Maidenhead United 0
THE long wait is over and a stunning four-goal blitz in the first half was enough for United to record their first win of a tough start to the season.
The game was delayed by half-hour after the visitors from Maidenhead were caught in heavy traffic but they were swiftly blown away by goals from Josh McQuoid and Luke in the opening 12 minutes.
Rhys Murphy then scored from close-range and the game was up with a fourth added by Jamie Reid before half-time, as the Gulls cruised through the second period.
United Head Coach Gary Owers enjoyed the luxury of naming the same starting line-up and bench that played well at Dagenham before losing to a cruel penalty in the dying seconds, with Liam Davis making his full home debut at left-back.
Maidenhead arrived from their nightmare journey as a side on form, having beaten Guiseley 3-0 on the weekend thanks to goals from Ryan Upward, Harry Pritchard and James Comley.
Six hours on the M4 and M5 clearly had a negative impact, however, as the visitors fell behind inside four minutes, but credit to United for making the ideal start on a pressure occasion.
Young was the catalyst, delivery a wicked free-kick from the left and McQuoid’s darting run in front of his man was rewarded with an excellent header from 12 yards placed beyond the reach of goalkeeper Carl Pentney.
There was a real tempo to United’s work in the early stages and Maidenhead were simply unable to cope, as the Gulls piled forward with rampaging runs from the likes of Ryan Higgins and Davis at full-back.
McQuoid was also zipping around in dangerous areas and one searing run ended with a pass to Jamie Reid, who wriggled back inside from the right enough for the ball to roll neatly into Young’s path for a vicious low drive inside the near post.
It was a lovely strike from a midfielder clearly enjoying the freedom given to him by the solid platform of Damon Lathrope and Callum Evans also operating in the engine room, but a big thumbs up to the perseverance of Reid and McQuoid in cultivating the chance.
The Magpies were having real difficulty with the direct runs of Higgins and Reid down the right, although Davis had to be careful from 20 minutes onwards after an overzealous challenge on Harold Odametey earned him a booking.
It was a caution soon forgotten as the lead became 3-0 from another Young set-piece, which took a couple of ricochets before popping up perfectly for Murphy to steer an easy volleyed finish into the corner.
There was an element of luck about the goal but it is perhaps luck United have sorely missed over the first two months of the campaign, and Murphy deserves plaudits for calmly converting the chance.
Amazing what a few goals can do and United were fizzing the ball around with visible belief, while the balance given to the team by a natural left-back in Davis was making a massive difference.
United maintained their control in a dominant first period and a killer fourth was great to watch, starting with sharp pass down the line from Davis to McQuoid, who fed the ball to Murphy for a low cross and Reid was in the right place to slide his effort past the stranded Pentney.
There was fabulous simplicity to everything United had done in 45 of the happiest minutes Plainmoor has enjoyed for a long while and Maidenhead trundled into the interval with a mountain to climb.
The major danger after such a terrific first half is the second period slips into a tepid anti-climax. Maidenhead attempted to change the pattern by introducing Jake Hyde and Christian Smith on the hour.
The Magpies did turn the screw a little with a succession of corners but United defended their box with assurance, and Owers took the chance to some weary legs by withdrawing Murphy for Ruairi Keating.
A swift break from Reid then resulted in a low left-foot shot that proved comfortable for Pentney, while the energy of Keating was presenting a new problem for a beleaguered Maidenhead defence.
Jennison Myrie-Williams replaced McQuoid for the final 10 minutes and the Gulls began to pile on the pressure in search of a satisfying fifth. James Gray for Lathrope was the final United change of a long evening.
Quick feet from Keating and a lashed effort just wide of the post was the final act of a super night. Now the winless stigma has gone, United can look forward to building momentum when Dover visit of Saturday.
United (4-3-2-1): 30 Vincent Dorel; 23 Ryan Higgins, 6 Josh Gowling (capt), 5 Sean McGinty, 3 Liam Davis; 8 Luke Young, 4 Damon Lathrope (17 James Gray 86), 12 Callum Evans; 13 Josh McQuoid (27 Jennison Myrie-Williams 79), 19 Jamie Reid (10 Ruairi Keating 71); 39 Rhys Murphy. Substitutes (not used): 2 Michee Efete, 20 Neal Osborn (GK).
Booked: Davis 20, Murphy 69
Maidenhead (4-4-2): 1 Carl Pentney; 23 Ryan Peters, 5 Alan Massey (capt), 24 Jake Goodman, 3 Renee Steer; 4 Harold Odametey, 8 James Comley, 19 Ryan Upward (10 Jake Hyde 57), 14 Harry Pritchard (25 Christian Smith 57); 11 Sam Barratt, 17 Adrian Clifton (12 Chinedu McKenzie 73). Substitutes (not used): 6 Dean Inman, 20 Maximilian Kilman.
Booked: Peters 32
Referee: Savvas Yianni
Attendance: 1,567 (72 away)