Getting to know the opposition: Maidenhead United

Getting to know the opposition: Maidenhead United

Three days on from the 4-1 victory against Barnet, the Spireites are back on the road this evening to face Maidenhead United at York Road. 

Key Information:
Manager: Alan Devonshire
Founded: 1870
Nickname: The Magpies
Capacity: 4,000 (550 seated)

The hosts for this midweek encounter in Berkshire are currently struggling for form. In their last nine outings, Maidenhead have picked up just one win. During the same run of games, the club have conceded 26 goals, including the seven that FC Halifax Town managed to score in the infamous 7-4 FA Cup win back in November.

Despite their sticky run of form as of late, the Magpies are unbeaten in their last five games against Chesterfield. The head-to-head record heavily favours Alan Devonshire’s men, as Maidenhead have become something of a bogey team for the Spireites, after picking up four wins and a draw from the last five meetings with Chesterfield.

Looking specifically into the last time these two met, Maidenhead came away with a 2-0 victory. Playing in front of the York Road supporters in March 2021, Nathan Blissett opened the scoring after 20 minutes before Daniel Sparks doubled their lead in the second half.  

Whilst James Rowe’s men remain favourites to come away with the three points from this encounter, the recent history certainly favours the home side who have only dropped points once in the last five meetings with the Spireites.

Maidenhead United’s Season:

ClubLeague PositionWinsDrawsLossesGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Maidenhead United20th5411213919

This season, the Magpies have had a sincerely underwhelming start by collecting only five wins from the opening 20 fixtures. Their poor start to the season means that Maidenhead sit only four points above the relegation zone. Only Weymouth, King’s Lynn Town, and Dover Athletic have a worse record from the first half of the season. 

In terms of the goals conceded this season, the club have the fifth worst defensive record. Out of the teams who sit above Maidenhead in the league, only 16th placed Altrincham have a leakier defence (43).  

Offensively, their 21 goals means that they are the joint second worst for the Vanarama National League. Joint with Wealdstone, only King’s Lynn and Dover have scored fewer goals, with 19 each. Whilst goals have been hard to come by, they have at predominantly been split across three players. Forward Josh Kelly leads the way with six goals to his name, as former Peterborough United striker Kane Ferdinand and 26-year-old Sam Barratt also have five goals for the season. Across the rest of the squad, only five other players have scored this season. 

Last Five Games 

Maidenhead UnitedResultChesterfield FCResult
Aldershot Town (A)1-1 (D)Barnet FC (A)1-4 (W)
Bromley FC (H)1-0 (W)Chelsea FC (H)
Emirates FA Cup Third Round
5-1 (L)
Solihull Moors (H)0-4 (L)King’s Lynn Town FC (H)1-0 (H)
Southend United (A)1-1 (D)FC Halifax Town (H)1-1 (D)
Barnet FC (A)3-0 (L)Grimsby Town (A)0-1 (W)

Maidenhead’s disappointing start to the campaign is made worse knowing that they finished in a comfortable 13thplace last time around. The club have been in the division since earning promotion from the Vanarama National League South in 2017. Since the promotion, the club have been building the foundations to become a regular in England’s fifth tier, which has been highlighted by their performance during the 2020/21 campaign. 

Reflecting on an impressive mid-table finish last season, the Magpies finished 13 points below the play-off’s but a remarkable 25 points above those who would have suffered relegation, had COVID-19 not intervened. 

In the attempts to overturn a difficult patch of form, Maidenhead have a real challenge on their hands to benefit from what is a ruthless run of games that are lined up. After tonight’s game, the club will also face the test of FC Halifax Town, Stockport County and Wrexham. As the Spireites and Halifax occupy the top two positions in the division, the latter clubs sit in seventh and eighth respectively, in the hope to solidify a spot in the play-offs. 

By Sam Plummer