Fleet 3-1 Maidenhead United

It was the Godden & Parkes show at Stonebridge Road as the pair conjured up three clinical conversions to treat the Fleet fans to another win in this marvellous start to their season.

Fleet welcomed John Paul Kissock back to the starting line-up at the expense of Robbie Willmott but that was the only change as the home side sought to stop the steady supply of crosses from Maidenhead’s talented wide duo of Dave Tarpey and Harry Pritchard.

And the visitors almost caught Fleet on the hop inside the opening minute when striker Ben Wright outmanoeuvred Kenny Clark on the wing and crossed low into the box for Tarpey to draw a save at close range from Brandon Hall.

Fleet attempted to get their passing game going but were thwarted by an eager Maidenhead side who were quick to chase down the ball and close up any spaces for the home midfield to get going. Indeed Fleet’s defence was a little unnerved and a couple of short passes almost put in Hall in trouble, while Kieron Forbes lashed a low shot just past the post on the quarter-hour mark.

That was the point at which Fleet got some rhythm going and on 18 minutes they were ahead. A floated free-kick from the left flank by Parkes was perfectly weighted to reach Godden at the far post and he sent the ball beyond Carl Pentney.

The goal settled the Fleet and they quickly got on top of Maidenhead. The visitors did go close with a free-kick that Hall did well to stop and then gather as Ben Wright loomed looking for a second ball. But Fleet immediately went on the attack and a good move saw Godden force Pentney into a save, while Parkes blasted another chance over from the middle of the box.

Parkes had better luck with his next chance on 31 minutes. Matt Fish, who was getting forward at every opportunity, made up the ground down the right flank and his cross was pushed out by Pentney but straight into the path of the lurking Parkes who, in the right place at the right time once more, gratefully scooped the ball into the net for 2-0.

Now Fleet really got their passing game going and it was neat, one-touch football from side to side as they gave Maidenhead the runaround, Rance’s delicate holding play working well with Kissock’s drive and Stuart Lewis’s running. With Fish and Joe Howe overlapping down either flank, Fleet fans were expecting a third goal before half-time but the closest they came was seven minutes before the break, Howe’s supply from the left creating something of a scramble in the six-yard box that the visitors eventually cleared.

Leading two-nil going into the break was a reversal of the situation the week before against Whitehawk, but Maidenhead almost performed their own Fleet-like revival in the second half. And like the Fleet the previous week, they made a double substitution on the restart. One of those replacements, Sam Barratt cut inside straight from the kick-off to curl in a powerful shot that Hall only just grasped.

It was the signal for a sustained period of Maidenhead ascendancy and Fleet looked rather lacklustre after their heroics of the first half. Gradually the visitors started to fancy their chances and on 58 minutes, Tarpey was afforded space on the right side of the box to receive a pass and fire a well-directed shot past Hall.

Two minutes later, Wright had two good chances to equalise but saw Kissock intercept his first chance and then Clark get in the way of the second as Fleet began to look distinctly unsteady.

Tarpey really should have made it 2-2 on 64 minutes when Tom Bonner’s half-clearance fell to Forbes who slipped it wide to Tarpey in a similar position to his earlier goal but he lashed it over the bar, possibly with a little help from Brandon Hall’s fingertips, much to Fleet’s relief.

Daryl McMahon had seen enough and immediately readied his substitutes but there was no break in play for several minutes – and that proved a blessing for the Fleet as the two players to be sacrificed sealed the victory.

It was another Parkes free-kick, again floated to the far post and again met by Godden whose header made it 3-1 and, more crucially, knocked the stuffing out of the Magpies.

Godden and Parkes immediately made way for the two substitutes and Fleet regained the initiative, their passing game again to the fore. Dean Rance sent a shot just wide and Matt Fish managed to run two-thirds of the length of the pitch only to be denied as he got into the box. Substitute Adam Cunnington had a header well saved too as Fleet, in the end, coasted to victory against a Maidenhead side who saw manager Alan Devonshire depart pitchside at the request of the referee.

EUFC: Hall, Fish, Howe, S Lewis, Clark, Bonner, Rance, Parkes (Willmott 69), Kedwell (Cunnington 79), Godden (Haynes 69), Kissock. Subs not used: Miles, Acheampong
MUFC: Pentney, Nisbett, Forbes, Upward (Walters 83), Massey, Inman, Tarpey, Mulley (Jenkinson 46), Reid (Barrett 46), Wright, Pritchard. Subs not used: Ferguson, Steer
Attendance: 1,016


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