring the game level down the other end, volleying Sam Beckwith’s cross home in the 38th minute from the edge of the box.
Capitalising on some disorganised defending, McNerney smashed away a second goal at the back post for his manager Alan Dowson in the 51st minute. Following the goal, Maidenhead reverted to route one football, but it was mostly unprofitable.
That was until Ferdinand was presented with a goal-scoring opportunity before colliding with McNerney, the last man in defence for Woking. As a result, the visitors’ number five – after finding his feet – was shown the red card.
With their tails up, the Magpies went on to dictate the second half with substitute Reece Smith confidently striking a side-footed volley on target after being picked out on the left side of the field by Barratt.
In the 75th minute, Josh Kelly curled a sumptuous strike past ‘keeper Ross to restore parity yet again for the home side and set up a thrilling final 15 minutes of normal time. In search of a winner, Emile Acquah went close first with a nodded effort, before Smith struck a fierce effort that only Ross could parry.
Eventually, their determination bore fruitful when Barratt – amongst a mass of bodies – flicked Dan Sparkes’ corner into the back of the net, a photo finish for those at York Road or cheering on from home.
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.