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Match Reports

Notts 3-0 Maidenhead

A fantastic festive afternoon at the Lane

26 December 2019

An excellent first-half performance set the tone as we comprehensively beat Maidenhead United on Boxing Day.

Kyle Wootton headed home the opener after a bright start, before Sam Osborne marked his first league start since October by wonderfully finishing an exceptional team move to make it two inside half an hour.

Kristian Dennis also marked his return to the XI in style when he netted our third just before the break and we never looked like relinquishing the advantage as we secured our first home win since October. 

The side showed four changes from the weekend success at FC Halifax Town, with Dion Kelly-Evans also handed a start, while Sam Slocombe shook off the injury that kept him out at the Shay to regain his place between the sticks. 

That meant Ross Fitzsimons, Richard Brindley and Wes Thomas had to settle for places on the bench, with Sean Shields absent altogether from the squad after reporting a tight hamstring earlier in the week.

We started brightly, with Enzio Boldewijn, who lined up on the left wing, driving down the channel before winning a corner in the second minute. Connell Rawlinson flicked the set piece towards goal, but a host of Maidenhead players got in the way and, despite shouts for handball, the visitors cleared.

Moments later, Dennis had his first sniff of a chance after latching onto a ball over the top from Damien McCrory. He miscued his volleyed effort, though.

Maidenhead showed their threat on six minutes, when Josh Kelly got in behind the defence. Slocombe came out to meet him and forced him to turn backwards before retreating to his goalline but Remy Clerima picked up possession and was brought down just outside the area by Mitch Rose, who went into the book. James Comley put the free-kick wide from a great position and the danger passed.

Rose sent a deflected long-range effort narrowly wide before Kelly-Evans made a fine defensive header to disrupt a dangerous attack from Alan Devonshire's side, and McCrory fired off target from the edge of the box as an entertaining opening quarter-of-an-hour drew to a close.

We were in command of proceedings and took the lead our start deserved on 20 minutes. Once again, Wootton was the man to make the breakthrough, meeting Boldewijn's corner with a towering header to register his third of the week and 12th of the season.

Alex Lacey thought he might mark his home debut by doubling the advantage shortly afterwards, but Maidenhead smuggled the ball clear after a corner had broke kindly for the centre half.

We did go two to the good inside the opening half-hour, though, with an exceptional goal. The visitors weren't giving us any time in possession but we beat the press thanks to McCrory's fine ball inside to Michael Doyle, who in turn released Kelly-Evans on the right flank. The full back's perfectly weighted pass set Osborne in behind and the winger checked inside before striking across goal and giving Chris Dunn no chance of keeping him out.

Shortly after Jake Cassidy, our former striker, called Slocombe into action, the youngster could have doubled his tally, but his effort from the edge of the box was deflected wide, with the keeper a bystander. 

And, just before two minutes of added time were indicated, our excellent first-half display was given extra gloss. Boldewijn registered his second assist of the afternoon by crossing low after a fine run down the right wing, and Dennis was there with the first-time finish to send Meadow Lane into raptures and take his tally for the season into double figures. 

Devonshire's response to a nightmare first half was to send top scorer Daniel Whitehall on for defender Aron Davies and Josh Smile on in place of Ryheem Sheckleford. Neal Ardley made no changes on our part.

Dennis went close to his second of the afternoon on 50 minutes, but his deflected effort from 20 yards went narrowly wide of the mark, before Cassidy sent a shot just over Slocombe's crossbar after doing well to hold off a couple of defenders.

Whitehall gave an indicator of why he leads United's goal-scoring charts on 59 minutes, when he bent the ball just wide of the target with a first-time strike.

We were patiently probing for a fourth, and it looked like it might have came when Boldewijn's fine work on the right flank led to him sending a low ball across the goalmouth, but Maidenhead managed to clear.

Wootton and Rose were withdrawn with 19 to play, with Thomas and Tom Crawford sent on to the field.

Cassidy looked in the mood to mark his return to the Lane with a goal and when Rawlinson's block on his shot sent the ball looping towards Slocombe's net, he might have thought he'd have it. However, it landed on the roof, much to the relief of the bulk of the 5,129 in attendance. 

Dennis was left ruing a fine defensive header which kept him from doubling his tally on 77 minutes, when his curling shot looked to have beaten Dunn but was diverted clear. 

The 100 who made the trip from Berkshire were desperate for something to cheer, but Seth Twumasi could only shoot wide after receiving the ball in space on 84 minutes. 

Pierce Bird replaced Boldewijn with three left of the 90, and McCrory flashed an effort narrowly wide shortly afterwards.

Three minutes were added on for stoppages, during which Whitehall shot over from 20 yards, but our second league win on the spin was never in doubt. 

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