Devonshire happy to see Magpies finally get the rub of the green to beat York – Photo 1 of 1
Alan Devonshire feels Maidenhead United finally got the green they deserve as the Magpies beat league rivals York City 2-1 at the LNER Community Stadium on Saturday.
Devonshire believe there have been many poor decisions made against his side in recent weeks, which has contributed to their seven-game winless run in the league. However, they benefited from some generous decisions and a robust goalkeeping performance from Alexis Andre Jr. to win 2-1, with Ashley Nathaniel-George scoring in the first half after excellent work from Reece Smith to set it up to set up Cole Kpekawa’s deflected free-kick they took a two-goal lead just before the hour mark.
Most of the 4,000+ fans at the LNER Community Stadium will debate whether the free kick that Kpekawa took home should have been awarded to the visitors at all. A frantic Minstermen defender saw the ball hook back to keeper Ryan Whitley and when he picked it up the referee ruled it was a back pass and awarded the Magpies an indirect free kick right inside the box.
Smith rolled the ball back for Kpekawa to leather home with the help of a sizeable deflection – another bit of luck for the Magpies – but Devonshire felt the visitors fully deserved their victory.
It was the first in the league since November 19, when Eastleigh were defeated 2-1 at York Road, well before most Magpies fans had even thought about Christmas.
Despite the win, United are just six points above the National League relegation zone thanks to victories at the weekend for Gateshead and Torquay and the Gulls’ subsequent 1-1 draw at Woking on Tuesday night. They will now look to build on Saturday’s win when they attend the promotion hunt against Bromley at Hayes Lane on Saturday afternoon, kick-off at 3pm.
Devonshire said: “We haven’t had much luck lately and on Saturday we got what we deserved. We played well so I’m happy and we’ll move on to the next one. It was a team effort; Victory wasn’t just for individuals. We played well as a team, defended up front, played well at the back. I will not single out anyone because everyone has contributed.
“Listen, Alexis did well. At the end of the day, he’s neither number one nor number two. Whoever is playing well at the moment keeps the jersey.
“That’s what matters, and that goes for all 11 players. Dan (Gyollai) is not hurt, no.”
The season could still go in one of two directions if the Magpies gain momentum to put themselves back in the playoffs or get dragged back into a relegation battle. However, Devonshire are only concerned about the next few games and putting as many points on the board as they can.
He added: “The goal is to get as many points on the board as quickly as possible. We’ll see where we are after five games.
“Let’s see how we run in the next few games, see how many points we get and then reevaluate.”
A positive week on the field was not without controversy, however, as the Magpies opted to withdraw from the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup due to games being overloaded due to inclement weather and their continued involvement in the FA Trophy. Marlow was sent off to the quarter-finals where they will visit Hungerford Town from the National League South.
Some Magpies fans would no doubt have liked to see the Magpies fulfill the game against one of their oldest foes, but most will understand that the club prioritize surviving in the league and the FA Trophy.
In the Trophy, they now host league rivals FC Halifax Town at York Road on Saturday (11 February) after the Shaymen scraped past Harrow Borough on penalties on Tuesday night. Explaining the club’s decision to withdraw from the County Cup rather than play some of their academy players, Devonshire said: ‘What’s the point of putting them out there?
“We have a couple of good academy players that we’ve had on the bench or played elsewhere but we can’t risk the injuries, I’m sorry.
“It’s a risk to play those extra games. If we played on Tuesday and progressed, we were told that we would have to play the next round on February 14th. If we did that, it meant we would play eight games in eight weeks. It’s too much, it’s just too much. I did what was best for the club and the players. I’m not too concerned about that (the FA Trophy game) at the moment either. I’ll take a closer look at that. I’m just concentrating on the Bromley game right now.
“It’s going to be a tough game, they’re in the playoffs and they’re a good team. We only have a few small shots from York but I don’t think it’s anything too serious. One or two might be missing, but other than that we should be fine.”