Photo: Grace Scott
Maidenhead United 2, Eastbourne Borough 1
Maidenhead United showed they are ready for the FA Cup on Saturday with an impressive performance against Eastbourne Borough in the competition’s fourth qualifying round.
Goals from defender Will De Havilland and striker Emile Acquah settled that tie at York Road as the arrival of Jake Hutchinson proved to be only consolation for Sports.
For manager Alan Devonshire, it was a “job well done” by his men.
“We reached the next round quite comfortably today,” he said full-time.
“It could have been a banana peel for us and there are a few National League Southern teams that beat National League teams this afternoon.
“I’m happy with how we did. It was a job well done. Hopefully we’ll have another great draw at home afterwards.
De Havilland scored for the Magpies for the first time in the 22nd minute, ducking down to nod in the cross from Charlee Adams.
Acquah was also able to find the back of the net with his head, guiding Ashley Nathaniel-George’s precise and quick delivery past Lee Worgan in the 49th minute.
The contest was designed to look more even than it did when Hutchinson pushed the ball in from a corner in added time.
Magpies boss Devonshire had promised a strong line-up ahead of kick-off in a conscious effort to advance to the first round proper.
And that’s what the home support testified to, with Sam Barratt taking his place on the wing and lifting the fans from their seats within the opening 10 minutes.
Following a corner which gave nothing, the number 7 of the Magpies recovered the ball before screwing it just off the frame.
Eastbourne managed to smother De Havilland in the 14th minute when he looked to shoot from inside the box.
With great cunning, Ashley Nathaniel-George opened up space for himself to shoot next, the contour line effort narrowly off target.
Given the chances they had, it was no surprise to see the Magpies take the lead.
Barratt could have doubled the home side’s advantage immediately after De Havilland’s opener, however, had he put less power on his attempt from the right wing.
De Havilland finds himself with the ball once again in a favorable position before the half-hour mark but unfortunately misses his shot.
The closest chance the visitors have recorded in the first half came from James Hammond who hooked a shot into the wrong side of the near post after Kai Woolard-Innocent’s cross in the 36th minute.
There was no letting up in intensity after the interval by the Magpies and, as a reward, they found themselves 2-0 down in just four minutes.
Spectators may argue amongst themselves over whether or not the goal was scored by Acquah or sporting defender Bradley Barry, but the former certainly deserved it for his work leading up to this point.
Idris Odutayo was in the right place at the right time to stop Shiloh Remy moments later and another good backline defense from the home side kept Sports out before the hour mark.
Barratt and Arthur were guilty of complicating things too much in the final third as it looked like the Magpies were in for a third goal in the 71st minute.
Dan Gyollai’s most notable save came in the 75th minute as he slumped to grab Remy’s shot.
The stopper was brought back into action again 60 seconds later as Sports began to increase the pressure.
Such a surge from the visitors was well suppressed and well managed by Devonshire, however, as he turned to his bench and made a number of substitutions.
A lack of focus can be attributed to the Magpies concession, with Richie Watkins’ whistle ending the game shortly after.
Maidenhead United will discover their next opponents in the tournament on Monday 17 October.