By Ryan Brookes | Image by Tom Poole
The Minstermen will aim for a return to winning ways when they host Maidenhead United this Saturday afternoon (3pm kick off).
One of the fifteen teams to play in the inaugural FA Cup campaign in 1871/71, the Magpies are known as one of the oldest football clubs in England, and that is only backed up by the fact their home – York Road – is officially the ‘oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club’.
They have come a long way since their founding 154 years ago though, now occupying 14th place in the Vanarama National League.
Maidenhead are into their seventh straight season in the fifth tier of English football, and have played every kick of it under the leadership of experienced boss Alan Devonshire.
After narrowly avoiding the drop last season, the Berkshire outfit are having a pretty good shot of recording a better finish this time around.
They managed to secure their first win of 2024 last Saturday, with a 2-1 win over Solihull Moors, meaning they head up to York with the upper hand, and also having recorded just two defeats in their last twelve league games.
Manager: Alan Devonshire
The vastly-experienced manager re-joined Maidenhead United in 2015 for a second spell, and has been in charge there for the last nine seasons.
His first spell with the club started in 1996 and spanned seven years, before he moved on to become manager of Hampton and Richmond Borough.
Following a four-year stint at Braintree Town, Devonshire returned to the dugout at York Road.
The 67-year-old has overseen well over 700 games for the Magpies, taking his overall managerial tally beyond an incredible 1,300 matches.
During a playing career which saw Devonshire make just under 450 appearances for West Ham United in both the First and Second Division, he also made eight caps for his country after featuring for England between 1980 and 1983.
Top Scorer: Reece Smith
The young 21-year-old attacking midfielder has had a fine season so far for the Magpies, having netted seven times in 25 appearances.
Smith is currently in a bit of a goal drought though, with it now reaching two months since he last got himself on the scoresheet.
His versatility allows him to be used not only as an attacking midfielder, but also on both wings, so he is quite a useful asset for Maidenhead to have.
Having come through the club’s academy, he broke onto the first-team scene at York Road in 2019 and has since become a regular for Devonshire’s side, making in excess of 100 appearances for them over the last four seasons.
When the two sides meet at the weekend, it will mark only the fourth match between them.
City travelled to York Road for the first time early last season, and it was Maxim Kouogun’s header that sent them home with all three points.
But the Minstermen failed to complete the double over their Berkshire opponents, falling to a 2-1 home defeat in the reverse fixture.
We faced another trip to take on the Magpies back in November, and things didn’t get off to the ideal start, with Alex Woodyard seeing red inside the opening twenty minutes.
The Magpies, who occupied the man advantage for the rest of the game, took the lead on 72 minutes through Ashley Nathaniel-George, just moments after George Sykes-Kenworthy had denied the winger from the penalty spot.
But City fought hard, and managed to walk away with a deserved point, thanks to Callum Howe’s 85th minute equalizer.