The Bees are on fire at the moment after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Bromley proved to be their fourth win on the bounce meaning they now sit only two points adrift of the play-off places.
Dan Sweeney headed in from close range on 21 minutes to write his name on the scoresheet for the first time in Barnet colours. However, David Tutonda’s dismissal four minutes from time shone a dark light over proceedings but it was short-lived as the Bees managed to hold on to claim maximum points yet again.
The result means Barnet enter tomorrow’s encounter in high spirits as they aim to clinch their fifth consecutive victory and climb further up the table.
It’s been just under 54 years since the Bees last faced Maidenhead with the sides going head-to-head during the 1963-64 Athenian League Premier Division season.
Barnet won the league that year but fell to a 4-2 defeat to a Magpie side who ended the campaign in ninth.
The Bees, who have played in a higher division than Maidenhead ever since their last meeting, remain winless in their last three games with the Magpies. However, they’ll be hoping to put that behind them when they come face-to-face again tomorrow afternoon.
Manager: Alan Devonshire
After sitting in the Maidenhead dugout throughout some of the best days in the club’s history, it’s no surprise Alan Devonshire is a bit of a fans’ favourite.
The 62-year-old first took charge of the Magpies back in 1996 in a spell which stretched to seven years. During that time, his side put to bed a 27-year silverware drought, winning the Isthmian League Full Members Cup and four Berks & Bucks Senior Cups. His most impressive achievement during his first stab at managing Maidenhead was clinching promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division.
Devonshire left in 2003 but fast forward 12 years and the former midfielder was back in the Magpies’ dugout. He then went on to guide his side to National League South triumph in 2017, recording an impressive 98 points in their title-winning campaign whilst claiming the Manager of the Season award. He then managed to help keep Maidenhead in England’s fifth tier the following season, finishing 12th, only nine points adrift of the playoffs.
Aside from the Magpies, Devonshire also took charge of Hampton & Richmond where he managed to take them from the Isthmian League to the brink of the Conference. He also took charge of Osterley, Brentford Women and Braintree Town during a managerial career that stems back to 1995.
Devonshire is one of the most well-known managers in the division after an impressive playing career. After starting off in the Crystal Palace youth set-up, he went on to play for non-league outfit Southall after failing to break into the Eagles’ first team. The form he showed at the club attracted
interest from big names, with one being West Ham United who became the next team to snap up his signature.
He spent 14 years at the Hammers, making himself a legend at the club. The Maidenhead boss made over 400 appearances for the team and was even part of their triumphant FA Cup side of 1980. His time at West Ham also prompted England to give him the nod and he went on to make eight caps for his country. Devonshire also won the Second Division and became a League Cup runner-up in 1981.
He then moved to Watford in 1990, a team where he would go on to spend two years with. However, in 1992, he decided to drop out of league football to take up the role of a player-coach at non-league side Chippenham Sports.
One to Watch: Josh Kelly
Maidenhead striker Josh Kelly is a promising young talent who will go into tomorrow’s game high on confidence.
After rising through the youth set-up at the Magpies, the forward is starting to make a name for himself in the first team this season, bagging three goals already this term, all coming in his last two matches.
Kelly, who has been at Maidenhead since the age of 15, spent last season on loan at Walton Casuals and it’s safe to say, he made the most of the opportunity. The youngster played a vital role in a campaign which saw the side promoted, bagging an impressive total of 40 goals.
Alongside his eye for goal, Kelly is a very skilful player and took his last three goals with class and perfection. At only 19-years-old, it’s scary to think where the front-man could end up in the next few years.
Kelly will undoubtedly be aiming to unleash his pace and quick footwork when the Magpies travel to the Hive tomorrow. This means the Barnet defenders will have to be on top of their game in order to prevent him from posing a threat and more importantly, extending his recent goal scoring form.
Sitting three points and one place behind the Bees in the table, a win for Maidenhead tomorrow would see them leapfrog us on goal difference.
The Magpies are unbeaten in their last four games and will go into the weekend’s encounter off the back of a 2-0 home victory over Eastleigh. It looked as if both sides would be going into half-time level pegging at 0-0. However, after Kelly found the net twice in quick succession just before the break, Maidenhead ended the first period with a two-goal advantage. Devonshire’s side managed to see out the victory in the second half as they lifted themselves five points off the relegation zone.
In their last five games, the Magpies have picked up three wins and a draw, with the only defeat coming against Hartlepool United just under three weeks ago. The loss was followed up by a dramatic 3-2 win over Maidstone before they claimed the scalp of Braintree two days later, clinching a 2-0 win. Two late Bromley goals last Saturday meant they had to settle for a 2-2 draw before quickly returning to winning ways in mid-week against Eastleigh
The Magpies have also bagged 13 goals so far this season, conceding 14. As for their away form, they have only managed to clinch one win out of a possible four.
Last 5 games: LWWDW
It’s safe to say, Bees striker Dave Tarpey was a goal machine at Maidenhead. The forward, whose time at Barnet has been plagued by injury, bagged 95 goals in just under 150 appearances for the Magpies, including an impressive 45 during the 2016-17 season. Unsurprisingly, that campaign saw him clinch the National League South Golden Boot and Player of the Year award after helping his side win the title. The 29-year-old enjoyed three-and-a-half impressive campaigns at York Road, reaching a double-figure goal tally in each of his three full seasons leading the line.